What Skills Should You Learn As An Entrepreneur?

Someone just messaged me this:

“Hey Brett,

I’m just about to start a company. What do I need to know to be successful?”

Here’s my answer:

I don’t know whether these are learned skills or traits you are born with, but these are the traits/skills you are going to need to have in order to succeed as an entrepreneur:

A. Integrity.

Do we need to go any further? You are nothing if you don’t have integrity.

Integrity is what allows you to build the loyalty of your team. Integrity is why those first customers are going to do business with you.

Integrity is everything. But you’ll need more then integrity to win. You’re going to need…

B. Expertise.

Originally, I was going to title this bullet as “smarts”. And smarts would still work.

However, you really need expertise in a certain area. Your expertise could be in a market or product. Or your expertise might be in selling or engineering.

But, you’re going to need it whether you call it expertise or smarts.

So you have integrity and you’ve got expertise. But you’ll need more. You’re also going to need…

C Grit.

You’re down to your last dollar, your VP Engineering just quit, and you just lost your largest customer. It’s crushing, I know, but are you going to just quit?

Grit, that unbelievable combination of perseverance and persistence, is what will get you through the storm.

Very few people in life succeed without grit. And certainly even fewer entrepreneurs succeed without grit.

So, you have integrity, and your gritty. But you’ll also need…

D. Fanaticism.

Imagine there are two groups of people starting similar companies. Company A is full of brilliant people and company B is full of brilliant people too.

The Company A team is in it purely for the money. The Company B team wants to make money too.

But the Company B team really believes in what they are doing. They just wont quit.

The Company B CEO wont quit, and the whole team won’t quit. In other words, the Company B team is a bunch of fanatics.

And my money is always on the fanatics.

Why? Because fanaticism is the exponential multiplier of grit.

Give me someone who has grit and is fanatical about what they are doing, and I’ll show you someone that can’t be stopped.

E. Generosity.

Generosity? Why is being generous important?

That’s easy.

Generosity relates to the company culture you are building.

A generous CEO is more likely to:

  • Delegate to the team, so team gains autonomy and authority, and...
  • Promote from within, so the team grows as the company grows, and…
  • Praise the team for every success and take the blame for every failure, and…
  • Reward the team financially (in salary and stock) for the company’s success.

Generous CEO’s usually have motivated teams of high achievers with low turnover.

These five traits/skills (Integrity, Expertise, Grit, Fanaticism, and Generosity) will serve you well in any business you start.

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