The #1 Key Skill Every Start-Upreneur Must Develop to Succeed

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I recently asked a group of passionate start-upreneurs what skills they’d like to focus on developing over the next year. Some of the answers which I received included marketing, social media and finance related skills. However, I was surprised to notice that not a single participant had mentioned wanting to learn leadership skills. A fact that is shocking, as one thing that the world’s top start ups have in common is an inspiring leader.

Why do entrepreneurs as a group, tend to down play the importance of leadership? The answer is that most entrepreneurs assume that the key to creating a successful start up is to market the unique aspects of their products and services.
However, what these entrepreneurs fail to understand is that it doesn’t matter how fantastic their products or services may be, if they don’t have the leadership skills to stitch all the different parts of their business together. It may help to think of leadership skills as the glue, which holds the different parts of your start up business together.

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If your argument is that you plan to run your business as yourself and therefore don’t need to develop any leadership skills or abilities, simply continue reading to discover how your perception could negatively impact the future of your business. As in reality, it doesn’t matter if you plan to run your business by yourself, or whether you’re planning on creating a start up with a group of like minded, individuals, you’ll still need to hone your leadership skills.

Why every entrepreneur should hone their leadership abilities and skills

1. A single individual can’t handle every aspect of their business on their own
Each and every business is comprised of multiple parts. Examples of which include product design, product creation, product marketing, product sales and administration. Whilst you may very well be an expert in one or two of these areas, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be an expert on every single aspect of your business. In fact in 90% of cases, top businessmen and women are only capable of handling two parts of their business. Instead of operating as a lone wolf, it’s highly likely that you’ll have to rely on the expertise of others, in order for your business to thrive.

As an example, you may need to hire employees or short term contractors in order to manufacture your products. Or you may have to communicate with a transportation business who will ensure that your products are safely delivered from your warehouse or premises to your customers’ homes. Even Forbes’ top businessmen and women can’t handle every single aspect of their business, on their own.

Remember, as the founder of your start up your primary job should be to manage every aspect of your business. Your job isn’t to physically handle each aspect of your business. After all, your business will be far more successful if you’re able to find experts in different fields, to assist your business.
The simple truth is whether or not you’re interested in being a leader, as an entrepreneur you’ll have to communicate and negotiate with other individuals on a daily basis. As an example, in a single day you may have to deal with a courier company and a marketing consultant as well as a variety of potential customers.

2. As an entrepreneur it’s important to be able to effectively lead yourself
Just think, in order to get through a single day as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be able to effectively lead yourself as well as any employees who may work for your business. After all, if you’re the sole owner of a business, if you don’t achieve the goals that you set out for yourself, your business is unlikely to celebrate a single anniversary.

If you’re interested in learning the basics of self leadership, simply continue reading to discover how to effectively train yourself to become an effective leader. Ken Blanchard a world expert leadership and management has implored his students to learn how to lead oneself first as you simply can’t give what you don’t have.

An entrepreneur’s guide to promoting self leadership

Step 1: Aim to develop self awareness
Self awareness involves being able to identify your key strengths as well as your weaknesses; understanding the physiological challenges that can cause anxiety and anger. Self awareness also involves understanding the situations which may upset or frustrate you.
Once you understand the way that you tick, you’ll be able to avoid putting yourself in situations which cause you stress and anxiety. Better yet, you’ll also be able to set up your business, so that you’ll actually enjoy managing your business.

Step 2: Use tools such as meditation and reflection in order to further develop your self awareness
If you’re unsure of your key strengths and weaknesses you may want to utilize tools such as meditation, daily reflection and exercise, in order to increase your level of self awareness.
Whilst you may argue that you’re too busy to spend time writing in a daily reflection journal or meditating, think again as developing self awareness should be seen as an investment in the future success of your start up business. After all, if you end up having a mental break down due to stress or anxiety, you’ll be in no condition to lead a business.

It’s also well worth getting into the habit of exercising at least four to six times per week as exercising releases endorphins which will boost your mood and help you manage your business. As a bonus, you’ll also be far less likely to get frustrated by the things in life which set you off. So why not get into the habit of scheduling meditation sessions, self reflection sessions and regular workouts in your day planner.

Step 3: Work on your weaknesses? No, don’t be ashamed of your weaknesses. Instead work on your strengths.
Make them so strong that they over compensate for your weaknesses. Find people who will cover your weaknesses. After all, an effective leader is always able to get the best out of their employees. So if you want to become an effective leader, it’s important to practice on improving yourself and to focus on becoming the best entrepreneur that you can be.
That way, when your business grows from strength to strength you’ll have the leadership skills which your business will need for your employees to succeed and to be able to help you take your business to the next level.

Download a free version of this article:
The #1 Key Skill Every ‘Start-Upreneur’ Must Develop to Succeed (PDF, 278KB)

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