The Skills You Need To Have For A Successful Start-up

By Gareth

Mar 02

Planning to start a business this year? If so, what skills do you need to have?

If your about to take the plunge by starting a new business, To just have to business idea, is not enough. You need to know how you are going to keep motivated, close deals and most of all, grow your business. Being a business owner is mentally tough. You don’t have a boss to steer you out of danger or give feedback, it’s all on you. (sorry for not sugar coating it!)

If you can start to switch your mentality into one of a business owner before you start trading, the step up becomes much easier. I made this mistake in my first business, I knew a few things that I should be thinking about but, I didn't take action. I didn't focus on getting the skills I'm sharing here. As a result I lost everything. Torn in embarrassment, whilst driven to not make the same mistakes again and spread the word to others. Most new businesses fail, fact. Probably because the owners don't have the skills like these that they needed, or develop them too late (like me). Read this article and you will get a massive leg up which will stop you from becoming another statistic.

Personal awareness

The person who your staff and customers look to when things go wrong is the person that needs to be strong.The most important person in your business is you. You should be able to share your passion for getting the right result. I’m sure the voice inside your head is full of passion, ideas and dedication, But this isn’t always the same voice that comes out when speaking with others. Understanding what you do right and wrong, is the only way to help you improve.

So you could go and get a communications coach, and i know this is very fashionable at the moment. But, here’s a little exercise I think you should try first.

Insert Video

If you’ve never asked for any feedback before, it can be very daunting first time around. Believe me, I still recall the first feedback form I gave out to my team, I was dreading the results. All the previous mistakes I had made started going through my head, “I didn’t smile yesterday when one of the guys said hello,.. I was a bit short with that person yesterday when they fucked up…” But I was quite surprised with the results. See people see through the flaws, they know what they are, but it's your strengths that shine through. Your strengths identify you. You are going to have more of these than weaknesses. By receiving feedback, you often feel more confident, not less than you may have expected.

Focus on exaggerating your strengths further, whilst trying to avoid the weak areas of your management skills at first. For those weaknesses, you can find books or videos that can help you deal with certain situations you are not best suited.

Engaging people & following up

I’m guessing you can say “Hi” to someone for the first time, but in business there’s a way to talk to engage people for them to join your network. Here’s a video that explains how to build a network:

There's a book everyone should read,  Dale Carnegie's How to win friends and influence people">, If you've not read it, you can get a copy here">. Here's the key nugget I got from reading this, spun in my own way:

Be courteous, ask questions. When listening, pick up what they are most passionate about by looking at their body language and how their voice gets excited. Then to continue the conversation, keep probing. People love talking about their passions.

After the initial introduction, follow up. Keep these contacts close, get them to join you in your journey in business together or at the very least, get them into your social media network. Hit them with a “How are you getting on?” styled message from time to time. Keep them close, showing an interest at all times. You may be amazed at first how in business, people know people. Especially in a local area, it's not uncommon to talk to an insurance broker and find his wife own's a restaurant, likewise a cake maker who's close friend is a website developer. As you build your network, more and more opportunities open, so tap in and be courteous to everyone. Facebook was built by a sweaty teenager, I bet Mark was ignored by many, these days he's a recognised public speaker and his blog posts get read by thousands (if not millions). Treat everyone you meet with respect. As soon as anyone in your network comes into contact with someone who needs your product, you want them to mention you. Don't let them forget about you. Become someone people want to help.

That aside when you find someone that is interested in your product, don’t give up just because they didn’t return your answer machine message. Most business owners get people calling to sell them stuff all the time, unless salesmen, really try, they don’t get the cream. Keep calling back, leaving messages and repeat. Don’t expect rejection, but then, don’t get emotional about it. Sometimes you just have to make things easy for them, “I’ve filled in the form, just sign here”. Is what it takes sometimes (well...often!).

