Particular Set of Skills That Make a Small Business Owner


You're a small business owner, and you've got a particular set of skills. With precision and accuracy developed after years of successes and failures, trials and errors, you keep alive a business, your livelihood, and your passion.

Whenever I need to feel stealth, smart and pumped, I play the Liam Neeson soundbite from the movie "Taken" to help remind me of just how trained I am as a business owner, and how special that is. Play it by clicking below, and then we'll dive in to describe this awesome set of skills you have.

A BBC News article explored if entrepreneurs are born, or if they can be taught. The article's reporter, Sarah Treanor, spoke with entrepreneurs, professors of economics and entrepreneurship, a business coach and an investor to conclude...that maybe it's in the DNA. But it can also be trained. Fair enough - we just don't know (Sabina and I happen to be from families with entrepreneurial backgrounds). Here's what we do know: it takes a special set of skills to successfully start, grow and run a business. Is this you?

  • Adaptive Thinking: From the article, Peter Ryding, a business coach and "turnaround specialist", identifies "adaptive thinking" as a core trait for an entrepreneur. Says Ryding: "A person with 'adaptive thinking' can spot a business need, decide what skills are needed to address it, and then apply them quickly and effectively. They can then do this again and again as new needs or requirements arise," he says."
  • Seeing Reality with a Positive Spin: Ryding attributes the next key trait as being positive. "By 'seeing reality with a positive spin', what I mean is that entrepreneurs are better able to see if something is going wrong with a certain plan, and how to turn this into a positive by happily switching to something else."

In addition to these descriptions, here are my identifiers of an entrepreneur:

  • Tenacity: Everyone has good ideas. Not everyone has the energy to execute them. But you do. You have the tenacity to execute your idea by diving into what it takes to make and market that idea.
  • Works Well With Others: You may not agree with everything people say, but you know how to communicate what you want. You know how to encourage others to do great work for and with you. You know how to learn from others.
  • Curiosity: You are insatiably curious. You want to know how something works. You can dream of a better way. You are curious about how other businesses are building success, and you tap into those methods.
  • Focus: You may have ADD, but you know how to channel your love of everything into getting something done.
  • Dedicated: Some describe this as "work-a-holic", and some describe it as dedicated. You know how to compartmentalize the time you put into your business into working hours and play hours. You're the boss - no one is threatening you with a pink-slip if you miss a deadline. It's all you.
  • Looks Good in Many Hats: Like Dave in one of my favorite small business commercials from Staples, you wear many hats. You're involved in bookkeeping and social networking. You learned about manufacturing, and you learned about contracts. Oh, and now you're a blogger because some SEO-nut told you you need a lot of content on your website in order to market your website in search engines ;) (...was that me telling you that?)
  • Trust: You work with others. You trust them to do great work for your business. You trust yourself that you can communicate clear directions to your team.

Have these traits helped grow your business?