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5 personal skills needed to run your own business

By Fi Darby | 12 April 2019


How many times have you had a brilliant business idea and done absolutely nothing about it? If the answer to that question is, ‘More than I can remember,’ you won’t be in the minority. Although entrepreneurship is an exciting and challenging career option, many of us never take the leap into running our own business.

This is a cause of frustration for many people and entrepreneurs do need certain personal skills but there are a few key factors that commonly put us off diving into our own business start-up. These include:
  • The fear of failure
  • A lack of exposure to entrepreneurship
  • Worries about being able to sell
  • An absence of big ambitions

The good news is that, with the right personal skills and business training, all of these barriers can be overcome. If you have been considering starting up your own business or even just throwing a business idea around your head, you might have also noticed a few other signs that you’re ready for entrepreneurship.

  • You just can’t get that business idea out of your head
  • You understand your strengths and are working on your weaknesses
  • You have done some basic market research
  • You know you can work long hours and understand about making sacrifices
  • You have started to learn more about the basics of business planning

We have all heard the big stories about start-ups that have taken off quickly and made their entrepreneurs a lot of money but it is worth remembering there are many elements that contribute to entrepreneurial success.

A few of these, such as sudden economic factors, are out of our control but our levels of business understanding and certain key personal skills can both be improved before start-up and, as part of an on-going programme of training, as a business develops.

Online business courses are available from Certificate right up to Bachelor level, important training elements to look out for include:

  • Business planning
  • Business administration
  • Marketing
  • Leadership and management
  • Business finance
  • Legislative requirements
For many prospective entrepreneurs however, it is the personal skills aspect of starting a new business that worries them the most.

Questions such as, ‘Will I have enough sticking power?’ and ‘Am I organised enough?’ are common but the good news is that, with enough understanding, personal skills can be developed through practice.

The disorganised can become the organiser and the quitter can become the sticker. We have picked out five important personal skills that entrepreneurs need and explained what you can do to develop these.

Essential business skills

  1. Vision.
  2. Initiative.
  3. Leadership.
  4. Determination.
  5. Resilience. 

1. Vision.

vision concept

If you’re about to launch a new entrepreneurial venture, the chances are that you already have a vision of where you want it to go.

Some people however, find this aspect of business start-up difficult, the idea is there but exactly how this can translate into success is more difficult to pin down. If this sounds like you, the following points might help.

  • Vision is not just about the big picture, break your project down into smaller elements and develop a vision for each
  • If you come across other people who value your ideas, consider either inviting them to be part of your team or suggest some ways of developing supportive networking partnerships
  • Keep in contact with your vision by regularly sharing it with your staff, customers and marketplace

2. Initiative.

hands in the air, initiative concept

Taking initiative doesn’t come easily to all of us, particularly if we’re used to being told exactly what to do in our job roles. It is, however, a very necessary skill for an entrepreneur. If you want to develop your initiative-taking ability before you launch your new business, we can recommend trying the following.

  • Be curious about how the processes, people management and leadership in your organisation work
  • Get into the habit of spotting opportunities for improvement or problem solving
  • Learn how to analyse the costs and risks behind your new ideas 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for opportunities to share ideas and findings with colleagues

3. Leadership.

chess piece, leadership concept

All entrepreneurs are business leaders by necessity and, if you don’t have a job role that currently gives you responsibility for the work of other people, leadership skills can be tricky to pick up. Enrolment on a short online course can make all the difference but there are other ways to enhance your leadership experience.
  • Utilise the opinions of others to help you understand your own strengths and weaknesses
  • Have a clear set of morals and values and make sure your decision-making reflects these
  • Develop a tendency towards positivity, even in frustrating situations

4. Determination.

determination concept

Determination is what really draws the line between those who will succeed in entrepreneurship and those who are likely to fail. Every business start-up experiences hurdles and requires long hours to get it going, and it is determination that brings about results.

Finding determination when you are tired and things seem to be against you can be tricky but we have some advice to help.

  • Learn not to expect instant gratification through taking on longer projects and having a clear, time-bound plan
  • Acknowledge that there will be some elements of business life over which you have no control
  • Remember that there is a fine line between determination and stubbornness, make sure your passion and drive don’t lead to you ignoring advice or listening to ideas

5. Resilience.

bonsai tree

Developing resilience is not something that can be done overnight, you can prepare for it but true entrepreneurial resilience comes from experiencing adverse situations and learning how to adapt to them. There are a few practical steps that can help you on your way to becoming a more resilient entrepreneur.

  • Be clear about your mission and regularly clarify this with your team
  • Find ways to foster adaptability even when things are going well
  • Accept support when it’s offered and look for it when it isn’t
  • Develop mutually supportive networks

How can I improve the management of my own business?

There is a definite link between entrepreneurial success and personal skills, and this can put some people off taking the leap into running their own business.

However, one of the great things about being your own boss is that you’ll be in charge of your personal development. Upskilled offers management and business courses that can help you gain relevant skills to effectively manage your business. These include the Certificate IV in New Small Business (BSB42618) and Certificate IV in Small Business Management (BSB42518).

Make sure you set aside regular time and funds to make the most of both formal and informal training opportunities as they present themselves.
 
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