10 Skills New Entrepreneurs Need to Make Their Business a Success

When you’re launching a business, it’s impossible to prepare for every eventuality. Between drafting business plans, trying to attract clients, updating investors, and managing your team, there’s an almost unlimited number of factors that influence your success or struggle.

However, what you can do is acquire the universal business skills that have helped successful entrepreneurs for decades in overcoming adversity and achieving their aspirations. Here are the ten most important skills to polish when you’re planning to launch your business. With them, you’re well-equipped to handle whatever challenge comes your way on your path to success.


First off, one of the most crucial skills for new entrepreneurs is planning. This may sound trivial, but comprehensive planning is an often-neglected prerequisite for launching – and managing – a successful business.

Aspiring entrepreneurs must hone skills in planning, financial management, marketing, communication, networking, delegation, leadership, focus, and resilience for success.
Image: DIW-Aigen

Many new entrepreneurs restrict themselves to a skeletal business plan, much of it designed in visionary fashion to attract investors. Few go into the nitty-gritty details, realistic timelines, or detailed resource planning. Fewer still factor in potential setbacks and backup plans for how to deal with them.

In the first stage of comprehensive business planning, aspiring entrepreneurs need to sketch out their long-term goals, then identify the mid- and short-term milestones they will need to pass in the interim to achieve them. As a next step, you need to take stock of the resources you currently have and those you need to free up or acquire to get started – in terms of budget, time, space, and assets. The third phase is critical: You need to prioritize your goals and allocate your existing resources accordingly.

When mapping out timelines, keep Hofstadter’s law in mind: A project always takes longer than expected, even when taking into account Hofstadter’s law. You can definitely sketch out a timeline for the case that everything goes smoothly. But you need to have a realistic backup for the case that you don’t get that crucial permit straight away, that a tentative investor leaves you hanging, or that a prospective client pulls out.

One element that comes with successful planning is finding the right tools to help you along the way – and which you’ll be able to scale up as your business grows.

Financial Management

Next up, another crucial skill for new entrepreneurs is general financial management. That especially means the basics of bookkeeping and accounting.

While countless entrepreneurs are inspired by Warren Buffett’s pearls of wisdom, many neglect to study up on the day-to-day financial management tasks that come with launching a business. Or to find the right tool or people to manage those tasks.

In terms of bookkeeping, you need to be able to log incoming and outgoing amounts on all your accounts, track expenses and manage invoices. Accounting builds on bookkeeping and deals with analyzing all this financial data, to draw conclusions about the overall state of your business, report to investors, and weather tax season.

Even if you decide to outsource bookkeeping, accounting or both as your business grows, some basics skills in this area will help you to select a competent bookkeeper or accountant to entrust your business finances to.

The good news is that you don’t need a degree in finance. Many new entrepreneurs choose to take a bookkeeping course online or to rely on the wide array of beginner’s accounting literature to get the essential skills down before venturing into the business world.

(Digital) Marketing

As with financial management, having some fundamental skills in marketing – especially digital marketing – will help new entrepreneurs in the short and the long term.

Marketing and sales are key in acquiring new customers and scaling up your business. And the digital component of both is becoming ever more important in 2024.

Statistics show that the majority of customers use a business’ website to gauge whether to visit their offline locations, and that many don’t trust a company that lacks an online presence.

In other words, investing time and effort in your business website is crucial. The same goes for setting up an email list and establishing a basic social media presence on the platforms that your target audience frequents. (No need to put effort into launching a TikTok channel if you’re marketing to Gen X professionals.)

As with financial management, you do not need to become an expert overnight. However, reading up on digital marketing best practices, search engine optimization, and social media strategy will help you make the right calls and hire the best people to promote your services and products.


Another frequently neglected business skill crucial for new entrepreneurs is communication. The tenet that communication is key has become a bit of a cliché. That, however, makes it no less true.

Your aptitude at communicating with potential investors, clients, partners, and your team members can make or break your business success. For every interlocutor, you need to leverage a different tone, register, and vocabulary. It’s essential to know what elements to prioritize and which pieces of information highlight in each interaction, and how to leave the person you’re talking to feeling heard and appreciated.

Similarly, you need to harness the right channels of communication, especially when it comes to boosting customer satisfaction. In 2024, a huge array of channels is available – from voice and video calls over live chat and messaging to email and ticketing systems. As a new entrepreneur, you’ll need to be selective about which of these channels to opt for, to avoid being inundated with messages on different platforms and losing track.

Another essential element when you’re bracing yourself for communication challenges is selecting the right tools to help you along the way. There’s a huge variety of business communication platforms out there, each offering different advantages. Take the time to research which best suits your current and future needs. It’s well worth it to avoid migrating between tools later on.


No entrepreneur is an island. Success depends not just on you, but also on the connections you cultivate and the community you interact with. Networking is key to that.

