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Ronn Torossian : Must-Have Skills for Entrepreneurs in 2024

Ronn Torossian is Chairman & Founder of 5WPR.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what got you into entrepreneurship?

I was attracted to a career in PR upon realizing it was a mix of my interests--psychology, law and journalism. My career began working at another agency, but I knew I wanted a business of my own and that to find the type of agency I wanted to work for, I would have to create it myself. I have always had a natural sense of business and an entrepreneurial side, so in 2003 I founded 5W Public Relations. I now serve as Founder & Chairman of 5WPR, a top independent agency of more than 300 professionals and hundreds of clients spanning consumer industries, B2B businesses, technology startups, and has spun out a dedicated digital practice, The HOW Agency.

What are the top three skills you think are crucial for entrepreneurs today?

Resilience is among the top skills crucial for an entrepreneur today. Entrepreneurship is inherently challenging, and setbacks and failures are inevitable. Being resilient allows an entrepreneur to push through challenges and overcome obstacles. Another key skill is adaptability. The business landscape is ever-changing and not something an entrepreneur can control. Adapting to new situations, technologies, and market trends while being open to change is essential. The third skill I consider most crucial for a modern entrepreneur to possess is effective communication skills. Professionals will rely on communications skills to build relationships with customers, investors, employees, and more. This skill is needed to articulate the vision behind your brand, and includes both verbal and written skills, as well as the ability to actively listen and receive feedback to implement.

How do you think the role of technology has impacted these skills in recent years?

Technology has significantly impacted the development and application of skills in recent years, while also complicating some at the same time. Technology has provided entrepreneurs with tools that support their ability to be resilient, allowing them opportunities for innovation to overcomes challenges and grow personal skill sets, but technology has also introduced new challenges and threats that can make the entrepreneurial journey more difficult. New technologies, while often making business practices easier, are among the top disruptors that change the landscape of business. Entrepreneurs now have to understand how these technologies impact their business plans, good or bad. Finally, technology has completely revolutionized communications, we are more connected than ever before even across geographic boundaries. This connectivity can also make it more difficult to make genuine connections which is important when you and hundreds of others are hoping to get their businesses off the ground.

Could you share a story with us about how you used some of these skills to overcome a challenge in your journey?

I have faced many challenges building my business, some that I could have avoided by making different decisions, and others that were out of my control. But the reality is, while these skill sets help during the major moments, they are skills you need to possess to make it through the day to day of owning a business.

In your opinion, how important is it for entrepreneurs to adapt to changing trends and what do you see as the biggest trend in 2024?

To stay competitive across the business landscape, it’s incredibly important for entrepreneurs to adapt to changing trends. Failing to adapt can lead to missed opportunities and business failures. In the past few years, we’ve seen a focus on Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices. There is a growing emphasis on sustainability and corporate social responsibility among consumers and investors. Even if it’s more challenging, businesses are expected to adopt and prioritize practices that meet these expectations.

What's one common mistake you often see new entrepreneurs make, and how can they avoid it?

One mistake I see new entrepreneurs make is jumping on an opportunity because they think it’s the right one in the moment, without considering any long-term implications. My biggest tip for aspiring entrepreneurs is to find a mentor at the beginning of your business journey, someone who has been in your position and can help you see how each decision works towards the long-term success of your business.

How do you keep learning and growing as an entrepreneur?

As an entrepreneur, every day is an opportunity for growth and learning because every day brings a new challenge. I start each morning by catching up on the news, at a global level as well as industry-wide. I also prioritize reading books and memoirs released by other successful business leaders as an opportunity to learn from their missteps and successes.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone just starting their entrepreneurial journey in 2024?

No one is going to build your business for you, it is on you to put in the work to build your business and advocate for yourself.


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