Every year a new wave of would-be entrepreneurs come to the fore wanting to start their own company to bring their vision to life. The start of a new year brings excitement, renewed faith, increases hope along with the never-ending list of things to achieve, change and do.
Entrepreneurs are a breed of their own; visionaries, risk-takers, possess endless amounts of energy and positivity with countless ideas and bucket loads of ambition. They want to create their own destiny, live a lifestyle with unlimited potential and income, despise mediocrity, and are willing to overcome challenges and live with uncertainty.
Living an entrepreneurial lifestyle is not for the faint-hearted, despite their various talents, visions or the determination of the entrepreneur, there are 4 must-have skills needed to survive and to achieve longevity in the entrepreneurial world. A word of warning, do not even consider registering your business name and place your entrepreneurial dreams on hold now until you acquire these skills.
Here are four skills that will determine your longevity in the entrepreneurial world:
1. Ability to sell
It starts and ends with this step. If you are unable to sell yourself and what you can offer – the entrepreneur lifestyle is definitely not for you. Unless of course you become best friends overnight with Grant Cardone, Tom Hopkins, or Zig Ziglar and they help you master the art of selling.
When speaking with entrepreneurs in their first year of business, this is the number one challenge. Getting out of their own way to educate customers. For the vast majority, they are fearful of selling so they spend time avoiding the inevitable.
Time is spent developing beautiful websites, creating online programs no-one wants, posting ads on social media and basically doing any seemingly unimportant tasks wasting precious time and energy. The bottom line is – you cannot serve unless you sell and you have no income or business without paying customers.
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” – Estée Lauder
Selling is educating potential customers by connecting with them in an emotional way, finding out what problems keep them awake at night to see if you can be part of the solution or refer them to someone who can help. Selling is serving. If you have negative connotations about selling, it is time to change your perspective.
If you can’t sell, you are not even part of the game so don’t worry about getting out of the game. There was no register of you playing the game to begin with. If you have not mastered the art of selling, forget reading the rest of this article. Like I said, business starts and ends right here.
2. Marketing to the right audience
The purpose of marketing is to build a personal brand and build trust with your customers. If you do not have expertise in this area, consider hiring a marketing expert to help you devise a plan for your business. If no one knows you exist, what you specialise in, whom you want to serve, or what problems you solve, life as an entrepreneur is going to be tough. Before you start your business, place funds aside to focus on your marketing.
Have absolute clarity around your message to market to ensure people connect with that message. If they aren’t, modify the message and conduct more research, read books or articles, enrol in a short course and ask potential customers/business colleagues for their thoughts.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
3. Know your specialty
Become accustomed to answering this simple question: There are a million and one people doing what you do, why would I choose you? Simple question yet for so many people this is where it ends, they stutter and stumble to find an answer, sometimes there is a long pause, uncomfortable silence or a change in subject. Decide today, right here and now – Why would I choose you? What do you do differently to your competitors
It was interesting; I recently asked a new financial institution this very question – Why would I choose you over one of the big banks? There was the uncomfortable silence followed by a few moments of stuttering as he tried to think of a suitable reply before the dreaded response of “Could you please hold the line, I will transfer you to someone that can help you”.
In other words, the customer service representative had no idea what made his company better or different from the rest. Needless to say, he probably doesn’t care. You need to know what makes you different.
4. Grow your group of haters
If you don’t have a group of haters, you are doing something wrong. It means you have not built enough traction or achieved enough accolades for haters to start on you. It is a cause for celebration as haters can increase your level of motivation, give you ideas or new insights, help you achieve your goals by taking a different path or simply make you stronger than you were before.
Haters love those who are successful; they are envious, jealous and want to be you. They hate successful people that have an audience of adoring fans, achieving awards and things they could never hope to, who are brave enough to speak their mind.
If you don’t have a group of haters right now, if everyone loves you, you know that it is time to change course. Once the haters arrive view it as a positive sign, learn to appreciate them and take heart knowing that you’re definitely on the right track.
“You can’t reach your full potential without haters” – Grant Cardone
Success can be yours once you have mastered these skills. By mastering the art of sales, the other skills can be acquired within a short period of time with clarity, conducting further research and gaining access to industry experts. Start playing the game of life your way.
This article first appeared in Addicted2Success.