When you hear “business skills,” you may think of data analysis or market knowledge. However, soft skills in business are just as important for success.

“Soft skills” cover all the abilities you can’t put into numbers or translate into a nicely framed certificate. They include out-of-the-box thinking, active listening, and strong leadership that unites a group with a common purpose. So, which business soft skills should you prioritize, and how can they help you as an entrepreneur?

Top Soft Skills You Should Learn in Starting a Business

You may believe that traits like creativity or integrity are innate: either you have them or you don’t. However, while some people are inherently more assertive, communicative, or flexible than others, you can also improve your soft skills.

business people working in creative agency

Just as you build muscle mass with regular training, you can hone your decision-making and communication abilities with constant practice. The following soft skills in business are a good place to start.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is the core of a successful business. Your professional interpersonal skills may decide whether you get your team behind you, settle an argument without a blow-up, or land an important client. You should invest in written and in-person communication skills.

Leadership Qualities

Leadership soft skills involve much more than putting “Founder and CEO” on your business card. Efficient leadership combines various skills and personality traits, like initiative, self-drive, accountability, and resilience. A good leader will also know how to motivate people and delegate tasks to other team members.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence in business will help you see situations beyond cut-and-dry numbers. An emotionally intelligent entrepreneur will find it easier to navigate team dynamics, give and receive feedback, and inspire others to work harder.

Adaptability in Business

You can lay out a fantastic business plan, but what do you do when it doesn’t work? Adaptability means you’re ready to make a U-turn and re-think your brand image, hiring decision, or marketing approach.

Effective Time Management

Time is a precious resource, and managing it effectively is critical. Time management skills span everything from hitting deadlines and punctuality at work to setting reasonable productivity goals for your team.


Creativity is a cocktail of curiosity, unconventional thinking, and a willingness to try new things. A creative approach will help you tackle an ongoing project from a different angle, develop new products, and build a brand image that sets you apart from competitors.

Problem-Solving Skills

Difficulties will crop up in every business, often unexpectedly. Dealing with obstacles requires a positive outlook that is ready to acknowledge and handle a challenge. Some of the most inspiring business success stories were born from adversity, like Steve Jobs turning Apple from a failing venture into a market leader.


How Can Effective Communication Skills Benefit Business?

Your typical workday likely involves constant communication with partners, colleagues, clients, and service providers. Workplace interpersonal competencies will help you build useful relationships, convey your goals, drive projects, and settle conflicting opinions.

Verbal Communication

A lot of your business communication will be verbal, whether in person, on the phone, or via Zoom. You’ll need to adapt yourself to your audience and the situation. For example, it’s important to choose the right tone when talking to your team versus a meeting with potential clients or investors. A speech in front of hundreds of people will flow differently from an exchange around a conference table.

When meeting people face to face in a business context, you should pay attention not only to what you say but also to how you say it (i.e., tone of voice and body language). The same message can sound formal and confident or friendly and laid-back, depending on how you deliver it.

Written Communication

As an entrepreneur, you’ll also use written communication channels like email, Slack, and social media. Here, choosing the right words becomes critical since written lines don’t show your inflection or body language.

Professional written communication should be accurate, concise, clear, and correct. You should include all the important details and choose the right tone. For instance, language that fits a casual email to your team might be inappropriate in a business plan you pitch to investors. Effective written communication will help you make the right impression.

Listening Skills

Communication is a two-way street. Your team members and clients are more likely to listen to you when they know you also give due weight to their ideas and opinions.

Active listening involves empathy, awareness, and sensitivity. Asking the right question at the right moment and paying attention to nonverbal cues will help you understand what the person in front of you is thinking.

What Leadership Qualities Are Essential for Entrepreneurial Success?

Good leadership is the catalyst for every business’s success. Exceptional leaders seem to have a magic quality that kicks in whenever the team needs inspiration, motivation, or guidance.

Even if you never thought of yourself as a leader, looking into what makes up quality leadership and polishing these skills is possible.

Inspiration and Motivation

A true leader will inspire others to do better and achieve more. However, to do that, you need to be a highly driven, motivated person yourself. A leader typically works harder than anyone else on the team. They’ll show optimism and enthusiasm even in complex situations when the outcome may be uncertain and there may not be a “right” answer.

Excellent leaders will also acknowledge and celebrate other team members’ contributions. They’ll applaud the hard work everyone does and give well-deserved spotlight to people’s achievements.

Decision Making

Some business decisions are easy and obvious. Others are tough and involve a lot of uncertainty. Nevertheless, a good leader is always ready to grab the steering wheel, direct a project, and take responsibility for the outcome.

This doesn’t mean that people who hesitate and struggle with making decisions can’t be good leaders. You simply need a solid framework for making decisions. Such a framework can give you more confidence when facing a complex situation. One popular method is what’s known as the decision tree, a flow chart that helps you analyze possible outcomes and choose your course of action. Another tool that can help you is one called Balance Score Card. BSCs, are essentially just a system for both business planning and management.


Leadership shouldn’t involve trying to do everything on your own. On the contrary, a successful leader will empower others by delegating responsibilities to them. Knowing when to outsource tasks is important so you can focus on your core mission.


