The balance needed between taking risk and avoiding risk to grow your business and be successful can be a difficult one to master. Successfully starting and growing your business requires many new skills and capabilities to be learned. Every business is different, but the traits of successful entrepreneurs start to look very similar when you examine them.

These are some of the key skills we help teach entrepreneurs.

1. Work at developing your business skills and knowledge

What we do to earn money is our trade or professional skill set. How we deploy this and use it to earn money is our business skill set. Two people with the same professional qualification and knowledge can have very different levels of business success so business skills matter just as much as the professional and trade skills. Most people focus on their job and not their business where as you need to work on both.

2. Understand and use your management information to help you manage the business

This will help you to anticipate potential problems before they arise and you can look for solutions well in advance. It is inevitable that you will have challenges but you don’t want your business to be a white-water ride when you mange crisis after crisis. You want to practice “Heads up” business where you see where you are going and the obstacles in the way and having good, accurate management information helps with this.

3. You need to adapt to changes

In the modern business world, nothing stays the same for very long. You need to recognise the changing environment and landscape and be ahead of your competitors. The most successful businesses of the future will be the ones that are willing and able to adapt the fastest.

4. Be open minded

In business, there is a risk of the OWE or “own worst enemy” factor. Where people have set views and will not listen to others or look properly at the information because it conflicts with what they want to do. The better the knowledge, information and advice the better the decision making and you will not achieve this without an open mind and a willingness to take on board other ideas and points of view.

5. Learn from others successes and mistakes

They say education is never wasted but it comes in many different forms. There is a lot of knowhow and support available if you if you look for it.

6. Imagination fuels a business

Being creative and innovative is not in everyone’s DNA but we can create the environment within the business that encourages an innovative and progressive approach and culture. It helps you avoid complacency and becoming a static and boring business.

7. Choose your team with care

Building a good and motivated team around you is a skill. Get it right and you can achieve great things together. Get it wrong and it will be a drag on you and the business indefinitely, so take your time with it and do your homework on what you really need and what the candidates bring. You want people with not just the job skills but a work ethic that can fit and grow within the business.

8. Don’t ignore or run from problems

You need to get comfortable with problems and solving them. That does not mean you need to come up with all the answers yourself – you don’t but if you ignore problems for too long then you lose the ability to control and limit the damage and manage the outcomes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either because there is rarely just one solution or option and if you don’t agree then read tips 4 and 5 again.

9. Get comfortable dealing with and telling bad news

No matter the planning and all your efforts at some point something will go wrong and you will need to deal with it. Be open with your stakeholders about this, why and how it has happened and what you are going to do about it. Every business has been in in a difficult position at some point and spinning the facts to gloss over the problem is counterproductive. It will also erode your credibility in the eyes of your stakeholders whether they be investors, lenders, customers or staff

10. “You have got to learn to love the hassle”

I received this piece of advice from David McCormick who was my first major client and the person I sought advice from when I went to set up my insurance broking business in 1995. David mentored me in those early years and it was a huge help. I didn’t really know what he meant at first but I soon did and he was right. Running a business is not easy, if it was everyone would do it, but it is not rocket science either and with the right approach you will make it work.

About Craig Eason

Craig is the founder of Startup4ten® and the Inventive Step® coaching network and has been an Insurance Broker for over 27 years.

About Startup4ten

Startup4ten is an insurance and business coaching collaboration to support new and young companies.

With strategic partners, Hiscox, Inventive Step and James Hallam, it is designed to assist young companies reduce business risk through quality but affordable insurance. Alongside this is coaching support from a team of experienced business coaches and professional advisors.

Craig Eason, Founder

Startup4ten - www.startup4ten.co.uk - craigeason@startup4ten.co.uk - 01786 406403