Being an entrepreneur requires more than having an innovative idea. A dream is what gets you started, but certain skills are needed to keep you going. Successful entrepreneurs invest in themselves. They develop the skills necessary to succeed even if they don’t have them from the beginning. In fact, that may be the reason why it takes most startups years to gain traction and momentum. Usually, the product or the service is somewhat the same 7 years after the startup as it was when it first began.

So, what changed?

Often it is the skill set of the entrepreneur involved that changes. It grows to possess the skills that are essential to entrepreneurial success.

So, what are the skills entrepreneurs need to get ahead?

There are actually 5 essential entrepreneurial skills. Let’s glance at each of them together.

1. Resourcefulness

One of the exciting things about entrepreneurship is that it is all up to you. You aren’t dependent on a coworker doing their job. You don’t have to worry about a boss letting you thrive or holding you back. The buck stops with you.

What entrepreneurs realize soon after starting, however, is that this increase in freedom comes with increased responsibility. Just as you don’t have a boss telling you what to do, you likewise don’t have one you can go to when things don’t work out. You’ve got to figure it out yourself. When your team doesn’t have the tools they need, you have to provide them. Whether you know what those tools are or not is irrelevant. You are responsible for the organization. Its success or failure is up to you. That is exciting. And it also requires an extreme amount of resourcefulness – an ability to get whatever job done that needs to get done when it needs to be done.

2. Resiliency

Entrepreneurship is tough. It is rife with setbacks and disappointments. You will feel misunderstood. Things won’t work out the way you hoped. This is especially true in the beginning. It takes a lot of strength to push on in spite of facts that say what you’re doing isn’t going to work. Financial problems arise. Relationship tensions rub. Stress erupts.

Before you jump, you are full of excitement. After the leap, reality hits. And reality hurts. You’ve got to be resilient to bounce back from the falls, to keep going against adversity. And sometimes you will have to motivate other people to do the same when everything inside of you is yelling quit.

3. Sales

Selling is a skill. And regardless of the industry, you are in, you are in sales. You have to sell your ideas to get started, sell yourself to get a team and sell your product or service to get a profit.

This is true for every field. You may, for example, be a writer. You focus on writing. But have you ever heard of a best-writing author? Neither have I. But we’ve both heard of a best-selling author. Why? Because regardless of the field you’re in, you are a seller. Entrepreneurs with this skill are ahead of others who don’t.

4. Discipline

Discipline is doing what you don’t want to do in order to achieve what you want to accomplish.

It’s nice to feel like we are our own boss. But the implications of that is that you are both the boss and the employee. You have to be a strong enough boss to push yourself and hold yourself accountable regardless of how you feel. And at the same time, you have to be a good enough employee to listen to yourself and do what you are supposed to do. That sounds like heaven when you’re stuck in a 9-5. But when it becomes your reality and you are the one who pays the consequences for a lack of discipline, it’s an entirely different story.

It is also important to note that most entrepreneurs think they have self-discipline. Then they become entrepreneurs and realize they don’t. It is a skill that can’t truly be assessed when you have a boss holding you accountable Only after you launch on your own will you find out if you have this skill or not. And if you don’t, you will have to develop it or get out of entrepreneurship. It is, unfortunately, that simple.

5. Efficiency

At first glance, you may think being disciplined and being efficient are the same thing.

Not quite.

You cannot be efficient unless you’re disciplined. But just because you have self-discipline doesn’t mean you know how to work efficiently. Discipline is simply about doing it. Making it happen. Efficiency is about making sure that the thing you’re doing is what you’re supposed to be doing at that time and then doing it as quickly as you can without compromising the integrity of excellence. Discipline is not wasting time. Efficiency is about making the most optimal use of the time you use. Here is where you prioritize. You do the 20% of tasks that give you 80% results. You work in your lane. You delegate. Discipline is necessary for an entrepreneur to even start seeing a profit. Efficiency is what is required to take the organization to the next level.

This list could be extended as other skills are important.

But important and essential aren’t the same. It’s safe to say that a deficit in even one of these five skills will have devastating effects on an entrepreneur’s success. Many times, the entrepreneur who feels stuck isn’t in a rut because of a flawed service or defective product. It is usually a lack of one or more of these five essential entrepreneurial skills.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fight blindly on fixing teams, systems, strategies, etc. But they do not spend the time focusing on these skills. In those cases, the skills develop naturally over time. Usually. This is because the nature of entrepreneurship forces one to may these changes simply to survive. But entrepreneurs who are aware that the leak in the ship is not what they sell but is in fact in their own set of skills, the focus can shift to developing the lacking skills. And when that happens, major breakthroughs follow.