The Five Most Important Skills for Business

The right soft skills can make running a business easier.

Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo prove that anyone with a vision and clever marketing can take a great idea and run with it. Nearly 100 million global startups are launched each year as entrepreneurs jump the gap from idea maker to a business leadership role.

But even with a great product and some funding, less than half of these highly ambitious startups will be around in the next four years.

It’s clear that it takes more than money to run a successful company. And while there is no single best formula for success, the following five skills are among the most important if you want to give your business a fighting chance:

#1 – Business Leadership

Whether you have a C-level title or are in a middle management role, no company succeeds without strong business leadership. Business leaders are both visionary and practical. They’re persuasive enough to get others on board with their ideas and build trust, but also encourage others to think for themselves and speak up when they have conflicting ideas.

Through these qualities, good leaders don’t just lead; they also create other good leaders. This level of leadership development exhibits a “lead by example” mantra that others can’t help but feel inspired by.

#2 – Ongoing Development

Successful business owners and entrepreneurs maintain a growth mindset and invest heavily in personal and professional development. They seek out mentors who are willing to share valuable resources and, in turn, build and foster connections that will help them fuel their success.

Personal development is just as important as leadership development, as new experiences can lead to new opportunities. Leaders can feel motivated and inspired when they invest in themselves and remember what they’re working toward.

#3 – Recognition of Opportunity and Potential

Savvy business owners recognize a good opportunity when they see one because they know the inability to do so could be their downfall. This is precisely what happened to Kodak, Nokia, and Xerox when their competitors began moving into the digital age without them.

Though business leaders might not get it right every time, they at least have the discipline to do their research, consult with other professionals, and make a logical decision before jumping on or writing off an opportunity.

#4 – Ability to Sell a Vision, Not a Product

Selling products isn’t a measure of your success. Rather, good business leadership insists on selling a vision that makes product sales a natural by-product. Companies like Apple, Starbucks, and IKEA have executed this perfectly. They may not have the best devices, coffee, or furniture, but these companies have become almost synonymous with the products they sell due to the powerful visionary benefits and experiences they promise their users.

#5 – Mindfulness and Intention

Strong business leaders approach every decision with intention. They consider lasting impacts on multiple areas of the business and how their decisions will help to progress the company forward.

Demonstrating an appreciation of the other cogs in your business organization shows that you’re committed to the value of the business, not just your own personal gains. By expanding your mindfulness in this way, you may be able to advance your career in ways you haven’t thought of.

Are you putting these skills into practice to grow your business? If not, try them for yourself and see the doors they can open for you.

For more business leadership and development insights, head back to our Leadership section.

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