What are the qualities and characteristics of a good entrepreneur? What skills do you need to cultivate to be or become a good entrepreneur? How to be a good entrepreneur?
The job of an entrepreneur is particularly demanding. It requires a lot of qualities, knowledge, know-how, and expertise to individuals.
Yet successful entrepreneurs are not always the ones with the longest list of qualities … Mastering every aspect of the business is more important than being excellent on one or more points.
To know oneself well is to know one’s qualities but also one’s faults. It is to recognize that one does not control everything. It is also, in a given situation, to be able to question oneself, to accept that one is not at the level and to look for other solutions.
In order to better understand his strengths and weaknesses, the entrepreneur can make a skills assessment or rework his CV. In any case, he will have to ask the following questions:
Having faults is not really a problem in itself. The key to success is actually looking for solutions to get around your own weaknesses.
The management of the papers discourages me: why not to call an independent administrative secretary half a day a week? I do not control the internet well: why not ask a friend to manage the communication online? I do not control the production: why not appeal to a subcontractor?
Knowing how to surround oneself, looking for partners or training are solutions.
To make the right decisions, to offer the right product in the right place and at the right time, the future entrepreneur must listen, be interested in others, learn about them and their “special interest”.
Putting oneself in the place of others to understand their behavior and their speech is essential, it requires a certain openness of mind:
The customers: one must know their expectations, their behavior, their characteristics. The most complicated will be to access the client’s deep thought, his or her essential motivations,
Suppliers and salespeople: they can sometimes give good indications on the market, but also bad for you to buy products that they cannot sell; it will be necessary to decipher their language,
Competitors: you have to put yourself in their place and try to understand why they act as they do on the market,
Prescribers, and partners: these are people who talk about your business and are likely to bring you, customers. It’s important to understand why they agree to play this game and what they expect in return. Start providing recommendation letters to students for schools or colleges, offer internships, training, etc. they can spread good reviews, also you and your business will get recognized.
Relatives: it is interesting to ask them their opinion on your way of doing things. But it will be necessary to sort out what, in their speech, is relevant or not. All will certainly not be good to take.
Knowing others well can decipher their speech: what is the share of true and false in what they say, the share of the bluff, the share of irrational? What interest do they have in distorting the truth?
To succeed, the entrepreneur must believe a minimum in himself. For this, he must know himself well (see point 1) and know the others well to retain the relevant part of their speech (see the previous point).
Self-confidence is not something innate, it is acquired based on past experiences, failures, and successes. Sufficient trust will allow the entrepreneur to dare to realize his idea, to win against others and to create his place among the competitors. On the contrary, a weak self-confidence will be a hindrance to the decision.
But beware, self-confidence is double-edged: too much confidence can lead the entrepreneur to no longer listen to the environment and his entourage, and to rush into the wall …
To have a strategic vision is to be able to define a long-term strategy (at least 5 years) and stick to it. It is to be stable in his ideas, unlike someone who would change his mind all the time.
The stability of the commercial positioning is reassuring for everyone: customers, partners, specifiers, the entourage … This will encourage them to call on you more often.
But stability does not mean that everything must always remain frozen. The entrepreneur must feel the right moment to evolve his strategy and positioning, smoothly, without sending a negative signal.
To remain lucid is to accept to face reality. Review his assumptions if they are not realistic. Accept the numbers as they appear. Change strategy if it does not give satisfaction, even if you pay the price. Have the courage to decide to stop production if it is not profitable, even if significant investments have been made. Mourning an idea that is not as good as expected.
To remain lucid is to keep in mind that the number one objective remains to live on. It is neither pessimistic nor optimistic.
The only way to remain realistic is to listen to the signals of the environment (speech of the entourage, partners, customers) and validate or invalidate them by seeking additional information. It’s literally “pinpointing” the situation.
To remain lucid therefore is to be constantly well informed, so as not to “dream”, neither to react nor to be afraid.
Being passionate about your business creation project or product is a good thing because it’s the main source of motivation. But passion always ends up, so avoid being led and overflowing by it, at the risk of waking up one morning wanting to stop everything.
Passion has another disadvantage: it is blinding. It masks the reality, the real problems and the motives of the malaise of the entrepreneur. A passionate entrepreneur will focus on his dream rather than the customer’s dream … a serious mistake.
Passion is interesting if it turns into lasting pleasure at work, and if it is turned towards others. It should not overshadow the usefulness of true listening to the consumer, and therefore well-conducted market research.
Perseverance and patience are essential qualities for a business creator or entrepreneur. These qualities are unfortunately often absent at the start, the leader being too passionate, motivated and in a hurry to fight.
The entrepreneur must start from the premise that the seed takes time to germinate. Who can think that a clientele can be built in a few weeks? Some activities may take several years to build a more or less stable clientele.
Lack of patience leads to discouragement and a form of disillusionment. On the contrary, the persevering entrepreneur will start cautiously, listen to the signals of his environment, adapt gradually and consider each sale as a positive and encouraging signal.
Never be short of ideas or tools, this is a healthy quality for a business leader.
You have to assume that there is a solution to any problem, just go get it. Faced with a blockage or a difficulty in cash, turnover, development, personnel, production or logistics, someone can help you, advise you or present you with interesting tools.
Pick up your phone, activate your network, ask your entourage, ask that we put you in contact.
Our economic fabric offers a considerable number of solutions and opportunities: specialists exist in all areas, creators have devised tools for all situations, entrepreneur associations are also there to help you. The Internet is a particularly effective way to identify them (and this site too!).
