If you’re thinking of starting your own business, you’re at the beginning of an exciting and unpredictable journey. Aside from technical aptitude, there’s something else you’ll need to excel at: interpersonal skills.
This article is sponsored by Southern Cross University. Study an MBA there to perfect your leadership skills.
Often referred to as ‘social skills’ or ‘soft skills’, interpersonal skills are crucial for success - in both your personal and professional life. They’re the building blocks of communication, are essential for countless interactions throughout your life and will inevitably play a huge role in your success as a budding entrepreneur.
While there are many skills handy for interactions of all kinds, below are the most pivotal - the ones all business owners need to cultivate.
Regardless of what type of business you’re creating, you’ll need to be a confident and skilled communicator. Business owners are required to be adept communicators across a range of situations involving a wide array of people. Whether it be public speaking, group training, team presentations or writing emails, good communication is essential to your success in the business world. Remember, communication is a two-way street, and it’s about more than just writing and speaking.
Prioritising your listening skills will ensure your employees, colleagues and clients feel heard, respected and valued. While being able to express your own ideas is important, taking the time to listen to others and showing your interest through engaging body language and eye contact is also essential.
When taking the initial steps in your start-up journey, you’ll find that things will rarely go as planned. Being able to roll with the punches and adjust your plans to suit situations as they arise is key to both your short and long-term success.
Business owners who prioritise flexibility in the face of challenges demonstrate a willingness to develop new skills, along with an openness to reassess if things don’t go the way they thought.
They’re also perceived as being great team players and versatile leaders. People respond well to those who demonstrate they can be flexible in the face of challenging situations. Being open to new ideas and approaches means those around you will be more willing to do the same. The more you can encourage others to share their ideas, experiences and approaches with you, the greater your chance of sustained success will be. This may involve offering a service you normally wouldn’t, ensuring a client achieves ideal results or finding ways to bounce back after receiving negative feedback.
Do you see the glass half empty, or half full? Business owners who approach their work with an innate sense of positivity, even in the face of difficulty, are more likely to cultivate success.
Positivity has been linked to increased energy, an ability to problem solve, and better resilience. Having a positive attitude builds strong decision-making skills and the confidence to make the right choices. Not only that, positivity can be infectious. Business owners with a positive attitude are more likely to encourage others and boost overall morale along the way.
Collaboration and teamwork are important skills for any entrepreneur to develop. No matter the industry you’re in, today’s fast-paced and complex world means you need the input of experts around you to compete with the best.
Business owners who understand this important fact know why collaboration is so important. They also comprehend that simply tasking people to work together doesn’t constitute good teamwork or collaboration. The best business owners are team leaders who are focused on directing those around them to work toward shared goals – with clearly defined roles and outcomes. They also encourage collaboration to be based on mutual respect, tolerance and trust.
Being able to display excellent communication skills is one thing. But if your actions as a business owner aren’t based on honesty and integrity, you’re going to hit some roadblocks. Integrity cannot be faked, it has to be genuine.
If you’re thinking of starting your own business, beginning with a strong foundation of integrity is critical. People who demonstrate integrity inherently draw others to them, something that’s essential if you’re entering the market as a new business owner. Once those around you recognise you as someone with integrity, you’ll reap the rewards of being seen as dependable and trustworthy, as well as skilled and knowledgeable.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a successful business owner, you'll need that and then some to reach the top. By continuously increasing your education throughout your business journey, you’re cultivating the technical and interpersonal skills needed to remain competitive. Your skills are your biggest asset, and keeping them fresh will help you start and sustain any business undertaking.
Being able to analyse data, and manage and lead people will help any business owner stay competitive. Develop your passion for managing and leading people with a specialised Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Southern Cross University.