Businesses are often centred around a good idea — either a product or service that can transform the lives of customers for the better, and serves as the foundation of your team's vision and values. But ideas alone can't help entrepreneurs survive the business world. You need a whole set of soft and hard skills to lead your team to success. So if you're a budding entrepreneur just about to dive in, here are some skills you need to master:
Being an effective communicator means being able to keep the business’ stakeholders in the loop. This includes establishing clarity when welcoming new hires, as well as updating investors and clients about company changes. These can be accomplished through a number of technological tools that make communication much more efficient. One example of a workplace communication program is Slack, a mobile and desktop software that also serves as a project management and collaborative tool between teams.
But communication doesn’t end online. You should also have personal interactions, especially with your employees. Having face-time with their boss can be very empowering for most employees. This should also be taken as an opportunity to check in with their work progress as well as how they’re fitting in with the company. This is where empathy comes in, a skill Creadi AG CEO Désiréee Mettraux highlights as an important factor in leadership. It allows you to widen your perspectives by understanding other people's points of view, thereby enabling you to make better entrepreneurial decisions.
2. Delegating tasks
When you know how to talk to other people, you’ll have an easier time delegating tasks. However, this aspect of leadership is often easier said than done, especially for women. A paper published on I/O at Work reveals that women are less comfortable with delegating tasks due to gender expectations that women are less assertive than men. Researchers note how female leaders often feel guilty about 'overburdening' their employees. Guilt and fear of backlash can lead to them avoiding confrontation, which can, in turn, be perceived as not being supportive or empowering enough.
To counter this, researchers recommend that rather than thinking of it as increasing the your employees’ workload, it's important to view delegation as one step to professional growth. This way, you'll reduce feelings of guilt over assigning tasks and be able to connect more with your staff. Again, project management tools such as Slack, Trello, and Evernote can be used to help you in assigning responsibilities.
3. Business strategising
Luck can only take you so far in business, but a strategic mind can take you to the finish line. This skill helps you spot opportunities from miles away and allows you to determine the next steps to take and the most optimal time to strike. One way to do this is to keep track of the economic events in your region that can potentially impact your business. FXCM's economic calendar provides a detailed look into specific events that can affect the marketplace. This kind of information can tell you how volatile the market will be, which should inform your decision-making process.
Neglecting these tools at your disposal is essentially setting yourself up for failure. Monitor news, read industry updates, or make use of similar tools that can help you strategise and make wise decisions for your business.
Despite its naysayers, networking continues to be one of the most essential weapons in any entrepreneur's arsenal. However, a Women in the Workplace report by LeanIn and McKinsey found that women network less than men, though they are traditionally perceived as more sociable. They also tend to network with fellow female professionals, which is a missed opportunity.
To avoid getting stuck in this trap, think of networking as building genuine relationships with people in your industry and beyond. Attend events, dish out business cards, and practice speaking in front of a mirror, if you have to. Cultivating connections will open up opportunities that can be wonderful for your business.