The internet and associated technologies have brought down the barriers to the setting up of a successful business. And with the advent of crowdfunding & angel investors, it has become much easier to get a business idea off the ground. Today, an estimated 42.50 million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India employ 40% of India’s workforce.
Given the sizable chunk of SMEs’ population, a small business owner is a vital link to the country’s growth and prosperity. Besides, the government is also providing added incentives for potential entrepreneurs to set up their businesses.
So, if you happen to be someone who wants to chart-out on your own as an entrepreneur, this blog can serve as a guiding document towards understanding a small business owner’s profile. It is a write-up that spells out the potential qualities of a business owner that can improve their success chances. Here we go:
Business Skills of a Small Business Owner
1. Ready to Embrace New Technology
In today’s fast-changing times, an entrepreneur must remain up-to-date on technological trends that can improve business processes streamlining. Every business owner must know the next “Big Thing” in technology that allows them to work smarter. Gone are the days when having a shiny website was enough for showing you are tech-savvy. Today, every business is looking at the “first-mover advantage” to the adoption of new technology. An entrepreneur must actively seek out and understand new technology with its potential applicability in their business or have an active network of individuals who can enlighten them on recent technological trends and products.
2. Strategic Business Planning Skills
As a potential business owner, you should be conversant at communicating the business idea’s viability to potential investors or partners. You must have a crisp yet concise business plan that encompasses business objectives, sales and marketing strategies, and financial projections for the future. Being an entrepreneur, you must have foresight about the business. Besides this, you must be conscious of the prevailing market conditions and ground realities of the market and accordingly make strategic changes to the business plan. By doing this, you can showcase yourself as a keen observer of the industry who believes in strategic thinking.
3. Marketing Skills
The game of marketing is no longer limited to offline promotions. With the rise of internet usage – digital marketing has become vital for every business regardless of size. Today’s entrepreneur has to remain knowledgeable about both offline and online marketing. They will be better served with digital marketing as it is inexpensive compared to traditional means of marketing. And if you have a product catering to the youth, then remaining restricted to digital marketing is your best bet. No one is saying that traditional marketing is dead. It is just that every business owner would have to go with a mix of online and offline marketing to succeed as a business in the long-term. This calls for the entrepreneur to have a sound understanding of the jargon and metrics associated with digital marketing.
4. Sales Skills
Marketing will only get you leads, but these leads must be converted. This calls for the entrepreneur to have sharp negotiation skills. Starting from the initial contact to wrapping up the transaction, the entrepreneur must have what it takes to convince a prospect about the utility of the product or service. That being said, an entrepreneur need not lose sleep about learning sales skills or hiring sales specialists for their business. There are tons of free literature and training videos available on the internet that can serve the purpose. The only limiting factor is your commitment to learning. If you can spend quality time learning the nuts and bolts of the sales process, you are well on your way to conduct successful negotiations by yourself without needing help from others. Overall, there has to be a sincere belief in the product or service being offered. Unless you are convinced about the product, the chances of making a successful sales pitch are fairly remote.
5. Financial Skills
You must be good with numbers, crunching numbers to be precise. Every good business owner should manage their cash flow effectively while paying their employees and suppliers on time. You need not be a financial wizard but need to have your financial basics right and must read the balance sheet correctly without help. If this is not something that comes naturally to you, you can always take a crash course to understand the financial basics. And down the road, with the growth of the business, you could hire an accountant who would help you with accounting and bookkeeping. With continued exposure to the financial process, you would develop a sound understanding of the financial numbers and associated mechanisms over time.
Personal Attributes of a Small Business Owner
Now that we have understood a small business owner’s necessary business skills let’s understand personal attributes that make a good business owner. Here we go:
1. Risk-Taking Ability
Small business owners are known for having a high tolerance for risk. Incidentally, setting up a business itself means you are moving away from the safe confines of a regular pay-cheque to live by your own decisions with very little security. As a business owner, you would be expected to learn how to minimise and manage risks with every minor and major decision.
2. Collaborative Demeanour
Every business owner is expected to know how to work together collaboratively through delegation, forging strong relationships, and creating enough motivation in their subordinates to work towards a common goal.
3. Curiously Innovative
Business owners are expected to be always on the lookout for the next big idea which will help their business reach new heights. Hence, the entrepreneur needs to be curious enough about trends and developments in the industry that will allow innovation in their business. Being curious also helps in being open to distinct business perspectives and different team thoughts that can be integral to problem-solving.
Successful business owners are led by foresight; they do not live in the past but only use the past to learn from their mistakes. They would often be working on how their short-terms actions will feed into their long-term vision for the business. Moreover, a small business owner is always conscious of the business’s cash flow, and all their decisions are based on that.
5. Action Taker
Business owners are supposed to be massive action takers. They do not spend a long time pondering over an idea. Once they have decided, they follow through with concrete actions leaving no stone unturned to succeed.
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Q. What are the prerequisites of a potential entrepreneur?
Ans. Anyone keen on becoming a business owner must be there for the long-term with a tremendous amount of patience to withstand the initial hiccups associated with all businesses. Initially, they should not be driven by their quest for money, and instead, they must have immense belief in the viability of their business idea. Besides, a genuine entrepreneur will not be attracted by the business world’s glamour but would be a sincere learner in pursuing their dreams and goals.
Q. Is it necessary for an entrepreneur to have a support network?
Ans. Yes, the entrepreneur must have a mentor who can guide them to go forward and function as a sounding board for new ideas. This is far more important than a support network, which only brings in business opportunities and would not be ideal for serving as an avenue for emotional and psychological support.
Q. Is there an age to start as an entrepreneur?
Ans. No, anyone can start as an entrepreneur if they have tested the business idea’s viability. If they have the necessary attributes mentioned above, they are fit to be an entrepreneur even at a young age without any job experience.