Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

5 Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Master Running your own business is like playing the piano — you need to master many different keys at once. But if you're serious about entrepreneurship, these five skills will help you play the right tune.

By Christopher Massimine Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Starting a business is hard work, and it's not for everyone. Entrepreneurs are a special breed of people, and to succeed, they need to have specific skills that set them apart from the rest. Entrepreneurs need to be flexible and resilient, but they also need to know how to manage their time effectively. The good news is that the skills we'll cover in this article can be learned by anyone with the passion and desire to do so.

1. Writing

Writing is an essential skill for entrepreneurs. Good writing can help you communicate your ideas to others, keep yourself organized and maintain a reputation. It also enables you to stay on track with important dates and deadlines.

Writing isn't just about putting words on paper — it's about communicating clearly and effectively in professional settings and when working alone. Whether it's a blog post or an email response to a customer who's having problems with their purchase, the ability to write effectively is crucial in today's business world.

Related: Why All Entrepreneurs Should Write

2. Public speaking

When you think of the most important skills for an entrepreneur, public speaking probably doesn't come to mind. It's not a skill immediately necessary for someone starting a business, but it is one of the most valuable skills for an entrepreneur to master.

Public speaking is often overlooked as a critical skill in entrepreneurship because it can be intimidating. We are afraid of being judged or humiliated when we get up in front of people and talk about our ideas (or anything, really). But if you want your company to grow, you need to learn how to do this quickly.

Public speaking can be learned — and there are many ways to practice these skills and improve them over time. One way is by attending conferences where speakers will likely share their experiences and what they've learned. You could also join Toastmasters International®, an organization dedicated solely to helping members improve their skills through workshops and mock presentations called Table Topics® sessions each week at local clubs worldwide.

Related: 5 Social Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Master

3. Product design

Product design is the process of creating a solution that meets the needs of your customers. It's about understanding how people use your product and then using that information to create something new.

The best product designers can communicate their ideas with clarity and conviction. This skill is fundamental for entrepreneurs — whether you're working on a physical product or an app — because it will help you build relationships with potential investors, partners and other stakeholders in your business.

4. Persuasion

Persuasion is a key business skill. It's also a critical social skill. As such, it can be one of the most rewarding skills to master as an entrepreneur.

Persuasion is about helping people see your point of view so that they make decisions that are in their best interest, even if those decisions go against what they had previously decided was best for them. The ability to persuade others is not the same as manipulation, bullying or coercion.

Persuasion isn't wrong — it can be used to get people to do things they intrinsically want to do but might not realize, like eating healthier or working out more frequently. Persuasion involves getting someone else on your side by presenting them with information that will change their mind—and doing so without being gratuitous about it. The skill touches on everything from product design and marketing copywriting to sales techniques and leadership development programs for your team members.

5. Accounting

One of the most important skills for an entrepreneur is accounting. A business owner must understand and interpret financial statements, pay taxes and make informed decisions about where to spend money. Whether running a small business or taking your first steps towards starting your own, it's important to understand how to keep track of all the money coming in and spending out.

First things first: what does accounting mean? Accounting is essentially the system for keeping track of financial information. You need to know how much money you've made, where it came from, how much went out and where it went. All this information must be entered into an accounting software package so you can see where things stand at any given time.

The good news is that many different software packages are available today, ranging from simple spreadsheets like Excel to complex programs like QuickBooks Pro. These programs all make tracking finances easier. Once you have chosen your preferred program, there are plenty of online guides on how best to set up an accounting system based on those platforms' unique features and functions. If nothing else works for your business model, consider hiring someone who knows their way around bookkeeping systems.

Related: 5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Risk-Taking

Chris Massimine is the CEO of Imagine Tomorrow, a firm that shepherds and sources capital for creative works. Massimine is also a business development consultant, an international theatermaker and executive producer of the upcoming film "The Inventor."

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

'Creators Left So Much Money on the Table': Kickstarter's CEO Reveals the Story Behind the Company's Biggest Changes in 15 Years

In an interview with Entrepreneur, Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor explains the decision-making behind the changes, how he approaches leading Kickstarter, and his advice for future CEOs.

Business Ideas

87 Service Business Ideas to Start Today

Get started in this growing industry, with options that range from IT consulting to childcare.

Business Models

How to Become an AI-Centric Business (and Why It's Crucial for Long-Term Success)

Learn the essential steps to integrate AI at the core of your operations and stay competitive in an ever-evolving landscape.


5 Steps to Preparing an Engaging Industry Presentation

You can make a great impression and generate interest with an exciting, informative presentation. Find out my five secrets to creating an industry presentation guaranteed to wow.