Must-have skills for a successful entrepreneur: Resilience, self-criticism and passion

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start up businessWe continue our series on key competencies with an examination of the essential skills of successful entrepreneurs. Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy decision. It involves coming up with an idea and making it a reality. The success of an entrepreneur depends as much on the skills they possess as on the project they have. Of course, you have to be creative, hardworking, patient and autonomous, as well as organized; however, there are three skills that you should possess and it is really hard to start a business without them: resilience, self-criticism and passion.

These three competencies are particularly important because you must possess them personally to ensure the success of your business. For example, if you are not hardworking, you can employ many people to work for you. It will cost you more but it is possible to succeed. If you are not well organized, you can hire a very competent assistant. On the other hand, resilience, self-criticism and passion are skills you cannot delegate.


Anyone who has ever written a business plan or started a business will tell you that the entrepreneurial experience does not always progress in a straight line. So many initial plans change along the way; and some priorities also shift in the process. You might encounter problems that were not anticipated or even criticism from people whose support was critical for the success of the project. It is easy to give up and say “maybe it was not meant to be”. However, for your business to succeed, it is essential to look beyond the obstacles and focus on your objectives. Resilience is important not only in the beginning but all throughout the business’s lifetime. After the business gets going, you might occasionally face hard times. Your employees will have the option of resigning and looking for another job elsewhere; however, you, the entrepreneur, will have to work through the hard times without giving up.


When you are employed, even if you are the Chief Executive Officer, you are always answerable to someone: the investors or the board of directors. As an entrepreneur, you have the final say in most decisions. It is therefore easy for you to take some things for granted. The people in your company are your employees or your partners and for this reason it is not their place to look over your shoulder. You have to be the one to scrutinize everything you do and make sure your work is as good as it can be. There are different ways to achieve this: you can build an open relationship with a few of your employees to collect their honest feedback and criticism, which you can in turn use to better yourself; you can also arrange to be accountable to someone who might, for example,  go through your work to check the details. Thus you gain an extra critic who is not a client.


When you start something new, you must believe in the project with all your heart. You cannot expect others to believe in it if you are not convincing. Passion makes a significant difference when you talk to potential customers or potential investors. If you are not passionate about the subject of your presentation, your delivery might come across as strained and people will pick up on this. However, if you are passionate about what you are doing, it is easier to communicate what you mean. This is especially important since you are the only one who fully understands the added value of your product or service. Your enthusiasm will also make it easier to respond to numerous inquiries.

Clearly, entrepreneurship requires a wide variety of skills. Resilience, self-criticism and passion are essential and must be possessed by the entrepreneur – they cannot be delegated. They remain important all throughout the lifespan of the business and are required to guarantee its continuity.


photo credit: Skley via photopin cc


  1. Paul

    And then there is the one soft skill which I feel underpins them all – self-belief. If you have that as your cornerstone, then everything else flows from it.

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