You can improve your people skills further by taking our How Good Are Your People Skills?  self-test.

Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

As an entrepreneur, you also need to come up with fresh ideas, and make good decisions about opportunities and potential projects.

Many people think that you’re either born creative or you’re not. However, creativity is a skill that you can develop if you invest the time and effort.

·         Creative Thinking: Are you able to see situations from a variety of perspectives and come up with original ideas? (There are many creativity tools  that will help you do this.)

·         Problem Solving: How good are you at coming up with sound solutions to the problems you’re facing? Tools such as Cause & Effect Analysis , the 5 Whys  Technique, and CATWOE  are just some of the problem-solving tools that you’ll need to be familiar with.

·         Recognizing Opportunities: Do you recognize opportunities  when they present themselves? Can you spot a trend ? And are you able to create a plan to take advantage of the opportunities you identify?

Practical Skills

You also need the practical skills and knowledge needed to produce goods or services effectively, and run a company.

·         Goal Setting: Do you regularly set goals , create a plan to achieve them, and then carry out that plan?

·         Planning and Organizing: Do you have the talents, skills, and abilities necessary to achieve your goals? Can you coordinate people to achieve these efficiently and effectively? (Here, effective project management skills  are important, as are basic organization skills .) And do you know how to develop a coherent, well thought-through business plan , including developing and learning from appropriate financial forecasts ?

·         Decision Making: How good are you at making decisions?  Do you make them based on relevant information and by weighing the potential consequences? And are you confident in the decisions that you make?

·         Core decision-making tools include Decision Tree Analysis , Grid
Analysis , and Six Thinking Hats .

·         You need knowledge in several areas when starting or running a business. For instance:

·         Business knowledge: Do you have a good general knowledge of the main functional areas of a business (sales, marketing, finance, and operations), and are you able to operate or manage others in these areas with a reasonable degree of competence?

·         Entrepreneurial knowledge: Do you understand how entrepreneurs raise capital? And do you understand the sheer amount of experimentation and hard work that may be needed to find a business model that works for you?

·         Opportunity-specific knowledge: Do you understand the market you’re attempting to enter, and do you know what you need to do to bring your product or service to market?

·         Venture-specific knowledge: Do you know what you need to do to make this type of business successful? And do you understand the specifics of the business that you want to start? (This is where it’s often useful to work for a short time in a similar business.)

You can also learn from others who have worked on projects similar to the ones that you’re contemplating, or find a mentor  – someone else who’s been there before and is willing to coach you.