Essential Tools, Soft Skills and Resources
for High Performing Entrepreneurs
Despite the economic challenges dredged up by the COVID-19 pandemic, new businesses have flourished in recent years, not least because getting started as an entrepreneur is now cheaper and easier than at any other time in history.
Though many great businesses have been started with little more than a laptop and internet access, there are still a number of essential soft skills and resources that are needed to turn a budding idea into a profitable venture.
If you’ve decided to make the leap and turn your business idea into a reality, here’s some essential tools and soft skills you’ll need to maximise your chances of success.
Essential Tools and Resources for Entrepreneurs
Modern businesses live or die based on their ability to make data-driven decisions more effectively than their competitors. From all-rounders like Google Analytics to email marketing suites like HubSpot to CRO plugins like Hotjar, there are countless analytics tools on the market that will provide granular views of all your business processes, and empower you to make informed decisions that will guide your business in the right direction.
The huge selection of analytics tools may feel overwhelming when you first start shopping around. While it’s certainly not a good idea to inundate yourself with more tools than you can use, it’s absolutely essential to have software that will show you how people are interacting with your business online.
Customer Profiling and Personalisation Tools
Personalisation in marketing has become a huge topic over the past few years, and is poised to set the standard of all content and UX best practices for many years to come.
As a modern entrepreneur, you’ll need access to the kind of detailed customer profiles that will empower you to deliver the experiences they want. Using customer journey analytics tools like Verfacto, you’ll be able to automate your UX based on the unique profiles of your site visitors, and craft unique browsing experiences that will delight your target audience and ensure a greater rate of success.
If you were working during the outbreak of the pandemic, there’s a good chance you witnessed the chaos that can be caused by last-minute meetings and cancellations, constantly changing waiting lists, and conflicts that can arise from a lack of good scheduling resources. Things may be quiet right now, but as business ramps up, scheduling software like Calendly will help you juggle multiple contacts and avoid mishaps that can undermine your professionalism.
Flexible Payment Systems
The digital revolution of the last couple of decades has made payment methods more uniform than before, but it’s still hugely important to offer your customers or clients a lot of flexibility in the way that they pay you. Whether it’s a buy-now-pay-later service like Klarna or a user-friendly portable card machine like the ones provided by SumUp, your target audience will have certain demands and expectations to meet when it comes to providing flexible payments.
Graphic Design Software
Businesses need stunning graphics to compete with the modern standard of content and ads. Though you may not be an especially arty person, hiring a full-time graphic designer isn’t going to be at the top of your list in those cash-strapped early days.
Fortunately, there are plenty of design tools like Canva on the market which will allow you to create high-grade graphics for all your marketing campaigns at little expense or effort. Though the results may not coincide with your overall vision, they’ll add a sense of professionalism that will do a great job of tiding you over.
Essential Soft Skills for Entrepreneurs
It may sound obvious, but the importance of developing your leadership skills can’t be understated when you’re setting out to become a successful entrepreneur. Even if you’re starting your business as a sole trader, if you want it to scale over time, you’ll need to learn how to understand various personality types, help people to fulfil their potential, and become the best version of themselves that they can be.
Negotiation is frequently either the most or least favourite soft skill that entrepreneurs have to learn. Whether you love it or hate it, being able to reach agreements where your interests don’t quite line up with another party’s is essential in the early days of your business, where a lot of your time will be spent crafting pitches for clients or investors.
A cornerstone to both leadership and negotiation, active listening means being fully involved in every conversation you participate in, and making an effort to understand what other parties are saying, rather than making inferences and decisions based on partial information.
Getting into a habit of active listening will remind your clients and partners that they’re important to you, and avoid misunderstandings or mistakes that can arise from half-involved, “passive” listening.
Though time management is essential for success in any vocation, it’s especially important for entrepreneurs who are just starting to make their business a reality. Countless promising ventures have failed early on not because their founders were spending time on the wrong activities, but because they were portioning up their time incorrectly.
Your business may be mostly research and brainstorming right now, but if you’re like most entrepreneurs, your schedule will soon become very busy in a very short space of time. Make time management a priority from day one, and it will serve you well long into the future of your business.
Like any big achievement, developing an idea into a profitable business can’t be done on passion alone. One thing every business that started from nothing has in common is a founder with a wrought-iron discipline, which saw them and their company through all the erratic ups and downs that characterise new ventures. Having the wherewithal and self-control to do things you don’t like doing, and maintaining high standards in every task, can make all the difference as you shape your business idea.
We hope this round-up of essential soft skills and tools will serve you well as you go about developing your business. Though good habits and tech isn’t everything when you’re trying to turn an idea into a profitable venture, by making sure you have the right tools for the job as early as possible, you’ll make all your future challenges infinitely easier to overcome.
About the Author
Gemma Williams works remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus toward growing her personal brand, connecting with leading experts in the industry and providing value in topics related to career development. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaHartTweets