American business magnate Warren Edward Buffett once told business students that he would give $100,000 to anyone in the class in exchange for 10 percent of their future earnings in the business. For wide-eyed business students, $100,000 is already a substantial amount but Buffett didn’t stop there. He said that he would raise his bid by 50 percent if they have good communication skills. Buffett rationalized that public speaking would raise the value of his investment.
Not all entrepreneurs are good communicators. Some could be the brain child of a business operation but when their communication skills are a drawback, the business suffers. Poor communicators tend to be poor listeners as well. If you don’t listen to what your customers and team members are saying, how can you lead the business to success?
Apart from good communication skills, below are other soft skills entrepreneurs need to have in order to lead their organizations effectively. If you are setting up a business in Singapore or planning to open your Asian headquarters in the country, here are soft skills you need as an entrepreneur.
In general, you can’t expect people to think the same way you do. This is where good communication skills are needed. How to effectively communicate what’s in your mind to the minds of your organization is a skill that takes time to learn, with much trial and error.
Good communication between you and your managers and between the managers and their teams are vital in daily operations as they directly affect sales and productivity.
In terms of communication between businesses and consumers, there are two main types to remember.
One-way communication is when a business shares information about their products and services but does not generally require responses from the consumers. This comes in the form of advertising. In her book A Big Life in Advertising, author and advertising legend Mary Wells Lawrence wrote, “Advertising, in any form, is about telling stories that captivate readers or viewers and persuade them to buy your products.”
The second type is two-way communication wherein your customers join the conversation through feedback and surveys. Today, social media is one of the best ways to know what your customers are saying about your product and your competitors. Listening to what they are saying is a vital part of an organization’s success.
In his article Why Customer Feedback is Valuable to Your Business, author and businessman Tin Jahn wrote, “When you ask your customers to give you feedback on your product and or service, you’re going to learn what they like and don’t like about it.”
Sometimes, entrepreneurs believe that their ideas are so great that they do not need (and want) to meet halfway when they find themselves in a partnership or merger. In today’s business arena, partnerships that are mutually beneficial enable businesses to grow and expand at a faster rate.
Collaboration is a skill that enables entrepreneurs to leverage on the experience and resources of their business partners and organizations. Here are examples of best collaborations between businesses as surveyed by Co-Society, a company that offers teams from various businesses to combine their resources to develop new products and services.
• Coca-Cola + Heinz: Developed eco-friendly and more sustainable bottle containers.
• Reebok + Marvel: Developed a line of footwear featuring your favorite comic book superheroes.
• Evernote + Moleskine: Created Evernote Smart Notebook that combines physical note-taking (handwritten) with software. Enables consumers to organize and access their notes easier and faster.
In their book titled Co-Business: 50 Examples Of Business Collaboration, Co-Society, and Infonomia founder Alfons Cornella wrote, “Collaboration between two good ideas multiplies the result, and because of the possibility of sharing resources and expertise enhances the product.”
Good presentation skills do not mean drowning your audience with Excel sheets and PowerPoint slides with numbers only you can understand. A professional presentation does not include emoticons, clip art images, and word art only a sixth grader would appreciate.
In the workplace, a good presentation consists of 3 main parts: opening, body, and closing. Your presentation slides should only consist of keywords or key points and visual aids. All the data need to be in your head – properly structured, organized and planned. Here’s the secret: hook your audience with the opening, convince them with presentation body and leave them wanting more with the closing.
There are many books you can check out to improve your business presentation skills. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte is a good book to start your journey. Here she wrote, “Moving an idea from its inception to adoption is hard, but it’s a battle that can be won simply by wielding a great presentation.”
Even rival CEOs admit that there are many advantages in befriending your competition. When competing business owners are friendly, they benefit from mutual decisions such as lowering or increasing prices of products and services, sharing industry updates and learning from each other experiences.
In business, establishing your business contacts, even the ones you’re competing with, is a vital entrepreneurial skill. Networking is the process of linking individuals or businesses you think would benefit in working together. Over time, this kind of relationship-building would become your best advertisements for future endeavors. Coupled with good communication and presentation skills, who you know have the ability to link you to people who would soon become your best assets.
In the physical world, you network through your contacts and during trade events where you can meet people. In the virtual world, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to build networks online. You can check out Jan Vermeiren’s book How to Really Use LinkedIn to help you grow your business through networking.
Learning how to manage your time means being able to measure your productivity and profitability. For instance, if you take into play a lawyer’s ‘billable hours’ concept, keeping in mind that the hours you spend on things should be able to earn you money is a great motivator to jumpstart your day and refrain from sinking into mega distractions in the online world. When you’re an entrepreneur, every hour has to be productive. To do this, you have to establish your priorities.
Everyone has limited time in a day. But everyone in the world has 24 hours and what you can achieve in that amount of time is limitless. And when we say limitless, we are talking in terms of being able to accomplish more tasks compared to people who do not know how to manage their time.
In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author Stephen R. Covey wrote, “First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established.”
Are you ready to monetize your hours in Singapore by opening a business? Get in touch with us today and let us help you get started.