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Are You an Entrepreneur? The Answer Might Surprise You!

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They don’t wait to be told what to do, or for conditions to be perfect, or to be handed the resources they need on a platter.  In the spirit of a famous slogan, they just go out and do it. End of story. Sounds simple, right? But it’s not an easy process by any means.

It’s this kind of spirit that sees success as inevitable after hundreds of failures, rejections and setbacks. It’s this kind of spirit that enables the entrepreneur to pick themselves up off the floor, dust themselves off, and start all over again, even where the outcome is uncertain. It’s this kind of spirit that can hold a dream in perfect suspension in the imagination, believing in it even in the face of all odds, until the day it’s there in solid reality.

And the best part? You don’t even have to be building your own business to have entrepreneurial spirit.  You can be working to transform a business – someone else’s business, or even the ‘business’ of a non-profit, university or government. This is called being an intrepreneur.

Admittedly this can be extremely challenging. You often won’t have control over all the resources you need. However, don’t forget our definition! Entrepreneurs progress with determination towards their goals despite not having the resources under their control. That’s the entrepreneurial way.

Yes, the entrepreneurial spirit is legendary.  We know how to recognize it when we see it, but how do we build it? What character traits, skills and attributes should we work to develop if we wish to increase it?

Here are the 7 key skills of entrepreneurs:

Opinion varies as to the core set of skills that an entrepreneur requires. However, the ones we’ve shown below are a selection of the most popular from a variety of authority thought leaders on the subject from across the web.

1. Resilience

Remember those failures and setbacks we talked about earlier? The key trait an entrepreneur needs to get through hard times such as these is the ability to weather the storm.

“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” – Greg Kincaid

2. Courage

It takes a lot of bravery to stand out from the crowd and to put yourself out there in the kind of way that’s necessary to build a business from the ground up.

3. Communication

You might have the best business plan in the world, but if you can’t communicate its key messages to others effectively, that’s exactly what it will remain … a plan. Communication is a much under-rated skill, but highly essential in the world of entrepreneurship.

4. Continuous Learning

As an entrepreneur, you are often a one man – or woman – band. That means a steep and rapid learning curve in all those areas you may be lacking. But the learning doesn’t stop there! Growth will bring new challenges and new learning opportunities when it comes. Having a positive attitude towards learning new things will hold you in a good position when you encounter new challenges… which will be often!

5. Curiosity

It may well have killed the cat, but curiosity is often the spark that gets entrepreneurial efforts underway in the first place. Wonderment about the world, and about how it could be different, encourages many budding entrepreneurs to go out and seek their own solutions, often for the benefit of many others.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” – Albert Einstein

6. Accountability

The ability to stand up and take responsibility for your actions, even in the face of failure, will stand you in good stead in the world of business. As we’ve often heard before, people do business with people they know, like and trust, and some integrity and a firm handshake will go a long way in the entrepreneurial world.

7. Empathy

It’s often called a ‘soft skill’, but the truth is that there is nothing lesser about having empathy for others. Great business leaders run customer-centric businesses, putting customer needs at the heart of their every business transaction. In order to do this, as a leader you need to be able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. In other words, to develop a sense of empathy for who they are and what they need.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Then you’re probably raging to get started, if you haven’t gotten started already. For those who are considering dipping their toes in the ocean of entrepreneurship, there’s a wealth of information out there on the Internet. It’s sometimes all a little hard to sift through though, so we’ve done the hard work for you, bringing you the highlights in our favourite top 3 tips, shown below:

  • Diversify your income stream – This is not the time to put all your eggs in one basket. Try and spread your risk across a couple of income streams in order to stay afloat when tough times hit.
  • Network – It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and this is especially true in the world of business. Just know that it doesn’t have to be all about throwing your business cards around like confetti. Try and use every opportunity to make a meaningful connection with someone new.
  • Be prepared for hard work – The first few years are often a slog, and for many, sometimes even the years after that. Very few businesses are overnight sensations. Be prepared to work extremely hard and cultivate a sense of patience… you’ll need it!
Have you ventured into the entrepreneurship world? Please leave your thoughts below!

Parker Davis is the CEO of Nexa, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology-enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Nexa achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him @callnexa and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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