Many of us dream of being an entrepreneur but are worried about one thing – do we have the qualities that make a successful entrepreneur? Whether you want to be the next Richard Branson, Tony Fernandez or Mark Zuckerberg, you probably want to be your own boss, live by your own rules and take your ideas to the world.

Running a successful business in the 21st Century presents many challenges and even the best business idea faces problems and challenges in the early stages. So the entrepreneur needs to be tough, to stay focused and remain positive.

Easier said than done? Well, with NLP, it really is that easy.

NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, offers a wide range of tools and techniques that will help every entrepreneur to handle stress, cope in challenging times and set goals that will be achieved.

The basis of NLP is modeling excellence. NLP says that excellence has a structure, so if someone can excel at something, so can anyone else. They just need to know how. Therefore, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, one of the first things you should do is to find an excellent role model. Who is that person that you feel best represents the kind of successful entrepreneur that you wish to be?

Once you have identified that person, then find out what he or she did in order to succeed – from their education background, to their business philosophies and strategies, to their mindset and ambitions. Everything that you can find out and model will bring you one step closer to reaching your own goal.

If your beliefs are not liberating, they are limiting.

Next is that entrepreneurs must have empowering beliefs. If you have limiting beliefs, these may become your biggest stumbling blocks and prevent you from becoming the very best. NLP can help to get rid of your limiting beliefs which are holding you back. And after that, you would look at what are your inner driving forces that motivate you, and whether these values are aligned with your goals. Taking it further, you may even want to shift your values in order to help you achieve.

Staying focused is easy when things are going well, but when you reach a hurdle, it may not be as easy to remain positive and focused on the dream. For every successful entrepreneur, there are many more who have given up when times are tough. Remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do.

A simple NLP technique called anchoring provides you with the ability to put yourself into a positive state whenever you want to, such as energetic, empowered, confident, powerful, motivated and much more. Think how useful it would be to have a ‘switch’ that you can turn on, as and when you need it!

A key part of NLP is linguistics with the various techniques available to help the entrepreneur. Communication is an important part of business and using Meta Model questions, the entrepreneur is then able to discover the ‘truth’ behind what someone is saying. The Milton Model helps to loosen resistance and get agreement, and utilizing metaphors and reframing will help to change perspectives and diffuse tension.

In business negotiations, the entrepreneur would build rapport to put the other party at ease so that it would help break resistance, influence decisions and close important sales. People who are like each other, like each other. So the act of building rapport helps to solidify and strengthen relationships.

Reading body language and facial expressions would allow the entrepreneur to know whether the other person is saying what they mean. Whatever happens on the inside is reflected on the outside. Hence with the right skills, you will be able to ensure that you are getting the real meaning.

When we are asked whether entrepreneurs should learn NLP, our answer is simply – can you afford not to?