Have ambition and plan your next 3 years


Next 3 years? Sounds a bit excessive? Well if you want to go big you need to have big plans, I hate using common phrases… but… “Rome wasn’t built in a day”..... Or…. “Don’t run before you can walk” are two that come to mind. But they are very relevant.

You should know where you want to end up, and you should also know the path you are going to undertake to get their. This video explains the Round ASS principle I first shared in my book:

Delegate don’t abdicate

Weeks and weeks it took to make my way through the E- Myth without getting bored. Turning off, then having to restart the chapter regularly (surely it’s not just me!??). It does however carry a great message, even if it does go on a bit for my taste. You can get it here ->​The E-Myth">The E-Myth​​​

The message it conveys is you need to understand that no one is as passionate about your business as you. To get your team to follow your lead, you need to make it as easy as you can for them to follow your instructions.

Here’s a great example where I got this completely wrong in my bakery,

I asked my cook to bake some cakes in his 8 hour shift. I went away and came back towards the end of his day excited to see his results.

I got one cake.

One cake, which I would divide into 12 portions.

To break even, I would have to sell it at £7.50 a slice. That was never going to happen, he however thought he had done no wrong,

I said bake, so he baked.

He choose to push himself to bake a cake that was overly complicated to try and impress, Sadly I wasn't. 

The next day, I had wrote out 5 different recipes and gave them to him. These recipes were much less complicated than the previous, but the results, just as delicious. This time, he made 5 amazing cakes which filled my display and I could actually make a profit on.

That’s the power of delegation, not abdicating like the first time. So no matter, how much you respect others to do things for you, you should always be managing their output. Prepare never to fail.

Know your value

touchpoint business strategy

You need to know how much you are worth. To do this, decide with your Round ASS, what you want to earn each year. Then work out how many customers you realistically will serve in a week, and then divide your yearly amount needed by 52 and divide this by the number of customers you can service in a week. That’s how much you need to charge.

Using a costing sheet to work out your raw material usage (if you use them), there’s one in the resources page, on this site. If you don’t like the look of the figures then either increase the price, decrease the product size, or go down the up-sale route. In this route you will sell a highly profitable product on top of your core product. This allows users to gain more benefits, whilst giving you extra income.

This leads quite well into the next topic….

Understand Money

This is what most new entrepreneurs fail to understand, despite thinking otherwise. It sounds simple, but often hard to implement until you get some business experience. Cash is king in business, you don’t want to ever run out of it, you also don’t want to be wasting time moving money around and calling suppliers to beg for new payment options. Believe me, I’ve done it. It’s a massive drain on your time and takes you away from doing what you should be doing.

The trick is to set appropriate budgets, then not go over them. The other thing is to make sure you get paid. Those clients that pay late, drain you. Either fire them or get them on some sort of standing order or payment up front scheme. Even if you lose a percentage in handling fees, you will get a more important resource back, your time!

Understand Marketing

You should understand what it is your customers want from you, in addition to making a purchase, do they need motivation to use it, further tips on how to get the most out of it.

Perhaps, they want to smile at the thought of using your product. 

You can create a content marketing strategy that does exactly this. To find out more about branding watch this:

business book

To build a sales funnel that is going to efficiently target your custimers then you I reckomend you buy the book LINK, and watch this video playlist VIDEO

Manage your time

As a new business owner you can get lost! Everyone wants a peice of you at first, salesmen, brokers, website developers… It can get overwelming, and you can waste your time talking to people you don’t need to.

You should always have a list, like this video reveals:

Your to do now and to do this month lists are key to your motivation to get shit done. I often look back at a day and wonder, have I been productive? Was that a good use of my time? It’s not always positive, but then I am the hardest boss of me I know,

When I get this, what's the next step?

How to Win Friends and Influence People">How to Win Friends and Influence People​​​Well done my friend, its going to be exciting for you. I would purchase my book if you haven't already. It shows you how to create a strong business plan and many ways to market your business. Then, you just have to get on with it. Just enjoy it won't you?

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