There are many definitions of the word “entrepreneur,” and you’d be in good company if you’re baffled by what’s out there. You can also be forgiven for wondering whether you are one and how to go about being a good one.
But here’s a skill you’ll need regardless of how you position yourself. In fact, it’s a skill that will enhance your life in general. So even if you don’t actually choose to be an entrepreneur, you’ll not waste your time developing it. That’s communication skills.
In a nutshell, as an entrepreneur, communication is a big part of everything you do. Whether you’re an accountant, a sales supremo, a technical whizz or an off-the-wall visionary, you need to communicate with people at every stage. Here are some examples of what I mean:
Communicate Your Vision
You have a dream, but that’s not enough: you need to articulate it. To everyone. If you can’t get people to buy into it, what chance do you stand? How will they be convinced it’s a great idea? (I mean a “great” idea, not a “marginally better” one).
Outline Your Plan
OK, so people are on board: you have your team. Incidentally, your team doesn’t just include staff. It will include third parties like suppliers, advertising partners, and maybe stakeholders like financiers if you have them.
If you’ve communicated properly, they don’t just want you to succeed but want to be part of it. So figure out how you are going to involve them. What do you want from them, and what do they need to do?
Although you need a “big idea” that everyone subscribes to, every team member has a different role. And if you leave them to figure it all out for themselves, you’re asking for trouble.
Even if someone is a specialist who’s savvier about their field than you do, you’re the one who knows most about how their contribution will achieve what they want.
So set targets – whether performance-based or simply that job X needs to be completed by time Y. Give them something clear that they can aim for.
Manage Your Team
If managing the team is essential (and it is), then communication is the foundation on which it is built. See how they’re doing against the targets you have set, and let them know you’re on the case.
Here’s a hint: always be positive! If they are succeeding, give them praise, and if they’re struggling, ask how you can help. Help can come in different ways that include guidance, additional resources or training.
Communicating isn’t just about talking to people! It’s also about listening to them – and understanding them. You will often be surprised at the insights you get from people who are actually doing the job.
A good communication skills course will teach you all this and put it into perspective. Doing it online will also be more convenient because you can work through it at your own pace, in your own time, and the price will beat an equivalent classroom course hands down.
Always be prepared to modify your ideas in the light of experience. Often, a slight change will make getting good results easier and better. And run your proposed decision past others can yield great results. A resounding Yes will confirm your choice, but something less will enable you to make a change that will benefit everyone.
What To Do Now
Take a good look at what I’ve said, and map your plans (or your performance to date) against it. See where you may fall short, and take a while to think about how much better you would be by making a few changes (one at a time: do one, then work it through before making another) in how you work.
As I said at the start, these changes will also help you outside work. Your family and social life will benefit too … and what better way to put you in a great frame of mind for even more business success!