As an entrepreneur, you know you need hard skills like technical knowledge and financial know-how. But soft skills such as accountability and ability to accept criticism are often overlooked. However, the success of your business rests on how well you can communicate, lead, and negotiate. So it’s just as important to develop soft skills as it is to learn how to use the latest project management software.
If you want your business to stand the test of time, here are the top five soft skills you need to develop.
Communicating Your Value
When I first started freelancing, I had no sales skills. I didn’t know how to pitch my services and convince clients they needed my help. Over time, I learned how to market myself and show clients I’m the best option for their needs.
But my entrepreneurial journey would’ve been much smoother if I learned how to overcome objections and close deals before I started interacting with potential clients.
Another key skill entrepreneurs need is the ability to negotiate. One of the benefits of working for yourself is that you can earn more than you did as an employee in less time. But if you don’t know your worth and push for higher rates, you’ll have trouble meeting your income goals.
You never know how big a client’s budget is unless you ask for more money. So don’t be afraid to try to negotiate a higher project fee. If you’ve sold potential clients on the value of your services, they might be willing to splurge a little to work with you.
Ability to Accept Criticism
Every entrepreneur needs to learn how to handle criticism. It’s in your best interest to swallow your pride and listen to feedback from clients and employees even if it’s hard to hear. They may have good advice on how to improve your processes that will take your company to the next level.
As entrepreneurs, we work for ourselves and don’t have bosses we need to report to. But we still have to be accountable to our customers.
To stay in business, you need to meet deadlines, keep promises, and follow through. If you fail to deliver, your clients will take their business somewhere else and may even leave you bad reviews.
Gaining a negative reputation may make it difficult to attract new customers in the future, which could put you out of business. So you should always aim to satisfy your clients and go the extra mile. If you miss the mark and do subpar work, own up to it and find a way to fix the issue.
Being a leader isn’t just about making decisions and calling the shots. You need to learn how to motivate people to get the most out of your contractors and employees. If you micromanage your workers, for example, you may have trouble retaining top talent.
Many business owners have a hard time giving up control of their company. But if you’re over-involved in every project, your employees never get a chance to shine or feel ownership over their work. As CEO, you’ll need to strike the right balance between being present and engaged versus overbearing.
What soft skills have you needed to run your business successfully? Let me know in the comments section below!