In the world of Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook Live streams, business has become very social. Back in the day, you could hope to just put your product or service out into the world, do basic PR and news releases, and then communicate one-on-one with potential customers – often in person. These days, a miscalculated Tweet or mistreated employee could mean the end of your business. While hard skills like computer programming, degrees and certifications are all the rage to obtain, there are many soft skills that are actually more important, and often get overlooked.
Here are 7 soft skills every entrepreneur needs to succeed in this connected age:
#1: Take Care of Yourself
As a busy entrepreneur, it can be tempting to work all hours of the day to manage your business. However, to manage it really effectively, you need to take care of yourself first. Working tirelessly will only lead to mistakes and frustration. By eating properly, sleeping, getting some exercise, and spending some time in nature, you will be sharp and ready to work.
A life-work balance is not only more pleasurable, but you will actually think of more creative ideas for your business by spending time in the “real world” as well.
#2: Effective Email Communication
Everyone can send an email, but not everyone can communicate effectively through it. Since people cannot see your face or hear your tone of voice, word choice is very important. You do not want to come across as robotic or cold. There is a perfect blend of sounding like a human to pique their interest, but also keeping things professional. To top it off, the email should be attractive, concise, formatted correctly, and contain no broken links or typos.
Once you have your perfect email, you also want to make sure it is going to the right person. Not only could you create social unheaval by sending the email to the wrong person, but you also might give the impression that your business is not very organized. To make sure your emails reach the right person each time, we recommend using Lead Guerrilla. It tracks your business leads and contacts, and will only send them emails that apply specifically to them.
#3: A Real Team Player
While you might enjoy being a lone wolf, it is hard to grow your business or get a great job without ever having to work with others. An employer will be more likely to keep you around if you work really well with others, even if others have an advantage in individual job skills. To work well with others you need to do your part, and rely on others to do theirs as well.
Be willing to lend a hand if needed, listen to what colleagues have to say, and keep gossip and negative sentiments to a minimum. If people feel good when they’re working with you, they’ll be more likely to have your back.
#4: Be Patient
Everyone appreciates when someone is patient with them, but not everyone finds it easy to be patient. This is an essential skill in business and in life. You need to be patient with your employees to get the job done right, and not just done quickly. To start off, try to create situations where your patience won’t be tested as often. Set realistic goals for when things will be accomplished and plan for a bit of a grace period. If it’s done earlier, fantastic! Otherwise, you expected it to take this long.
When you’re living on the edge everything is done at the last minute, and not one piece can fall out of place.
That is when you lose your patience with others – and they won’t want to work with you as a result.
#5: Remember to Listen
You may be hearing, but are you really listening? By listening to your colleagues not only will you deal with more issues now before they escalate, but you will also position your business better going forward. As your business grows you can’t be everywhere at once. Your employees will spend more time than you will dealing with everyday issues in many areas of your business. Listening now will promote a collegial, listening culture in your business and setup your business for healthy future evolution. Not every idea will be a gem, but one of them might just save your bacon!
#6: Be Adaptable
Business patterns and processes are constantly shifting and you need to be comfortable with change in order to survive. Perhaps it means learning about new things you find confusing or difficult, trying different strategies, or even changing your product / adding a new one to fit into the current market. Learn to embrace change – and remember that every market disruption represents a major opportunity!
#7: Be Social
Having a presence on social media is not enough. You need to actually interact with people on it to make it worthwhile. Respond to customers quickly who have questions, think of creative ways to promote your product or services and connect with those you think would be interested in what you have to offer.