Personal Skills You Need to Start a Business

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When asked what’s needed to start a business, most people would probably answer “an idea and money”. While that answer is correct—businesses do require a brilliant idea and capital—it’s important to point out that it’s also incomplete. Without the proper skills, any business would slowly crumble before it attains success, no matter how novel the idea. The question, though, is what skills should you develop if you wish to start a new business?

Personal Skills

The answer is personal skills. Also known as soft skills, these are skills that are acquired through experience and personal growth. As such they are not easy to measure and you won’t find them being taught in schools. However, there are experts in each field who offer soft skills training and seminars online. They can be quite expensive, though, but can also be a worthwhile investment. You can always take  small business loans if  you lack the funds for training at present. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the top skills that we recommend you learn.

Stress Management

If there’s one skill we recommend someone to learn before even thinking about learning the ropes of how to start a business, that would be stress management. After all, launching a business, regardless of the industry or scale will always come hand-in-hand with stress, stress that can mess up your mental clarity and focus, which can then lead to disaster. Not to mention the fact that if you are stressed, then your employees will clearly be stressed out too, resulting in a dip in productivity and reduced job satisfaction levels.

Time Management

Another essential skill that you can fully utilize when running a business is time management. The ability to correctly perceive time and make accurate time estimation will be crucial especially during task delegation.

However, it is also important for its role in productivity. You see, time management is not just being able to calculate durations of time, it is much more complex than that. It also requires the ability to gauge the energy level of a person and to consider other factors (such as unforeseen events and distractions) into your time management system.

An Ability to Inspire People

It might not be too apparent but the ability to inspire people is a skill, and a valuable one at that. It is an expression of your leadership skills as well, but instead of knowing how to give orders and delegate tasks to the right people, this ability focuses on empowering the people around you to believe in your business and give it the best they have. 

You’re going to need the ability to inspire people when starting a new business, and getting friends, family, investors, suppliers, and of course, employees on board. But you’ll find it equally helpful later on once your business faces its hurdles and you find the need to rally your people to overcome it. 

Communication Skills

Another way to convince people to believe in you and be inspired is to communicate with them effectively. At the very least, your messages should be concise, clear, and direct. Avoid jargon and terms that can be easily confused with something else. But don’t forget a little bit of heart in your messages too. After all, you don’t want to come across as a robot. 

Keep in mind that talking, writing, or any form of reaching out, is just half of this skill as well. The other half is listening, which can be very difficult if you’re starting a new business. 

For instance, any feedback towards your “flawless” idea can feel like a personal attack, even if it’s probably not. The tendency to read more into messages than was intended is a sign that you need to hone your listening skills.

Conflict Resolution

Here’s a soft skill that closely works hand in hand with communication skills: conflict resolution. This skill also involves a lot of talking, writing, and listening, but it goes way beyond than that. 

It also involves navigating your way through conversations. It’s the ability to determine what other people are feeling and how to adjust your tone of voice accordingly. It’s the confidence of getting people to agree with your ideas and solutions. It’s leading people to a point of compromise and being able to stay completely objective with your decisions.

Yes, having this skill is essential especially if you want to level up your employees’ job satisfaction.

Risk Assessment

Some people refer to it as courage or resolve to take on a challenge even if it means risking something. But if you really think about it, the greatest industry leaders are not mere gamblers. They are simply really skilled in risk assessment. 

They don’t just know how to measure the potential benefits versus the possible consequences, they have also taken steps to deal with the consequences already, just in case their calculations do fail. Now, starting a new business is already risk-taking in itself, but it’s nothing compared to the sink-or-float decisions that you’ll inevitably encounter later on. 


Speaking of tough decisions, another crucial skill to learn before you even start a business is adaptability. Let’s face it, regardless of how much risk assessment and planning you undertake, there are just times when your boat turns sideways and you can’t do anything about it, except to adapt. 

Be quick on your heels to regain your balance and make swift adjustments to those carefully laid-out plans. There are a lot of things beyond your control when you own a business. You can’t predict the path that your competitors will take. There is no way to know what your employees are currently thinking. There are many other variables that change all the time. 

Having the ability to be flexible and adapt to situations as they come is really a priceless skill worth learning in business.


Finally, even if you encounter a dead-end or an impassable hurdle, which is usually the case why a lot of new businesses fail within their first five years, you must know the skill of optimism. 

Optimism is that drive to turn over a new leaf and make the most out of the situation: to have the conviction that there’s always an opportunity, even though some are simply better hidden than others. Ever wondered how big companies survive even amidst internal and external struggles? Well, at the core of their leaders is this skill, surrounded by all the other skills that we have featured above.

To Sum Up

Personal skills, also known as soft skills, are intangible and sometimes immeasurable skills. They’re not as apparent as athletic, mathematical, scientific, or even creative skills. There’s no way to gauge them. However, having them is crucial when starting a business.

And while there are a lot of experts who can teach you these skills, you should know that only experience and personal growth can truly enrich them. 

There are hundreds of personal skills that one can learn out there, and you have probably mastered some of them already without even noticing. However, there are certain soft skills that are vital when starting a new business, such as the ability to inspire and empower people, communicate with them, assess potential risks, adapt to challenges quickly, and retain optimism even during the darkest hours. 

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