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4 superpowers that'll take you to the top

May 01, 2014 12:14 IST

4 superpowers that'll take you to the top


Murray Newlands, Courtesy

You don't need to be a superhero to ace these skills. Most of them can be mastered through regular practice.

Being an entrepreneur is a tricky task.

It isn't an eight-hour shift a day, but instead it's a mindset that you wake up with, and bring home when you leave the workplace.

An entrepreneur needs to be the jack of all trades, juggle multiple things at one time, and be different people in different places.

Other than that, they need to be strategic risk takers.

Today's business world changes at an incredibly fast pace, and business leaders have no choice but to adapt with change or be swept away in the dust.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone.

Being an entrepreneur can be an exasperating job because the problems don't stop when you leave your workplace.

In fact, entrepreneurs cannot leave the workplace given there is so much at stake.

There are a few qualities that successful entrepreneurs possess that are backed by science and research.

Find out if you have what it takes to be an achiever...

1. Planning

Effective planning is the gold standard for entrepreneurs.

This involves managing time well and strategising the best time for certain business moves.

Setting aside time every week just to plan is very beneficial for entrepreneurs and their businesses.

The planning, of course, would involve contingency plans if things don't work out.

Don't fret if planning and organisation aren't your strengths. Some planning is better than no planning at all.

Planning does not stop at drafting a business plan; it is a continuous process that must be maintained through life.

A business is like a child, you have to nurture every aspect of it, and develop good habits. But just like all children, there are always going to be bad habits, that must be stopped or corrected over time.

Eventually your baby will be able to function independently just like an adult. Before that, you have to have proper habits in order to improve.

Plans are like healthy diets -- everyone knows they should be eating right, but merely a few are really able to sustain the diet long enough to see results.

According to Dr Pychyl, a procrastination research expert, people feel a sense of accomplishment when they write a to-do list without even really having accomplished anything.

Although to-do-lists are the first thing many people do when planning to get things done, without a prioritised to-do list, it can impair your decision-making throughout that day.

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Image: The ability to adapt constantly and juggle multiple roles will help you emerge a winner.
Photographs: Bobby Yip/Reuters
Tags: Dr Pychyl


2. Communication and Persuasion

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Persuasion is a powerful tool that anyone can use.

It comes hand in hand with communication.

When you already have the skill of communication, which establishes the fact that you can be understood by anyone, entrepreneurs can step it up a notch by learning how to persuade.

Everyone stereotypes a good businessperson as a smooth talker.

Being able to talk well is what makes a businessperson successful.

Interestingly so, a study found that dealing effectively with objections can be more influential than standard methods of persuasion.

Naturally, as entrepreneurs all get rejected one way or another, insisting on their requests can go a long way.

The study involved insisting on a request in different manners: "Why not?" -- This method follows a decline with a simple question.

Door-in-the-face (DITF) model -- Now it's not as harsh as you might think, but it involved asking for an absurd request first that would most likely be declined flat out, and then following up with a smaller request that appeared generally reasonable.

Low-ball technique -- The exact reverse of the DITF model.

Placebo Information -- Giving out useless information with your request.

Out of all the techniques tested, the "Why not?" and the Placebo Information technique fared best out of all, followed by the DITF.

So the next time your request gets rejected, remember that you still have a shot at changing their minds. All it takes is a little nudge. 

Image: If you want to be successful, you must be able to persuade.
Photographs: Reuters

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3. The art of getting things done

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If you tend to procrastinate, then entrepreneurship is not for you.

An entrepreneur rarely has free time when launching a business and they can have an erratic schedule.

Someone who has the habit of procrastinating is likely to push projects for a later time.

Entrepreneurs, you must understand that money does not wait, and potential clients are not the most patient people you'll meet.

If your proposed business has a lot of competitors, you can be sure that your competitors will get ahead of you because of this habit.

Studies have shown that the more you procrastinate, the less willpower you will have for leftover tasks.

A study on willpower and procrastination found that there may be a limited supply of willpower that one person has to accomplish given tasks.

The more you push tasks down on your list of things to do that day or week, the more insipid you will be later in the day.

Researchers predicted this may be because that later on in the day, you get more tired and stressed.

It appears that, according to this study, willpower can get worn out in the same way that our muscles can wear out.

This also means that, like our muscles, we can train our willpower. It's just like going to gym.

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Image: Focus on delegating and prioritising your tasks.
Photographs: Reuters
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4. Self motivation and initiative

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Being your own boss, you will have nobody to tell you when to wake up in the morning or will pressure you to finish a deadline.

Successful people do so by themselves and enjoy it.

Self-motivated folk are inclined to enjoy challenges, and will try to beat their own accomplishments.

The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.

This will save you the heartache and depression of comparing yourself to others. Don't do that, you are not them.

Initiative comes from you.

Having initiative does not mean coming up with an ingenious plan that will surpass all others, it means that you know how to solve market needs.

Any nifty idea is pointless if there is no one you can sell it to.

A psychological study among Wesleyan graduates conducted 14 years after their graduation indicated that students who'd indicated a high need for achievement when they were in college were found in entrepreneurial occupations as opposed to those who'd indicated a low need for achievement.

An entrepreneur has to play multiple roles at the same time.

Their job description is changing constantly and considerably as different needs and challenges arise in the business.

The list of super powers that entrepreneurs need to have doesn't end here.

While entrepreneurship may be overwhelming at times, in the end (when done right) it could land you in a more comfortable wealthy lifestyle sometime down the road.

Image: Try to be a little better today than you were yesterday.
Photographs: Juan Medina/Reuters
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