I have a passion for entrepreneurship, and that applies both to Videon’s own endeavors and to local business networks like CREN and 3B33. This week, I was interviewed on Marty Wolff’s Business Builders Show, a nationally syndicated radio program offering advice, insight and strategy for entrepreneurs and other professionals. Our conversation covered a lot of ground, including Videon’s startup story and my thoughts on using customers to find new business areas. You can listen to the whole interview to hear more. Here, I want to focus on one question from the interview: What skills are essential for an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs need a lot to be successful, ranging from financial capital to market awareness. Those are important, but I believe entrepreneurial success depends on three central factors:
- Willingness to take risks
- High tolerance for failure
- Flexibility to pivot as needed
The relationship of risk and entrepreneurship is clear. To try something new and different is always a risk, and usually the best ideas start as significant departures from the status quo. You definitely need an appetite for risk in order to start a business.
Tolerance of failure is related. While it’s not popular to admit, failure is a part of life and it’s certainly a part of starting businesses. If you tend to get mired in failure or are completely sidetracked when you see it coming, you won’t be in a good place to deal with it, either by trying again or by fixing the problem. You’ve got to be willing to face failure and push through it.
Finally, pivoting. This aspect of the entrepreneurial personality is often overlooked. Entrepreneurs are sometimes defined as single-minded, following their vision wholeheartedly. But that can make it difficult to adapt to changing circumstances. Pivoting is the ability to change your goals, direction and momentum to better align with changing business realities. It’s an absolutely essential business skill.
Serial entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs will rate high on all three of these characteristics. And for those who are considering a new venture, I suggest taking stock of where you stand in each characteristic. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses–and act accordingly!
Where do you rank on each of these entrepreneurial skills? Are there others you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.