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The Most Transferrable Skills for Entrepreneurs? Competencies

If you’ve worked in the corporate world for more than a few years, you’ve likely developed a pretty thorough skill set. Whether it’s technology, engineering or management, OR a mix off these and more, the specific skills you’ve mastered will help you succeed as an entrepreneur right? Perhaps. But it’s more than skill: it’s the competencies that have built through honing those skills and performing your job that are the most valuable. Competencies are the most transferrable aspect for entrepreneurs and are invaluable tools for future success in any field.

Skills Versus Competencies

Skills can be learned, even purchased. If you lack the accounting knowledge to run your business, you can always hire an accountant with the right skills to do the job. In this way, skills never need to be limiting factors for entrepreneurial success. Unless of course, the business is a specialized trade that requires skill to get the job done properly like engineering, medicine or construction.

Competencies on the other hand, are inherent behaviors that develop over time. Technological “skill” is a great tool, but because the pace of technology is changing almost daily, the actual skill isn’t the transferrable value anymore, it’s the ability to learn, change and adapt. For entrepreneurs especially, while skill may be necessary, it’s the transferrable competencies that are the most meaningful. So what are some of the most transferrable competencies for folks looking to move from the corporate world to the entrepreneur world?


Perhaps the most valuable transferrable “skills” today are leadership, leadership behaviors and all of the competencies that go along with it. There are levels to successful leadership, and all great leaders do need actual skills. Conducting performance appraisals and defining strategy are specific skills that leaders must have to be effective. However, it’s knowing how and when to take calculated risks, being decisive and focused, using good judgment and having a clear vision going forward that are transferrable competencies. These key competencies are present in some of the world’s most successful leaders and highly valuable behaviors for entrepreneurs.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence may be a buzzword, but it’s an important to carry through to the entrepreneurial world. What does it mean to be emotionally intelligent? In the workplace, if you go through a situation and it goes poorly, emotional intelligence is having the ability to learn from your mistakes to improve and either avoid or do differently the next time the situation arises. It’s the ability to listen, be observant, recognize strengths and weaknesses and admit when you need help. It’s knowing how to respond effectively and appropriately to various situations and challenges.

Skills will always be an important part of any successful business. Even with the rapid pace of technology and the world changing around us, skills will continue to comprise a fundamental part of every successful industry. But moving from the corporate world to a new venture may not require the same skill set and it’s the transferrable competencies that will deliver the most value going forward.

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