Successful entrepreneurs are world-class builders or sellers, and the elites are both — look no further for examples than Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. Both can masterfully articulate their vision and persuade others to support it. Additionally, they are technically savvy and know how to build highly complex things.
As top-level entrepreneurs look to the new year, they’ll often talk about how they intend to learn a new skill in the coming year. It’s a common ritual. That’s because they know the value of having a wide array of tools in their toolbox that can allow them to better create, sell, and act on an idea without delay or having to rely on someone else to get the ball rolling. It’s important, especially in the current environment where burgeoning technologies like the metaverse, DAOs, and Web3 are knocking on all our doors, reminding us to either learn the game and add value to it or get left behind.
Aside from the opportunities that will emerge if you continue to improve your selling skills and make it a life’s pursuit to learn to build/create new things, there are consequences for not improving on these vital skills. I’ll highlight some of these risks below:
It shocks me how often founders successfully build a company from the ground up by rolling up their sleeves and becoming a jack of all trades, only to remove themselves from the sales and building processes once success has been attained. Perhaps they think it’s just good delegating. Or maybe they want to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Whatever the case, it’s a mistake. Further, it’s a mistake not to continually improve upon these skills.
Creating and selling is where the magic happens for entrepreneurs, which will never change. But how you sell and what you build should always evolve — hence the continual learning process of these two skills.
Improve your selling skills by working on your writing skills. Not only will improving your writing help when evaluating ad copy, social content, scripts, and marketing campaigns, but writing on a routine basis trains your mind to clearly and concisely articulate points. Good writers are often strong persuaders and can hold the audience’s attention very well, and for long periods.
The good thing is, creating/building skills come from observation, and all can be learned if there is the passion to learn. Whatever industry you are in, I can almost guarantee it is evolving quickly, and applications are changing along with consumer preferences. If you haven’t taken the time to evaluate your business in relation to how it stacks up against, say, your top five competitors, you may want to start there. See what they’re doing differently (particularly the market leader), and have an honest look at your business in comparison. You don’t want to copy another company, but you need to know where you’re falling behind and why you’re losing market share. Your larger competitor likely created an offering that you don’t have, so now it’s time to see how you can offer something of value they don’t…
Maybe it’s as simple as incorporating software into your after-sale customer experience… the point is, get into creator/builder mode and fill your pipeline of ideas. Another simple builder skill to learn relates to content, and creating novel and authentic forms of it. For example, if you don’t know how to make videos for customer consumption, start there. Learn to make slick videos to enhance your D2C. Make videos that not only explain your offerings but tell your company’s story. Remember, your company has a personality that needs to be shared. Videos are great for that.
What worked yesterday won’t always work tomorrow. Marketing strategies and user experiences must regularly change. Preferences and tastes among your customer base evolve – so creating a pipeline of new offerings is vital. That’s why the pursuit of improving your building and selling skills must be a lifelong one.