Competencies of Entrepreneurs: Sales & Marketing + Financial Management?

Entrepreneurship is exciting. I often hear hospitality students telling me that they want to become restaurant owners upon graduations. Some restaurant concepts, such as mobile food trucks, are very popular and require relatively small amount of start-off investments. As a result, it may seem easy to start a restaurant business after college. However, I believe many professionals will agree with me that managing a small business is not as easy as it may look. This ABC News video provides a checklist for entrepreneurs so that they can frequently measure their success. This checklist suggests that entrepreneurs need to:
  • Focus on sales and profits
  • Continuously grow the client base
  • Keep track of all pitches and proposals
  • Stay on top of the expenditures
  • Manage cash flow (“cash is the king”)
I actually see two themes from this checklist --- Sales & Marketing plus Financial Management (Accounting). It makes sense because very few entrepreneurs hire many employees. They may face minimal “management challenges” created by human beings. Instead, they need to sustain and grow the business with “profits,” which equals to “sales – costs.” So, opening a small business is more about selling ideas, products, and service, establishing a brand and product recognition, controlling expenditures, and managing cash flow.

How useful is this checklist? How important are Sales & Marketing and Financial Management skills in managing small business? In addition to good knowledge in Sales & Marketing and Financial Management (Accounting), what other competencies seem important for entrepreneurs? If a person is not good in either Sales & Marketing or Financial Management, what can s/he do in order to open a new business on his/her own?

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