Four leadership skills every fast-growing entrepreneur needs – StartupSmart

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A lot is expected of entrepreneurs and business owners, and many of them try to do it all (and be great at it all).

But a generalist can never be an expert.

Most business owners are familiar with the common skills required to run a company — communication, networking, creativity.

These skills will get you by, but there is more to success than just the basics.

Here are four less talked-about, but equally important, skills that all business owners should cultivate.

Time Management

Overwhelmed is the status quo for many business owners, but it shouldn’t be.

When you manage your time effectively, you gain control over your day, your company, and your life.

The success of your business depends on your ability to stay organised and time management is at the heart of organisation.

Time management is really just an exercise in setting priorities.

Take your typical email account, for example. It’s one of the most common methods of communication in the business world.

We can’t forgo email completely, but it can be a dangerous time-waster if not managed it carefully.

It’s important to remember that the order of emails in your inbox has nothing to do with urgency — these messages arrive chronologically.

If someone sends you something important that you need to do today, it could very well be buried by several other emails containing tasks that can wait until next week.

Manage your time more effectively by pulling action items from emails into a to-do list that you can prioritise by urgency, rather than addressing matters as they come up in your inbox.

By learning to effectively manage your time, you will become more productive and relaxed. This will allow you to think more clearly and have more headspace to brainstorm innovative ideas for your business.

Thought Leadership

Becoming a thought leader requires you to network with other professionals, self publish, and pursue guest posting opportunities.

These activities will open up a world of opportunity to you both within and outside of your industry and help cement your place among the elite.


Delegation can be considered an element of time management, but it is also a separate skill that business owners need to master.

The way you assign tasks affects your own well-being and the happiness of your staff, both of which are integral to the productivity of your business.

Delegation is all about balance.

You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your employees, but you also don’t want anyone to be bored, because boredom leads to disconnected, lackluster performance.

Employees need to be challenged and feel increased responsibility because this increases their engagement with and investment in the company.

Business owners have to be informed and level-headed when making delegation decisions.

Learn what tasks you can let go of and which tasks are most important for you to be handling personally.

For example, owners should be a major voice in big-picture thinking and directional planning for a company, but they don’t necessarily need to be updating the social media accounts.

It can sometimes be a challenge for business owners to hand over responsibility — especially in the early days of owning a business — but if you’ve hired a team you can trust, you should have faith in them.

The process of delegation will evolve as your team and company grow, as this will expand your talent pool and also increase the demands on you as a business owner.

The skill of delegation will always be important, no matter how large your company becomes.

Risk Assessment

Opportunities for real growth will always include risk.

As a business owner, final decisions come down to you, so you must learn to assess the level of risk, how that risk compares to the potential reward, and the likelihood of that reward.

That’s a big responsibility, especially when other people’s livelihoods are dependent on the survival of your company.

As your team grows or your life circumstances change (e.g., you have children), your risk-taking ability becomes more limited.

Risk assessment requires you to recognise both long-term and short-term gain as well as the consequences of failure.

It also requires you to recognise how your business will benefit — or be damaged — by passing up an opportunity. There are consequences for inaction, too.

As we’ve said, business owners and entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats and need to develop an extensive range of skills to truly thrive.

These skills are by no means the only ones you’ll need to be successful, but they are some of the most important.

By improving your time management skills, maintaining your thought leadership status, becoming an effective delegator, and developing your risk assessment abilities, you will create an versatile toolbox for business ownership.

Simon Slade is the chief executive and co-founder of  wholesale directory SaleHoo, affiliate marketing training portal Affilorama; and their parent company Doubledot Media Limited.

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