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The #1 Skill Every Entrepreneur Needs

The #1 Skill Every Entrepreneur Needs


Andrew is an in-demand Coach and Speaker focused on helping startup and fast growing company founders launch, fund and grow their startups across the globe.

Listening to the radio today and the program had a theory on why we humans have been one of the most dominant species on the planet?

Maybe its obvious to you why but the program made the point that if you pick any skill necessary to survive on our planet, us humans are not #1 in any of them versus one or more of the other species that we dominate.

When you stop and think about it – its true.

Running, jumping, climbing, digging, swimming and we are clearly not #1 at any of them.

So how come we survived and thrived and weren’t wiped out in the first couple thousand years? Were thumbs really that important?

Well, the radio reporter theory was we may not be #1 at any skill BUT we are in the top 5 for all of them.

Hum….not sure I agree with that theory, will need to think on it some more, what do you think?

That radio program got me thinking about what’s the #1 skill we all need to be able to successfully start, launch and grow our companies?

Can we be successful with our new and growing businesses by mastering just one skill or, must we as entrepreneurs, like humankind, be ‘pretty good’ at a handful of skills? (Got an opinion?)

Now, if it is possible to be successful with one just skill while being mediocre at all the rest then to my mind, that #1 skill needs to be the skill of understanding our customers.

For example, if you SUCKED at understanding what are the minimum viable features and benefits your customer needs from a product but you are AMAZING at manufacturing – you’ll make a top quality product that no one wants.

If you SUCKED at understanding how your customer THINKS about products like yours – the qualities that you need to communicate to make them purchase but were AWESOME at distributing your product – your product will be everywhere but your product would appeal to no one.

So in my view the #1 skill is understanding your customer – what they want, how they want it, how they talk about it, how much they value it is CRITICAL to successfully starting, launching and grow any business.

Get these elements wrong and you’ll waste months and money and ultimately fail. BUT and there’s next point is incredibly reassuring – if you have a deep and fundamental understanding of your customers – it will be almost impossible not to be successful.

Now maybe you’re asking what about the competition?

Luckily most competitors do actually suck at understanding their customer and rely upon price to make the purchase decision for them – that why, when you sit around a table with most business owners, they’re focused on cutting prices.

If they had the inside track on what their customers TRULY wanted, price would never need to be the key driver.

Getting inside your customers minds and truly understanding what they not only need but also want (not always the same thing) and then understand how to not only give it to them but strongly communicate the benefits to them – nail these elements and your future will be historic.

People and companies who take a superficial approach to their customers will be lucky to survive – and when I say ‘superficial’, that includes founders and companies who use their ‘gut feel’ and magical customer insights as the main determinants of their decision making.

Many entrepreneurs fall into this trap – believing they have some inside track to their customers minds and psyche – forgive me for asking the obvious but what’s wrong in actually asking them and getting into a conversation?

Want to know what your customers want, need and are willing to pay for? Crazy thought but how about getting into a dialogue?

How many entrepreneurs start out with a product then try to figure out who and how to sell it rather than starting with what the customer truly needs?

Time to wise up if you’re not spending real quality time getting customers to tell you what they want and how they want it.

Not immediately obvious how to do that easily but my team and I have been working on an easy and efficient way to do exactly that.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.