"Doors opened. Opportunities evolved. Law, institutions, and corporations moved forward. Many minds did not."
-- Anna Quindlen
"I really believe that everyone has a talent, ability, or skill that he can mine to support himself and to succeed in life."
-- Dean Koontz
We are living in the post social media era where business etiquette and interpersonal skills reign supreme. Where information overload breeds a tech-driven culture in which rapid trends and rapid access are par for the course.
The rules of the game are thus changing, especially in entrepreneurship. In this arena, balancing humanity and technology, and purpose and profit, are an ongoing learning process. One needed to implement sustainable change. One which impacts the nature of pitches, digital avatars, and viral marketing campaigns; all part and parcel of entrepreneurial maintenance.
The care and feeding of today's 21st century entrepreneur varies from our predecessors. That's why it's time to raise this question:
Which soft skills does an entrepreneur need?
Here are 4 skills that today's entrepreneur needs to hone, irrespective of industry or gender:
The iEra may have resulted a rise in narcissism and selfies but there has also been a rise in global connectivity and mobile, wireless dialogue. The shared economy is not just a business model for the likes of Airbnb. It's a way of life, which is why interpersonal skills i.e. social communication is the most valuable skill one can, and should hone, in today's workplace. Read more here.
Entrepreneurship in the new millennium is a "kinder, gentler" entrepreneurship. At its core is emotional intelligence trumping all. It's about finding someone's pain point and addressing it through problem solving and digital content marketing that provides emotional resonance with clients/customers. Startup entrepreneurs may not know the intricacies of a sales funnel, but they do need to know how to wield empathy through storytelling and visuals, so that they not only gain their "tribe" but keep it. Read more here.
3. Public Speaking
The Digital Age has spawned a voracious interest in multi-sensory, 24/7 performances and thought leadership. Shakespeare's observation that all the world's a stage and we are merely players with a role to play has never been more true. Getting one's "fifteen minutes of fame" and message out, has never been easier; just think YouTube channels and TED Talks. An entrepreneur needs to hone speaking skills not just as branding ploy. A polished speaker can now leave a digital footprint. A polished speaker can now provide real time and virtual mentorship; so crucial in today's startup culture, especially for women looking to join the ranks of founders. Women who want to learn, and want sound bytes they can listen to while juggling work/life responsibilities and their hectic schedules. Read more here.
Entrepreneurship in general requires a certain mindset and attitude, so that one can stay the course and maintain, and even enjoy the process/journey, not just the outcome. So that one can reframe success and failure and learn from mistakes. So that one can hone both resiliency and a sense of humor in the face of obstacles and setbacks. Entrepreneurship in particular for women founders can often be a grueling, rather solitary process, something only recently spoken of publicly and addressed in the blogosphere. That's why practicing the lost art of "digital detox", practicing cognitive behavioral therapy, and even practicing mindfulness can all help one maintain positive thoughts. Read more here.
These four soft skills can help today's entrepreneur survive and thrive. No matter which "tribe" or "faction" one belongs to, or hopes and works to cultivate. Every entrepreneur has both an innate skill set and one honed over time and experience. We don't live in the uni-dimensional, dystopian society like the one in Divergent, by Veronica Roth. We can implement change, starting with changes in our own Theory of Mind and actions.