Alright, guys, let's get real for a second. How many times have you asked yourself whether you are cut out for entrepreneurship? How many times have you questioned your ability to withstand the highs, lows and everything in between? I've owned my business for just over one year (and I totally missed my business's birthday! :O), and I have asked myself these questions AT LEAST once per month. It's natural for us as business owners to question our qualifications and abilities to build a business.
Here's the thing: there are countless Gary Vee videos, inspirational quotes and success stories to make entrepreneurship look glamorous. And while inspiration and passion are important to sustaining a business, there are a few skills entrepreneurs should have to build a successful business.
A business with poor cash flow isn't going to last long term. It's crucial to the health (and wealth) of your business that you know how to budget and understand exactly where your money is going and how to take control of your cash flow.
If you choose to do your own accounting, try an accounting software like Quickbooks that can make it easy to manage your money. If you choose to retain an accountant, be sure to ask questions to understand your numbers.
Learn how to read an income statement, balance sheet and a cash flow statement. The more you know your numbers, the more control you will have over your money - and the more you can use that to your advantage.
Building a business is an incredibly stressful venture. Entrepreneurs experience many different types of stress: financial, mental, emotional and social. And while stress can be effective in getting stuff done, it can have a negative impact on our health and well-being. In fact, mental health issues affect 72% of entrepreneurs, according to this University of California study.
It's important to manage your stress appropriately, so you can deal with the inevitable and natural frustrations that arise. Some of my favorite strategies include:
- Reach out to a support network of entrepreneurs.
- Set boundaries between work and play.
- Set aside time for play.
- Get some exercise.
- Reach out to a professional.
I would add here that an important skill to learn is resiliency. Businesses go through ups and downs, and having strategies in place to weather the rollercoaster will fuel you every season, even when things don't look amazing.
Whether you are service or product-based, relationships are the bedrock of a great business. Every day, you are building relationships with clients, customers, suppliers, vendors and investors. Learning how to navigate the intricacies of different personal and professional relationships will help you manage conflicts, win new business, hire and manage employees and build a strong company culture.
Learning how to navigate the intricacies of different personal and professional relationships will help you manage conflicts, win new business, hire and manage employees and build a strong company culture.
Being self-aware allows you to take a step back every once in a while, assess where you are, determine where you need to be, calibrate your actions and keep going. Doing this not only forces you to stop and assess, it encourages you to look at everything that has happened in your business and celebrate the accomplishments and learn from the failures.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to understand what you are good at and what you need to outsource. For example, I know I am a good strategist, so developing vision, goals and strategies are my strengths. This helps me see the bigger picture and build my business on a larger scale. I am not very good with logistics, so I have staff who take care of the details. Between the two of us, we can maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses.
Your time as an entrepreneur is very limited, so it important to be wise about how you spend it.
If you've been running a business for a while now, you might be familiar with The Pareto Principle, which says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort. So you have to scrupulously prioritize your tasks: you have to decide which tasks will move your business forward. Focus on those tasks, and you'll feel less stressed about your to-do list, leaving you more time to enjoy the life you're building. For
Check out this blog post for some killer productivity tips.
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy feat. It demands more mental energy, stamina and effort than you think you can handle. But here's the thing: if you're doing it, baby, you're doing it. Keep learning these skills and you'll bloom into a beautiful, badass business chick you are.