The ‘Soft’ Skills Entrepreneurs Need to Face the Challenges Ahead – Business Leader

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James Cook
September 13, 2022
In this guest article, Aiman Kabli, the Founder of FELS, outlines the soft skills that he believes entrepreneurs need to successfully tackle the economic hardship ahead.
There is no doubt that now more than ever is a challenging time to be an entrepreneur, as UK businesses are affected by increased energy prices and inflation in the price of goods and services. The Office for National Statistics reports that more than two-thirds (69%) of businesses say they have concerns for the future of their business.
What does this mean for entrepreneurs, those who run or hope to run a company, the innovators of our time who are leading the way with new ideas, products, and services? How can entrepreneurs survive and thrive in the challenging economic times ahead?
The answer: developing their soft skills.
‘Soft Skills’ are also referred to as ‘common skills’ and range from teamwork to problem-solving. These skills help individuals in every area of their lives. Not only in business, but they are transferable to your personal life too.
Throughout my career, advising quite literally hundreds of tech start-ups and ecosystem players, I have seen every single type of entrepreneur. I have worked with many entrepreneurs who continue to run companies in a more old-fashioned way with a focus on ‘hard skills’. This refers to specific technical skills such as coding or data management, to name just a few.
In no way am I discrediting the value of hard skills. Indeed, many industries require technical knowledge that allows entrepreneurs to develop new systems, goods or processes.
Hard skills are necessary to build a business, but soft skills are essential in maintaining it.
Soft skills can help entrepreneurs make better decisions, create a positive workplace, work creatively to find solutions to problems, connect to their peers and generally deal with the ups and downs of running a business. In short, they give an entrepreneur the skills to weather any storm.
Developing these skills requires a little self-work. It’s important that entrepreneurs put the time into building these skills in their own lives before implementing them into working practices.
Aiman Kabli
Maybe this is the hardest part for entrepreneurs, as we are notorious for thinking first and foremost about our business and letting the personal stuff slide. But you have to start from a solid place. After all, a business is only as strong as its leader.
The very best entrepreneurs know the value of self-care, and I’m not talking about bubble baths or fancy treatments. I mean taking the time to make sure you have all your basics covered, that you are eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. This will help support your mental clarity and performance in all areas to make the best decisions for your business.
Entrepreneurs are incredibly unique. Being an entrepreneur requires a certain mindset to develop an idea into a business. What if you could turn that thinking to your development too? Consider how adopting a growth mindset in your life would open you up to new ways of thinking that could benefit both your business and your personal life.
Operating from a growth mindset means being open to continuously learning and self-discovery, setting aside time for things such as reading or watching documentaries and practising inquisitive conversations when you speak to others and seeing every moment as a potential learning opportunity.
We’ve all heard the quote ‘life doesn’t happen in your comfort zone’. In fact, many elements of building a business and being an entrepreneur force you to step out of your comfort zone.
Regularly practising things that challenge you to do new things and think in new ways will help you build and develop the skills that allow you to face all that comes your way with an adaptable way of thinking and quick problem-solving.
There are many different ways to do this. I find travelling and experiencing new cultures forces me to think in new ways. Others find the same in learning new languages or practising extreme sports. Whatever works for you and gets you thinking a little differently.
Developing soft skills will help you step into a place of true leadership and, in turn, face anything the uncertain future holds. You will be able to connect to your team and empower them to care about your company goals, solve problems with creativity, and drive your company with clarity and purpose.
As the economy continues to change, depend and invest in yourself and ensure you have the skills to survive and thrive.
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