Celebrating World Youth Skills Day on July15, we@work identified six skills that women entrepreneurs need to develop to keep afloat from Day 1
Picture this. You’ve taken the bold step and have decided to be on your own. As you start the planning process, you get thinking about how to start your own business, as a woman entrepreneur. The first step can be to ask yourself, “What skills do I really need to have to succeed as an entrepreneur?”
At the onset, you will need a number of entrepreneurial skills to succeed in today’s competitive market – like some basic skills necessary to enable you to start, develop,
finance, brand and market your own business. Besides, the skills may include – personal qualities, business and management skills. If you do not possess all of them right now, not lose heart. You can develop them or polish certain skills that can help you become a better entrepreneur.
Today, the reality is that women are opting to be entrepreneurs and are making inroads into the business scenario.
Here are six basic skills you really must have to run any kind of business. Focus on these areas and they should lead you to success.
1. Have a vision
Successful entrepreneurs are visionaries, and they are able to spot opportunities. They have a clear idea of what they want to do. What’s more, successful entrepreneurs have the ability to transform that vision into reality. They go all out! Don’t shy away from the challenges, any fear or apprehensions, and focus on the sheer amount of work needed to get things done.
Apart form vision, a woman entrepreneur needs to manage things to succeed. She will have to manage a lot of people under her and also have to deal with clients, suppliers and investors. Confidence in oneself is another requisite to be developed, for – if you believe that you can achieve it, half the job is done!
2. Communication skills
It would be extremely helpful if you possess excellent written and oral communication skills – to help you sell your products and services. You need computer skills – to make ppts, reports, proposals etc
You need to create a buzz about your business by talking and presenting to people your business. You need to write ads, press releases and story ideas about your business. Starting a business is a time to get out and aggressively market your venture. That’s the only way you can succeed.
You also need to be familiar with online communication skills, so you should become familiar with social media. You will then learn how to promote your business, leveraging social media. Plus, the more you educate yourself the better the entrepreneur you are. So, reading should be practiced on an everyday basis.
3. Sales and marketing know-how
Sales and marketing are the two most important skills you must have when you plan to start your own business. A business is nothing if it does not have a customer-base, who will lead to revenues and profits, in the long run. To get customers, you must be able to market your business and possess the skills to drive sales.
As you plan your business, you must begin to think how to reach your target audience, meaning the people who may need your products/services. This implies that you understand the concept of marketing, and are able to use the tools. You must have a knack for understanding what people want, by listening to their needs, and then interact well with a variety of people.
Be focussed, for once the entrepreneur has decided upon what she wants to do, she needs to focus on the start and the growth of her business. To focus she requires an ultimate plan and she has to go according to the plan.
4. Ability to handle finance
You are in business to make money. Therefore, the most important skill you must have is the ability to handle money well. So, spend some time with a Chartered Accountant and legal consultant, to understand the nuances of financial and legal implications.
Your finance knowledge should enable you to know how to spend the limited start-up capital that you have, spending only when needed. The more comfortable you are with numbers, the more confident you’ll be, and the better decisions you’ll make.
Success in business is not limited to those who have a lot of financial resources in the beginning. If you are able to manage your cash flow well when the business starts to run, you will be able to survive the problems. Be resilient, for one needs to be comfortable with the ups and downs of business as it can never go according to the plan created. The entrepreneur cannot back out when the business is going down.
The most important thing is to always focus on the bottomline.
5. Time management skills
The ability to plan your day and manage time, is particularly important for a woman entrepreneur. You must have a clear idea of the things you must do and you must have the ability to multi-task. You may have to type all letters and emails, double up as the marketing head, writing press releases, making sales calls, and also become an accountant. Lots of jobs for a woman entrepreneur to manage! No, you don’t have to be a superwoman. You simply have to know how to manage time and prioritize your tasks.
Part of having good time management skills is knowing when to stop and when to leave work, and switch to your role in your family as wife or mother or daughter. A good tip here is – you must know how to keep a balance between your work life and home life.
6. Network, network, network
As a start-up entrepreneur, make sure that you have developed lists of networks that are related to your nature of business. You need to track any events like symposiums, panel discussions, award ceremonies, exhibitions happening in your town, so that you could attend and come face-to-face with the nature of the industry and also get to meet important people. You will also get familiar with the success stories and problems faced by fellow business personalities and how they arrived at solutions.
You will also need to source government-related connections and then build a rapport. This will make your journey slightly easier. Networking is an important skill an entrepreneur requires and, for building good networks, it is important that you are a good communicator as well.
Starting a business is never easy, even if you have the perfect background and possess all the above skills, for there is no sure-shot way to ensure your success. But, developing these basic skills will, at least, make the start-up process slightly easier, giving you a greater chance of seeing your business grow and prosper!