What creates success?
As a business and enterprise coach I am frequently asked about the kinds of skills and qualities I think new business owners need to develop. Now, everyone is different and we all come with a unique skill set. But there are three skills I believe to be universal if you are going to flourish as a freelance, self employed person or entrepreneur.
Obviously, you need to be excellent at what you do. Whether it is accountancy or juggling, gardening or storytelling, I am assuming that you have the capability, passion and skill to offer a great product or service to your clients.
That aside, here are the magic three:
1. Project Management
Any endeavour that takes more than a few minutes is basically a project. Whether it is moving house, building a website or setting up a new product line, basic task and self management is essential to navigate your way through in one piece!
Project skills are invaluable for the start-up entrepreneur. Basic project skills are not rocket science but they completely transform your approach and thinking.
Crucial to this skill set is the ability to break goals down into tangible, bite sized tasks. The smaller the better.
Then, you need to be able to estimate effort. One task might take five minutes and another a week or so. You need to be able to gauge this and project management teaches you how.
Lastly, you need to identify the critical path. This is the order in which things HAVE to happen to work. For example, you can't put the icing on a cake if you haven't baked it. Project skills help you to work out what needs to happen when to make your business fly.
General Helmut Van Moltke said "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy." As a small business owner, learning to be flexible is absolutely essential.
We constantly need to 'course correct' in light of new information, changing our plans or approach based on the trial and error approach. There is no way round this except to get comfortable with 'failing fast'.
That means trying things out to find out what works and then adapting your strategy in response. A rigid 'my way or the highway' approach will blinker your perspective and limit your choices. It could also stop you seeing a great way through that is much simpler, faster or effective.
3. A Transition Plan
Diving into a freelance career with no back up resources or Plan B is a recipe for disaster. I learned this one the hard way myself! Things always take a lot longer than you hope and obstacles you could never have expected arise.
It is very hard to do your best thinking or responding to these challenges if you cannot pay the bills. A transition plan looks at how much you need to keep yourself fed, watered and housed whilst you build your dream business.
Having worked with hundreds of would be business owners, mumpreneurs and freelancers, I know that these tools make a world of difference. The skills are all simple and easy to learn. A minute to learn, a lifetime to master, but then I have always said that running your own business is about the best form of personal development there is!