succeed in business

22 Must Have Skills to Succeed in Business


Do you ever think about what makes an entrepreneur successful?

Why was Steve Jobs able to run one of the greatest tech companies when he wasn’t really a geek?

How did Bill Gates build one of the largest software companies when he wasn’t the world’s greatest coder?

Business in its simplest form is easy.

You have something I want. Sell it to me for a price I am willing to pay.

In reality, starting a business is one of the most difficult things anyone will try.


Because there are so many moving parts. All of them require your attention. 

There are many things required to succeed in a business such as sales, customer service, HR, accounting, hiring, planning, networking, creating partnerships, and the list goes on-and-on.

You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but you have to learn the following if you will succeed in business:

  • You can’t win every battle. It never happens. Only someone really thick-skulled would try. Succeeding as an entrepreneur is very much a roller coaster ride with many highs and lows.
  • Keep an open mind about new ideas. Seek them out. If you haven’t heard about something before, consider it a good sign. Accept new suggestions. Always search for new ideas and innovation. Develop a broad looking perspective and keep your mind adaptable to various situations.
  • Learn to avoid Venture Capital (VC). Most successful businesses are never backed by venture capital. Most businesses can succeed without VC money. If VC money was so important you would not see most VC-backed startups fail. Getting VC investment doesn’t mean that you are a better entrepreneur or that you have a better business idea. VC money is putting extra time pressures on you and on your business. A company without VC money can grow slowly with smaller risk. VCs want quick returns.
  • Listen more than you talk. Learning happens while your ears are open and your mouth is shut.
  • Find your passion. It doesn’t come easy. It is really a skill you have to develop. Keep your mind open to what you are drawn to.
  • Have a real passion for helping your customers.
  • Failure is the cause for learning, not the cause for giving up. Build a business where you can fail small. Take smaller risks. Your business might grow slower, but that is OK. 
  • Treat yourself as an employee. You are accountable. You have tasks, goals, timelines, and expectations.
  • Use social media the same way you would interact with people in person. Avoid automation if you want to build meaningful connections with others.
  • Networking is multiplying your best efforts by 100. Everyone you meet or connect with should become part of your network. Make it easy for them to help you grow your business.
  • Competition is your friend. It helps you improve and it tells you that there is a market for your services. Learn from your competitors. Make an effort to learn how they do business. Don’t copy the competition. See what they do better than you and improve it.
  • Improve instead of trying to invent something revolutionary. Most super successful businesses have improved other products or services. PayPal didn’t invent credit card payment, but they very much improved it.
  • Run your business on integrity. Everyone says it, but a lot less actually live by it. If you are not proud of it, don’t do it.
  • Seek uncomfortable actions. Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow. Seek opportunities to challenge yourself.
  • Take time to show people you appreciate them. That goes for both internal and external. People will go the extra mile when you treat them with kindness.
  • Most mistakes or errors can be resolved, by “I apologize. What can I do to fix this?”
  • Networking is not about handing out business cards. It’s about being helpful even if it doesn’t immediately make you money.
  • Remember that every problem ends. Take it one step, one day at a time.
  • Sometimes even your best efforts will end up hurting you.
  • The path of least resistance is not necessarily the best path.
  • You can learn almost anything.
  • Timing is almost never perfect, so be ready for anything.

I know there are much more, please write yours in the comments below.

photo credit: wocintech (microsoft) – 213

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

12 thoughts on “22 Must Have Skills to Succeed in Business”

  1. Hi George,

    I relate to your article on so many levels and couldn’t agree more. On the surface business is easy but the reality is it’s the hardest thing you may ever do!

    I coach web designers and developers, graphic artists and social media companies after a successful ten year entrepreneurial run full of successes and a lot more failures.

    I teach my clients that you have to throw out your creative side and the fun of coding if you’re going to build a business. You have to learn to enjoy building a business over building a website or social media presence for someone. You have o learn the five facets that make any business go:

    1. Marketing
    2. Sales
    3. Production
    4. Customer Service
    5. Administration

    For each one there is a purpose, strategies, goals and objectives.

    It’s a hard transition from having a job to being a business owner and I really believe that’s why most fail.

    I couldn’t agree more that you’re going to make mistakes but people are very forgiving if you just acknowledge it and do whatever it takes to make it right. Mistakes and failures are what makes successful businesses. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a successful, wealthy person who said success made them more successful? It was always what they learned from mistakes, oversights and failures that ultimately made them successful.

    I fell in love with the idea of embrace and get to your failures as fast as possible.

    I really enjoyed the post George and there were several things that really struck me. Mainly integrity, honesty, apology and real passion!

    I hope you’re having a great week!

    ~ Don Purdum

    1. Marc, Thank you for your input, but I have to disagree with you a little bit. I think there are some failures where there are really no opportunities. I agree that failure is a fact of business, but not every failure will benefit you or provide you with an opportunity. For example, if you fail to learn from your mistakes, there are no opportunities there.
      I hope you you keep coming back to Success Harbor, and if I can help you in any way, please let me know.

  2. Goerge, the above are really nice list to learn to become a success. Sure, I love what you said. The most of successors are really open, they love to learn new idea and accepted those new opinions from other even sometimes it’s a crazy idea.

    Another important you mentioned is adventuring, I think that sometimes I afriad of adventure such as capital risky. I start my first and online business since 2009, but the more failure is lacking of adventure my money..

    Thanks for sharing..

      1. Actually, I just blogger and freelancer…! What I comment about is mentioned about blogging. I start blogging and MLM business since 2009, but I could success with those because I lacking of adventure…! I

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