Entrepreneurship: The Three Essential Skills

entrepreneurial skills

Photo Credit: Flickr/Walter Lim

There are any number of articles, books, and interviews that tell entrepreneurs which business skills they should hone and how. The suggestions usually take the form of lists that can run anywhere from a top ten things you should do to a best seller’s worth of material.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and management thinking, author, speaker, and serial entrepreneur Seth Godin has distilled the start-up business skill set down to three things:

  1. Quiet your lizard brain. What is a lizard brain? In short, the part of the brain that handles base responses like anger and fear. In business terms, it can be what makes business people slow down to the point of paralysis, what causes writer’s block, or performance anxiety before a presentation, or the distraction that leads to a project timeline to derail.
  2. Think like an artist. Restaurant analogies run strong in the start-up space. Customer pain points are related to ordering a steak; they only want the end product, the steak cooked perfectly to their liking, and they don’t want to know about the cow, how it was raised, or how the meat was prepared. The end product is all that matters. The analogies extend to the management side of things: the hierarchy in a company can be broken down into three categories. Chefs, who are ostensibly in charge and hold the power; cooks who execute on the chefs plan and vision; and the bottle washer who do the dirty work. A change in thinking means to approach entrepreneurship outside of the typical roles and to view business as an artist. An eye toward creativity and imagination means greater agility and the ability to adapt.
  3. Connect the disconnected. What is your level of engagement? How are customers and partners reacting to your ideas and to your products? Is there a disconnect and do you know where that break is? With the advent of social media and truly interactive marketing, messages can be targeted and experiences customized. Who are you connecting with and how?

Bryan Elliot of Entrepreneur magazine goes into the thinking behind Godin’s three essential skills.