Done right, networking will help you establish mutually beneficial relationships with both established and other up-and-coming entrepreneurs. At the very least, though, you’ll be able to integrate yourself into a group of like-minded people, who’ve embarked on the same entrepreneurial journey and are facing similar challenges. That, in itself, is an invaluable source of support, motivation, and inspiration.

So how do you get started networking? The main thing is to put yourself out there and take the initiative in reaching out to people, offline and online. Take the chance and drop a line to an entrepreneur you admire, or send out a personalized contact request on LinkedIn. (Not necessarily targeting giants like Elon Musk – that would almost certainly be fruitless. Look for entrepreneurs in your niche, maybe even from your area, whose work you appreciate and who you’d genuinely like to get to know.)

If there are any meet-ups, expos, or conventions near you, set the time aside to attend and strike up conversations during breaks or over coffee. Be frank and appreciative and aim for genuine connections, rather than sycophantically hanging on to the biggest players you can find.

Just as importantly, you need to nurture the relationships you’ve established. Simply meeting someone once and becoming connected on LinkedIn does not count as networking. Keep up with what other people are doing and stay in touch to express your appreciation and, eventually, suggest synergy effects and potential collaborations.


When you’re building your business from scratch, you’re hard-wired to want to be in control of things. You need to sign off on every decision, read through every plan, and double-check the work others have done.

While this is a solid mind-set in the beginning and your team is small – maybe consisting of just you and one or two freelancers – it can quickly become a serious limitation to your business growth. And your health.

Micromanaging your business even as it picks up momentum is a straight path into burnout and losing the confidence and motivation of your team. That is why delegation is another key skill that successful entrepreneurs cultivate mindfully.

Delegation is always an act of trust, so you need to be strategic in assembling your team and placing people in key positions who have a certain level of autonomy. After all, there is little benefit in delegating if the person you’re delegating to checks in with you every five minutes.

Assembling your team is only one piece in the puzzle, though. Leading them is another.


Not every entrepreneur is a born leader. Many started out as awkward and introverted and only gradually learned what it takes to motivate and inspire others.

Still, leadership is a key skill for new entrepreneurs – and something you can study up in advance.

At its core, leadership means communicating your vision to your team and making them feel excited about it. It means drumming up motivation and making every single member on your team feel appreciated, and like they can grow into their own best selves while working with you.

To achieve this, there are many different leadership styles that successful entrepreneurs have developed over the years. Reading up on these and pinpointing the strategies that work best for your individual situation and personality type can be invaluable when you’re launching your first business.

Similarly, brushing up on skills like conflict management and mediation – in case tense situations arise between team members – can be extremely helpful as your business grows.


Looking at successful entrepreneurs, one skill that all of them share is the ability to focus.

In today’s world of constant distractions – from the 24-hour news cycle to an unending stream of social media notifications – it can be hard to maintain your concentration and direct it exclusively at the task at hand. It is, however, essential to find success as an entrepreneur.

Singling out what is important is key. What short-term goals take priority? Which project do you need to wrap up now? What task takes precedence on your daily schedule?

You need to make these choices and then direct your focus to run through the workflows to achieve your goals.

If you struggle to focus, it’s crucial that you work out strategies to overcome your personal hurdles. Limiting distractions, leveraging focus tools, and testing techniques from Pomodoro to Eisenhower are all steps in the right direction. Test different approaches and pinpoint what works best for you. All while keeping in mind that the ability to focus is a skill that is acquired over time, not something you learn overnight.


Finally, a last essential skill for aspiring entrepreneurs is resilience: the ability to bounce back after setbacks.

No matter how well you prepare, however thoroughly you plan, you will experience disappointments and frustrations along the way. That is inevitable. What will define the outcome of your business journey is how you deal with them.

To build resilience, you need to take a close look at your motivations, your past experiences with setbacks, and your life outside your business.

What is your ultimate goal in launching your business? Do you want to prove yourself? Pursue a passion? Become independent? Or simply make a lot of money? What other ways do you have, outside your business, to derive meaning from your work and your daily life?

Similarly, how have you dealt with setbacks in the past and what would you do differently? How did your coping strategies leave you feeling, and what other ways would there have been to bring things to a more positive conclusion?

Lastly, what is your life like outside your business? What support network do you have to fall back on? Who is there to motivate you and cheer you on, and to offer comfort should things go wrong? What other hobbies or activities do you have that bring you joy?

Ultimately, to build resilience, you also need to prioritize your physical and mental health, and your personal social connections. Neglecting any one of these will leave you vulnerable and ultimately hurt your chances at success.

Final Thoughts

The business world is full of surprises and unplanned challenges. While it’s impossible to prepare for all of them in detail, you can acquire a solid set of universal skills that help you master whatever situation you’re faced with.

By brushing up on the skills above, you’ll be able to prepare for launching your business and set out on your entrepreneurial journey with well-founded confidence.
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