Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Leadership coaching

What is the number one skill required to build a successful SME?

If you had to choose a single skill or trait you consider essential to SME success what would it be? 

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15 Answers

Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang , Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

I would say the skill of enduring hardship. When everything looks bleak, the self resilience to just keep trudging on :D

Leo Eliades

Leo Eliades , Owner at INSPIRENOW PTY LTD

yes agree, wherever there is success there is always challenge in between
yes agree, wherever there is success there is always challenge in between
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Phil Joel

Phil Joel , Director at SavvySME

Hi Neil,

Assuming the individuals are already experts in their own fields then I would say Sales skills. A business can't grow if there aren't any sales or customers.

Regards,

PJ

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Phil Khor

Phil Khor , Founder at SavvySME

#1 trait will have to be grit i.e. passion and perseverance for long term goals. Anyone can learn and become an expert at anything but there are inevitably hurdles in business, many of which might even seem insurmountable at the time. And without the will of mind, we won't get far.

I wrote an article about this previously /article/445-do-you-have-the-will-to-succeed-do-you-have-grit-to-grow-your-business

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Roger Smith

It would have to be persistence.

I am a great believer in some of Rocky Balboa's sentiments - every time you get knocked down, you get back up and keep moving forward.   For an SME, you have to learn to roll with the punches, you are under constant pressure from every angle so you have to move forward.  

Think of better strategies, integrate new ideas, innovate and most important of all, market your products and service.  But always be persistant

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Jeffrey Joel

Jeffrey Joel , MD at Auspac Trading NSW PL

Persistence, without exception.

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Steve Osborne

Steve Osborne , director at Smarthinking

Neil – at risk of over-loading the answer, a coupla years ago I did some research amongst seminar attendees on this very subject. When asked to rate their importance for success, those surveyed ranked the following seven qualities most highly: perseverance, the desire and willingness to take the initiative, competitiveness, self-reliance, a strong need to achieve, self-confidence, and good physical health.

None of these are particularly surprising; you'd expect a person who was a successful entrepreneur to be self-reliant and self-confident. However, the top three in ascending order:

3. having great perseverance – sticking with it and not giving up;
2. taking personal initiative – pushing an idea forward; and
1. self-reliance - responding positively to all challenges and learning from mistakes.

The good news is that all three of these behaviours can be learned. You don't necessarily have to be born with them to ensure the success of your business.

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Chris Nobbs

Chris Nobbs , Director - Advisory Services at Dirigo Group

Hi Neil, I would suggest that Entrepreneurship is crucial (taking ownership of your business venture including risks and returns), without a level of entrepreneurship you may merely be buying yourself (or setting up) a job.

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Linda Reed-Enever

Neil I am not sure there is only one by motivation has to be a big Key to get you out of bed in the morning and to keep you going.

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John Goldsbrough

Passion!

From passion comes - commitment, perseverance, attitude, people skills = entrepreneurship

and who better to deliver the best sales pitch...

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Kelly Robinson

I would say that persistence is vital but networking yourself and your business would have to be very high on the list.

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Fleur Leong

I agree with the answers above.  It is also about having the self-belief, mindset, purpose and vision.  When the person has a big enough "WHY" he/she is in business, they will do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Leo Eliades

Leo Eliades , Owner at INSPIRENOW PTY LTD

love you reply Fleur!
love you reply Fleur!
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Brad Lyons

Brad Lyons , Consultant at SMS Fusion

Passion is the number one skill required to build a successful SME.

If you are passionate about your industry you will spend the time to research it. Improve it and promote it.

The difference between myself on the phone and a sales rep is I have no need to push a hard sell. The client can tell I am passionate about what I do and some of that passion is absorbed by them in the form of motivation.

Passion is what your larger competitors are lacking. Sure the CEO may have passion for what they do however it would be safe to say all the employees don't share that passion. Call Telstra customer service, do you feel the person you spoke to had passion for telecommunications?

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Ash McAuliffe

There are a lot of skills necessary to create and run a successful SME so picking the top one is hard, so when I look at the traits required, I think about which ones can't be outsourced or performed by people in your team.

The ability to sell is an absolute must, but you can hire great sales people (you need to sell the dream to them first though)

Skills like time management can be learned or delegated.

What can't be bought, borrowed, hired or delegated is the absolute conviction in the mission of the business and the value to the customers. This is the characteristic that gets you up after you've been knocked down, and what makes you think of other ways to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

My answer? Conviction.

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Leo Eliades

Love all the answers provided, I would say at the core it is self-belief, without this there is no inspiration to do anything at all. If you feel valuable, only then can you add value to other peoples lives no matter what business you are in..

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Iain Dooley

THE ABILITY TO SELL.

Hands down. Without exception. If you can sell it, the rest will follow.

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