What is one skill you should cultivate to thrive as an entrepreneur in an increasingly digital world?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Understanding Other Viewpoints
The digital world provides unencumbered and immediate access to information, which can undoubtedly be an advantage to entrepreneurs. It is increasingly important to make a concerted effort to understand as many viewpoints as possible before making critical decisions. Entrepreneurs who are able to remove biases from their own decision making will be better able to conduct well-rounded analyses.
2. Being Consistent
The skill entrepreneurs should cultivate is consistency — whether it’s online or offline. Being consistent means that the same kind of confidence expressed in a tweet can be expressed in a speech or casual conversation. Consistency requires entrepreneurs to work on their flaws and know their strengths so that their personal brand is seamless online and in real life.
3. Embracing Perseverance
In the real world, entrepreneurship is hard. You need put in time and effort and overcome challenges and obstacles you might have never seen coming. The only reason you end up failing is because you decide to give up. Perseverance is a skill you need to keep making progress on. It gets you through the hard times.
4. Managing Your Time
Social media and other digital platforms are designed to retain your attention for as long as possible, and the methods and algorithms employed to do so have become very sophisticated. Be deliberate about how and where you spend your time throughout the day. Time management and willpower are keys to success in this digital age. Try calendaring and time blocking for very specific tasks.
5. Studying Data Analysis
The volume of data available to modern entrepreneurs is vast, but data is only useful if you know what to do with it and the ways that it can be misleading. I’d encourage all entrepreneurs to understand the basics of scientific research methods and data analysis. Understanding how to use data properly will help entrepreneurs make the right decisions and avoid being misled by faulty reasoning.
6. Learning How to Properly Delegate Tasks
It’s not as simple as “here’s a task I don’t want to spend my time doing, so I’ll give it to someone else.” The sort of language that is utilized to communicate with off-shore talent is not the same as what you’d say to someone who you’re physically interacting with, so make sure that you set parameters, limits and rules before delegating tasks.
7. Creating Sales Funnels
With the arrays of tools available to digital marketers, the ability use them cohesively to create a sales funnel is a skill that is in high demand. Marketing is very sophisticated nowadays, and competition has increased. Becoming smarter with analytics and messaging at each stage of the process can give you that competitive advantage for profitability without spending much more money.
8. Noticing When You Need to Pivot
It is majorly important for entrepreneurs to see what works and what doesn’t, and to be able to pivot when something isn’t working well. Recovering from failure and losses, and being ready to jump into the next curveball with enthusiasm, is vital.
9. Being a Sponge
My industry is changing constantly, as it is in so many others. You have to be able to take in all new information, data and changes in technology and business, and adapt. If you are stubborn and refuse to change, you will flounder.
10. Being Selfish
While it may sound counterintuitive, being selfish is a necessary skill to be a successful entrepreneur. Oftentimes entrepreneurs find themselves picking up the slack and doing everything in their business. Every business owner needs to learn to pull back occasionally and make time for themselves. A little bit of selfishness is what keeps an entrepreneur motivated and the business growing.
11. Speaking in Public
It’s easy to ignore public speaking skills in a digital world. Speaking skills become more important when going digital because you lose the ability to speak with body language. As fewer people see the importance of public speaking, it will become easier to improve yourself and stand out from the crowd. Join your local Toastmasters Club; it’s time well spent!
12. Honing Your Rhetoric
The tempo of the world seems to be ever increasing and digital communication is the norm. Cultivating your ability to communicate clearly and succinctly is critical to thrive. This is important whether you are tweeting, shooting off an email, or are one of the few holdouts who hops on the phone for a “quick call.” You are trying to convince someone of something, so improve your rhetoric.
13. Improving Your Writing
No matter what kind of technology comes along, it’s always powerful to write persuasive copy. This isn’t only for advertising, but also for emails and social media. The same principles apply to speaking and pitching. The key is to focus on words and concepts that really tap into your customers’ needs. Study the best ads and copywriting books for inspiration.
14. Building Real Relationships
As we turn ever more digital, it’s important to counterbalance that with the old-school skills of connection in person and offline. You can leverage tech tools to make it easier to manage a network and your life, but nothing should replace the investment of time and energy you put into real relationships.