How Does Emotional Intelligence Contribute to Business?

Business isn’t just about number crunching and market segmentation; it’s about people. Emotions, communication, and relationships will play a major role in your venture, from your customer’s buyer journey to how your team members interact. A high level of emotional intelligence will give you a leg up over other entrepreneurs.


Self-awareness is an important part of your EQ. When you’re self-aware, you understand your strengths and weaknesses better and know where to improve. It helps you manage your reactions and make smarter decisions.


Together with being task-oriented, successful entrepreneurs are highly attuned to others’ needs. This will help you understand when a team member could use motivation, what drives your clients, and how to resolve conflicts in your team.

Managing Emotions

A business can be a rollercoaster, and it’s natural to feel angry, frustrated, or disappointed at times. However, a successful entrepreneur will stay in control of their emotions and won’t let impulses drive important decisions.

What Role Does Adaptability Play in Entrepreneurial Challenges?

Adaptability gives you a better capacity to adjust, respond to, and thrive in the face of changes. Entrepreneurs who know how to adapt to market dynamics will always have an advantage over leaders who can’t let go of outdated concepts.


Flexibility, a big component of adaptability, involves negotiation and compromise. A flexible person will handle unexpected situations and conflicts more smoothly and find it easier to take on various roles in a team.

Problem Solving

An adaptable person will also know how to identify, approach, and resolve problems effectively. An adaptable mindset makes it easier to analyze a situation correctly, especially when it doesn’t fit existing concepts and calls for a non-standard solution.


When asked about the secret of their success, many well-known businesspeople state that they “refused to give up.” Part of adaptability is bouncing back from failures and trying another solution when one doesn’t work.


How Can Mastering Time Management Skills Improve Business Efficiency?

There are only so many hours in the day, and you need good time management skills to make the most of them. Whether you’re preparing to launch your business or running a successful company, using your work hours wisely will help you accomplish more in less time. You’ll also reduce stress and free up more time for your personal life.


We tend to waste an astounding amount of time on unnecessary things or chores that we could delegate to others. A well-known model called the Eisenhower Matrix will help you mark tasks as urgent, important, both, or neither.

Goal Setting

You focus better and work faster when you know what you’re supposed to do. Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and you’ll soon start crossing items off your list.

Procrastination Avoidance

Sometimes, we start with a high drive to work on an important task but fritter the day away on distractions. Recognize your time wasters and eliminate them: Put away your phone, disable social media notifications, and resist the urge to check your email every 15 minutes.


What Roles Do Creativity and Innovation Play in Business Growth?

Creativity and innovation can help you spot opportunities, identify a void you may fill, or improve a product to gain an edge over competitors. Creative people are ready to question assumptions and explore new perspectives. They’re also prepared to take calculated risks to try a fresh business idea.

Out-of-the-Box Thinking

Many successful business ventures were born by challenging the status quo. For example, before Airbnb revolutionized the tourism landscape, hotels and motels were pretty much the only option for travelers. Being a trailblazer can help you reframe concepts and tap into new market niches.

Problem-Solving Strategies

Creative thinking can help you observe a problem from a different angle. Innovators are likelier to say, “We always do X, so why don’t we try Y?” or reframe a problem as an opportunity.

Idea Generation

Some people are always bursting with creativity, while others are more conservative thinkers. Nevertheless, you can help yourself come up with fresh ideas using techniques like brainstorming, mind mapping, and storyboarding.

Why Is Problem Solving Considered a Crucial Soft Skill for Business Owners?

Problem-solving skills tie in with many qualities of a successful entrepreneur, like creativity, adaptability, and time management. Knowing how to approach problems is one of the most important soft skills in business. You likely tackle dozens of issues throughout your day, from a broken coffeemaker to a client who suddenly backed out of a major deal.


Problem Identification

To solve a problem, you need to spot it first. For example, if you just keep hiring new people without identifying that your company has a high turnover rate, the issue won’t resolve itself.

Root Cause Analysis

You need analytical skills, self-awareness, and often a healthy dose of humility to understand why your current methods don’t work. Going on with the high turnover example, it can be hard to admit, “Our onboarding process doesn’t include enough mentorship for new employees.”

Solution Implementation

Once you know why you’re struggling, it’s easier to come up with a solution. A good problem solver will deliver a step-by-step plan of action that involves the right people and considers available resources and budgets.

Final Thoughts

Soft skills in business, like leadership, adaptability, and communication, give you an intangible but highly useful toolbox. These skills can transform everything you do as an entrepreneur, from deciding how to market a new product to handling different opinions within your team. Self-reflection and business coaching can help you take your soft skills to the next level. Bringing yourself to the next level in business can be a challenge, but with perseverance and determination, anyone can do it. Good luck!

Rodney Warner

Founder & CEO

As the Founder and CEO, he is the driving force behind the company’s vision, spearheading all sales and overseeing the marketing direction. His role encompasses generating big ideas, managing key accounts, and leading a dedicated team. His journey from a small town in Upstate New York to establishing a successful 7-figure marketing agency exemplifies his commitment to growth and excellence.

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