What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? What skills must you master to have a thriving business? There are lots of answers to these questions, but fundamentally it comes down to just a few key points.
In Michael Gerber’s book, The Power Point, he lists the 5 essential skills to success. Let’s explore each of them below.
Concentration or focus is the ability to pay attention to things which will have a positive impact on your business. It is also the ability to avoid things which will cause distraction. In order to effectively learn, remember, problem solve and make decisions, you need to have concentration.
If you try to work on several projects at once, each will likely finish with mediocre results. If you shift your attention to concentrate on just one project at a time, that focus will allow you to think clearer, and therefore achieve better results.
“The power to concentrate was the most important thing. Living without this power would be like opening one’s eyes without seeing anything.” ― Haruki Murakami
Test your concentration
Neuropsychologist Kim Willment of Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests a single-task exercise like reading. “Read something for 30 minutes, setting a timer to go off every five minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself if your mind has wandered. If so, just refocus on what you’re reading,” she says. “By training your brain to monitor if your mind is wandering, you strengthen the monitoring process and the ability to maintain focus on a single task.”
How to sharpen your concentration
Declutter your thoughts – if you have too much on your mind, it is difficult to stay focused. Start by writing things down. Create a list of tasks, priorities, reminders etc. You will notice that once you don’t have to “hold on” to that information at the front of your thoughts, it clears space in your mind to think clearer.
Declutter your space – a cluttered or untidy workspace can often cause distraction. Take a few moments to arrange your desk or workspace at the beginning or end of each day.
Declutter your technology – there are so many apps that provide so much help to our day to day lives. The downside however is our phones are also very often a major distraction that can shift our concentration. Turn off notifications to apps that are not vital to your day, and keep your phone on “do not disturb” during times of deep work.
Discriminating or choosing priorities of where your concentration should be is an important skill. It is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day of running a business. However it is important to have the ability to choose what, where and who our attention is directed.
All tasks are not equal. Make sure where you are putting your energy is where you are going to get the greatest returns. Not everything can be the #1 priority.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
How to improve prioritisation
List your tasks – write all of your tasks down. (Download our “To-Do List” to get you started.)
Identify tasks – are they urgent or important? Urgent tasks are those that must be done as soon as possible otherwise there will be negative consequences. It is best to do these tasks first to remove unwanted stress or pressure towards the end of the day.
Assess important tasks – which of these provide the highest value? These are the ones to prioritise first.
Remember to be realistic with your tasks. Things will change frequently throughout the day and your list may need to be revised – and that is okay. Stay flexible and adapt to the changes as needed.
Once you can concentrate and prioritise, you then need to learn the art of turning chaos into order. This is done through creating systems to allow your business to function effectively.
“The only difference between a mob and a trained army is organization.” – Calvin Coolidge.
How to improve organisation skills
Plan your time – when you have your task and priority list, be sure to include an approximation of how long each will take. This then breaks your day into manageable chunks and allows you to be more realistic with what you can achieve in a day.
Identify when you work best – productivity and energy levels differs between everyone. Figure out when you are most productive, is it first thing in the morning, or is it in the afternoon? Carry out the most difficult tasks then, when you know your brain is functioning at its best and you can think clearer.
File and Document – Create and maintain a system for your filing and documentation that allows you to find things you need fast and efficiently. Whether it is paper or software, you should be able to source the documents you need without stress.
Delegate – If you have a team, utilise their strengths by delegating tasks they are better at than you. This can also help to develop their skills by delegating tasks they have not yet mastered. In the long run this will save you time, effort and money.
Optimising organisation skills creates a sense of ease, calm, confidence, and security within the workplace.
Innovation is an asset entrepreneurs have that adds value and sustainability to the business over time. Innovation allows us to create, adapt, transform and grow. It’s not just about having an idea, it’s about capturing that moment of inspiration and taking action.
“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” –Arthur C. Clarke
How to improve innovation skills
Be open to change – Be willing to adapt to changes with a growth mindset. It can take time at first to get comfortable with changes, but in the end you will often find you wonder why you did things the old way in the first place.
Don’t settle – Being innovative requires you to have the bar set high. Always be on the lookout for better methods and systems. Recruit the best, not the second best.
Practice problem solving – Identify and analyze a problem, look for its root cause, and develop and implement solutions.
Being able to effectively communicate your vision and ideas with clarity, conviction and passion is an important skill. Communication helps strengthen the bonds in all business relationships – employees, investors, stakeholders, customers.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker
The key communication skills for business owners
Conversing – Having simple conversations with employees can build trust, and with customers can lead to a sale. Don’t underestimate the importance of being approachable and making small talk with others.
Body Language – Non-verbal communication is very powerful and can change the way you are perceived in a room. Be mindful and aware of your posture, make eye contact and don’t fidget .
Listening – The most important factor when it comes to communication. Learn to listen effectively. This will help you be more thoughtful, and better able to understand the situation.
Negotiating – Almost everything in business will be negotiated, so mastering these skills will help you achieve better success.
Mediating – There may be times as a business owner you need to manage conflict resolution. Be approachable, acknowledge both sides and help them find a solution.
Presenting – Prepare effectively, be clear and concise, don’t try to cover too much material and read your audience.
Watch now: Communication is a Gift
These five essential skills – concentration, discrimination, organization, innovation, and communication are the key to creating, building and growing a successful and sustainable business.
TED BONEL – STRATEGY & EXECUTION ADVISORS
Need assistance to help your team achieve your objectives to grow your business? Contact me at tedb@strategyandexecution.
ABOUT STRATEGY & EXECUTION
We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development and strategy execution for more than 20 years. Using business models such as Scaling Up, Exponential Organizations, E-Myth Mastery, Outthinker etc, we support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.
Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.
If you are preparing for strategy development and/or a strategy implementation challenge and are committed to creating value for your organisation, we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us now