Snapchat, Uber, Dropbox, Pinterest — the billion dollar startup club became a reality in 2014. Entrepreneurship is the buzzword; startups are redefining cool in business.
While this is the glamorous picture the world and the web is nudging us to believe, a glimpse into entrepreneurship without the rose tinted glasses may just reveal a different picture: around 5% of startups reach the 100 billion dollar mark. 80% of startups — and the minds behind them — fade away within 2 years.
Fierce competition is a key reason behind the quick pulling down of shutters, but could it also be a deeper problem than that? The entrepreneur decides the fate of the startup. And the skills he possesses will manifest in the goals and growth of the organisation. In these tumultuous times, entrepreneurs need new poise and new vision to cut through the clutter and emerge successful. Here are my top 5 entrepreneurial must-haves.
1. Don’t Market, But Engage
You know how they say a good entrepreneur needs to be a good seller? It’s absolutely true. But the methodology of selling has undergone a massive change.
Your target audience does not want to be told how amazing your product or service is, or how you beat your competitor hands down. They want to be informed, not influenced buyers. Refrain from hardcore marketing tactics, and get your target audience to engage and interact with you and your products. While aggressive entrepreneurs once ruled the roost, today the skill lies in subtlety.
A good understanding of content marketing, transparent policies and honest interaction are attitudes and skills that every entrepreneur must develop to sustain and progress his business. All of this requires a sound technical knowledge base — embracing technology is a must.
Have an interest in genuinely promoting authentic and helpful information to your consumers. Address their queries even if they do not directly benefit your business. Build trust and communication with your consumers to grow.
2. Innovation Is Great, But So Are The Two A’s
A good idea already has a strong foundation, but a good entrepreneur can make even an average idea work equally well. An entrepreneur has to have the ability to assimilate and amalgamate things.
With the ever expanding pool of resources available, the ability to pick, choose and combine becomes a key element in the entrepreneurial skill set. There are so many diverse areas an entrepreneur can assimilate and amalgamate from, to create a final product that offers a unique experience in itself.
Besides, technology has made this task so much easier. Pinterest did it, so did Snapchat. A famous ice-cream cart fellow as well as a renowned business school also does the same. Gathering the best, the different and integrating it on one platform is a skill that will reap rich rewards for all entrepreneurs.
3. Developing Your Emotional Skills
Bid adieu to good, old-fashioned IQ — we are talking EQ here. This has always been a big part of the requisite entrepreneurial skills, but is being talked about only recently. Now that it has been established that hardcore selling just won’t do anymore, there is a greater emphasis than ever on understanding consumer psychology and emotional connect. Whether you are selling the most technically advanced gadget, a pack of washing powder or legal services, you have to appeal to the consumer’s heart. Your product or service should be something they find desirable.
This means you need to tune into their emotional needs and wants, and design your product’s marketing, packaging, promotion and distribution strategies keeping that in mind.
4. Value Time
This holds true not just for your own time, but others’ time too. An entrepreneur must be punctual and disciplined. In the initial stages of your business, you will be looking after every aspect of your startup. You can only manage to do this if you know how to manage time. Also, never keep a client or potential customer waiting. It tarnishes your impression irretrievably.
Accomplishing things on time is not overrated. Trust me — it will take you to places that a creative but indisciplined life cannot take you. Time is money. Use it wisely to achieve your goals and objectives. Stay on top of things, so that when an opportunity comes knocking, you are ready.
5. Be Humble
Some things never go out of style. Whether you started your company decades ago, or if you’re still in the planning stages of launching your own business, never let success get to your head. An entrepreneur who succeeds is one who remains curious and humble; only then everyone can approach them without any apprehensions. And that’s how great business opportunities come by.
This article was submitted by Brian Zeng via Vulcan Post’s submission page. He is the chief marketing officer of OwnOnly, an online menswear boutique that provides custom-tailored business and casual suits. You can connect with him on twitter @brianzengdotme.