What One Skill Do All Entrepreneurs Need in Order to Succeed?


Question: What is the #1 skill an entrepreneur must possess in order to succeed?


YEC ent



“Cash will run low, clients won’t close, team members will leave, the product will have bugs and the roof will fall on your head.  There will be times when you seriously consider quitting.  I’ve been there.  But perseverance and dumbfounded self-confidence pushed me forward.  Without perseverance, you’ll never reach success.”

Jun Loayza | President, Reputation Hacks


“First, an entrepreneur must have the vision, and then he or she must be able to communicate it.  The communication will be to their team and employees, to their customers and clients and even to outside sources like potential investors, sponsors and collaborators.”

Nathalie Lussier | Creator, The Website Checkup Tool


“Entrepreneurs, by definition, fail; it’s the ones who fail the least that are the most successful.  The ones that never give up and are fueled by defeat are the entrepreneurs that succeed the next time around.”

Logan Lenz | Founder / President, Endagon


“Entrepreneurs need to know how to sell.  Everything you do in your business revolves around selling and persuasion.  This ability is fundamental in order to sell your company to investors and new hires, sell your product to buyers, persuade your team to perform at a high level and sell yourself and your dreams to the media.  If you can’t sell, you will not succeed as an entrepreneur.”

Greg Rollett | CEO, The ProductPros


“Entrepreneurs wishing to succeed in life need to understand that their progress will be limited if they don’t learn to ask for what they want.  Whether it is mentorship, funding, an explanation or more, the answer is always ‘no’ unless you ask.  The sooner an entrepreneur understands this key lesson, the sooner they’ll experience all that the journey has to offer.”

Jeff Slobotski | Founder, Silicon Prairie News


“This answer comes from my own successes and struggles as well as those of other entrepreneurs I know.  Definitely the top skill is the ability to focus on the ‘right’ things.  Once we get the freedom that comes with being entrepreneurs, it’s way too easy to work on a bunch of different things, which leads to mediocre results on everything.  Focus on one thing and kick butt with it.

Trevor Mauch | CEO (Chief Entrepreneurial Officer), Automize, LLC


“The one skill an entrepreneur must possess is passion.  If you are truly passionate about what you do, everything else will come naturally.  You will persevere when times are rough in order to protect your business. You will never give up because you will know it is your calling.  And money won’t be the sole focus of your efforts, allowing for your authenticity to shine through.”

Steven Le Vine | CEO / President, grapevine pr


“I think the ability to hustle embodies a few qualities that are integral to surviving and succeeding as an entrepreneur.  To me, hustle is a special blend of motivation, persistence, passion and persuasive powers that serves entrepreneurs well as they navigate markets, investors, team building and the various challenges they face as they seek success.”

Derek Shanahan | Growth Marketing, Playerize


“As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be faced with problem after problem, and you’re going to need to be able to find creative solutions that keep you moving forward.  Without the ability to problem solve, you’ll be stuck from the get-go.”

Tim Jahn | Co-Founder, matchist


“Whether you’re looking to recruit a superstar new team member or starting to make a sale, the #1 skill you need as an entrepreneur is tenacity.  There will be so many times that people say ‘no’ or ‘maybe later,’ and you need the fire in your belly to stay persuasive, smart and tenacious.  If you have that quality, you will succeed at anything to which you put your mind and energy.”

Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.


“Entrepreneurs are literally creating something out of nothing.  In order to inspire, motivate and attract others to your vision, you need to be able to tell a compelling story.  Frame the context.  Set the stakes.  Make it meaningful.  Everyone from customers to employees to investors – they all want a story to believe in.”

Michael Margolis | President, Get Storied


“As an entrepreneur, it’s essential to be flexible in all aspects of your business.  If something isn’t working, you often need to change direction quickly or else your company might not last much longer.”

Heather Huhman | Founder / President, Come Recommended


“Ideation and strategy are important; however, they’re worthless without the ability to tactically execute them.  Execution is the most important skill that an entrepreneur can possess.  Not only will it impact your success rate, but iteration will eliminate fear and set you up for success.  Like most successful entrepreneurs I find that ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get.’”

Erica Nicole | Founder / CEO, YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self Employed


“Resilience!  You’re going to get knocked down often when building and running a startup. The ability to bounce back and do so quickly is important for any entrepreneur, and one that has been essential to my own success.”

Lauren Perkins | Founder / CEO, Perks Consulting


“The playing field is always changing and evolving.  Things will be possible tomorrow that are not possible today.  In order to innovate, entrepreneurs must possess open eyes, open ears, and most importantly, an open mind.”

David Gardner | Co-Founder, ColorJar

Reprinted by permission.


The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.  In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.


About the author: YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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