Starting a new business? Top 10 skills and attributes needed to be a successful entrepreneur

2 min Read Published: 07 Nov 2012

Many people have dreams of starting or running a new business, but few take a critical look at how well equipped they are to take on this challenging task.

Here are my top 10 skills and attributes that can help make those dreams come true.

Work ethic

Many people see working for themselves as an opportunity to jump off the 9-5 merry-go-round. Choosing your own working hours and being your own boss are all very appealing but a long way from  reality. The truth is that if you want to create a successful business it will involve long and stressful hours over a long period and consume your thinking every waking minute. So if you see being a business owner as a route to an easy life, then think again as you will surely be disappointed.

Self motivation

When you work for an employer self motivation is a choice, depending on how successful you want to be. When you work for yourself being self motivated is an absolute essential quality if you want your business to succeed. Without a boss standing over you it is very easy to duck that extra phone call, or sales appointment, and driving yourself every day can be stressful and very tiring. Be self critical and if you feel you may struggle in this area don't enter business under your own steam.


When things don't go to plan then you need to have the ability to pick yourself up and carry on. Nobody will be there to help so you need to be self resilient and  able to see these setbacks as learning opportunities and move on.


New entrepreneurs will find it difficult to succeed without the ability to understand the numbers that drive their business. Using these numbers to understand what's happening in their business and using them to plan the future is an essential key skill.

Enquiring mind

Businesses these day are always changing as they adapt to new products and markets. If you are starting a new business today I can guarantee that, if you are successful, it will change dramatically over the next 5 and 10 years. You will, therefore, need to have the ability to uncover new products and opportunities constantly to stay in business.

Networking skills

To be successful in business you will need to build strong relationships with customers, suppliers and other business owners. Sharing information and building relationships can be done both in person or through social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Critical thinking

It is very easy for business owners to make wrong decisions in the development of their business due to poor thinking skills. It is important to be able to take an objective view of your business when making changes, or deciding on new ventures. Critical thinking is the ability to view evidence on a subject in an unattached manner so as to make an unbiased and balanced decision.

Positive attitude

As the main, or only, driver of your new business it is vital that you have an upbeat and positive attitude. There will be many obstacles and setbacks along the way to making your business a success, so having the right mindset will be vital in overcoming these issues


Being able to see how things can be improved, see the 'big picture' and create a compelling vision of the future are skills needed in creating a new business. Whether you are trying to attract new investment or motivating an employee, creating a compelling vision is a key skill for moving your business forward.

Negotiation skills

Whether trying to negotiate a keen price from  a supplier or resolving a customer complaint it is important to develop negotiating skills. Business is really all about negotiating and trying to attain a 'win win' scenario, so excelling in this area will help your business enormously.