Starting a sole proprietorship is a way to make a living doing something that you love, but becoming a business owner isn't for everyone. Starting a business is always risky because no specific set of skills and qualities guarantees success. However, entrepreneurs that achieve success tend to have certain essential skills and qualities in common.

Decision-Making Skills

A sole proprietor is responsible for making every decision about how a business operates, from the products it sells, to the workers it hires and how it spends revenue. The ability to make sound decisions that help a business fulfill its mission while maintaining profitability is a vital skill for entrepreneurs. It is also important for a business owner to be able to identify opportunities and threats through market research and analysis to make informed decisions.

Financial Skills

Businesses vary greatly in terms of their missions and business models, but at the end of the day, all companies need to make enough money to cover expenses to keep the doors open. In a small company, the owner may be responsible for everything from getting business loans to accounting and filing tax returns. Sole proprietors need strong financial skills to manage company finances and make decisions that are good for the bottom line.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to communicate clearly and work well with others is essential for entrepreneurs. Even sole proprietors running single-man operations have relationships with lenders, vendors and customers. The ability to talk to and understand the needs of other people is important to form the strong relationships necessary for a company to be successful. As a business grows and adds employees, leadership becomes an important part of a business owner's skill set.

Industry-Specific Skills

Having business, financial and social acumen is important to be a good business manager, but entrepreneurs also need to offer products and services that fulfill a need. Entrepreneurs often have experience and skills related to specific industries that they use to create products and services. Creativity, passion and deep knowledge of a particular industry are common ingredients to successful entrepreneurial ventures.