A good business leader knows that the key to success lies in the business effort he will lead. The rule is clear: an executive must spend 80% of his time looking for customers or to be in touch with customers.
There is no point in spending time doing forecast tables or sales growth charts, the priority is going to the field.
Yet many business creators consider them to be bad traders and would like to leave this ungrateful job to others, such as commercial agents. But the bestseller turns out to be the leader himself!
Which entrepreneur can think that he can do everything alone? And yet, there are many who feel they have to do everything, including housekeeping and bookkeeping, to avoid having to hire or just to save money. It’s a miscalculation.
In reality, the key is to keep for yourself the tasks that are strategic, those that generate revenue and that makes the value of the business. The other tasks can be subcontracted: a chartered accountant can keep the accounts, an independent secretary can manage administrative and commercial documents, a cleaning company can intervene punctually.
If their heart of the company’s strategy is the marketing and the valorization of a product, the leader will have to devote itself to the commercial aspects and communication, even if to subcontract the production.
Knowing how to manage priorities consists in not being overwhelmed by everyday life. The life of a business executive is a sum of various tasks and responsibilities: relationships with customers and partners, relations with the accountant and the administrations, opening of the mail, management of the treasury, telephone, displacements, passage of orders, receipt of goods, management of unpaid bills and claims, etc.
The objective is to establish a hierarchy between the things to do, being lucid on the urgency of some files, without forgetting the essential: to keep good hygiene of life, to take care of his family, to know how to say no, to know to get help. Why not acquire tools to automate the least productive tasks?
Of course, the ideal is to never put off what you can do the same day.
Many business leaders are afraid to make decisions, most often not afraid to make a mistake. For example for hiring an employee, changing status or acquiring a machine.
This behavior hampers the development of the company and can discourage the leader by sending him a bad image of himself.
But it is the lack of information that introduces doubt and fear. To be able to make the right decision, it is necessary to multiply the points of view: to ask the opinion to his confreres, his partners, his suppliers, his accountant or even to his friends. They will certainly have more perspective and their speech will “illuminate” the situation by defusing fears of departure.
How long does a business manager have to work a day or a week? Where should he start his day or week? When can he go on vacation? There is no ready answer to these questions.
Faced with an incalculable number of tasks and responsibilities, the leader must especially gain in productivity and efficiency, in short go to the essential. The implementation of IT tools can automate certain tasks (reminders payment, mailing, bank reconciliation … Excel training is sometimes welcome).
The worst thing for a business owner is having the feeling of “suffering”, having no time to do anything. This impression can come from difficulty in prioritizing priorities (see point 11), or from too many unlisted tasks that run in the mind of the entrepreneur as long as they are not processed.
The agenda remains the best ally of the entrepreneur. He must rest the mind of the ruler; the latter can also make a punctual assessment of the time spent on the various tasks in order to learn from them.
In business, managing money means above all controlling your cash flow.
The treasury is the daily judge of the head of the enterprise: the problems of cash will gradually nibble the morale of the entrepreneur until it stops. On the contrary, a comfortable cash flow will overpower the manager.
Managing your cash flow requires rigor, anticipation, and composure. It also requires analytical skills, to know where the money problems come from (the problem of profitability, increasing working capital requirement ?).
To avoid getting overwhelmed by money problems, the leader will have to implement appropriate computer tools, seek advice from his accountant, and play cards on the table with his financial advisor.
The life of a company is never stable and nothing is ever acquired. The environment is constantly evolving: the appearance of competitors, the evolution of regulations, cyclical or geographical risks, risks related to employees or their entourage, changing weather, economic or social crisis, the appearance of new trends, technological revolution … The risks are numerous.
A good entrepreneur needs to put in place a risk management strategy:
Better to anticipate!
A good leader has an opportunist side. In concrete terms, this means that he must analyze and seize every opportunity to do better than he does today.
Being opportunistic means being curious and open to changes in the market and the environment. This requires being always well informed, connected to trends, and in constant contact with industry professionals. Tools exist for this: press or specialized websites, events or conferences, alert systems (Google Alerts for example) … or just word of mouth.
Being opportunistic, however, does not mean abandoning one’s strategy abruptly to adopt another. An opportunity must be tested and analyzed before anything else.
Any business owner should take pleasure in rendering service, as it is, in fact, his core business. It is also a key success factor because if the customer feels that he is loved for himself and not for his wallet, he will come back more easily.
To love to serve also saves money at work. A caring and attentive business leader will be more enduring as more satisfied with everyday life.
A potential customer offers to order you for 20 000$ of products, against a reduction of the price of 40%. What to do? If you agree, you cross over a large part of the margin. If you refuse, you miss a nice command …
To negotiate well in this type of situation, it is necessary to gather as much information as possible on the other part: what are the motivations of the potential customer? with whom am I competing? Is the customer in a hurry? is he used to negotiating this way? why is he negotiating so hard? what is the share of bluff?
To negotiate well means being sure of yourself and the quality of your product or service. Keep in mind that quality always has a price. Highlight your strengths, do not devalue yourself. Offer additional services rather than lower prices.
To fail is not a shame! The most important thing is to understand what did not work, to do better next time. Some business creators have failed several times before they succeed, and no one has been careful with them.
Support from family and friends is particularly important for the success of a business project.
This requires, first of all, to look for and cultivate this support: it is by explaining his project precisely to his spouse or his children, or by associating them concretely, that they will be able to join and really support it.
Then, to be supported, it deserves. The entrepreneur who abandons his family and his children should not expect to receive any support from them …