10 Entrepreneurial Skills Every Startup Founder Should Have
The only difference between a great business idea and a great startup business is making the decision to go for it. This can feel like you are standing on the edge of a tall diving board debating whether to take the plunge. If you are contemplating jumping in the water, knowing what entrepreneurial skills are essential for success will help determine if you are ready to embark on this new journey.
Why are entrepreneurial skills so important?
When you first transition from working for a larger organization to becoming a startup business owner, you experience a lot of exciting, new freedoms. What is also new is no longer having a full team of people with interdisciplinary skills to accomplish projects and reach goals.
Acquiring essential entrepreneurial skills will prepare you for the road ahead, especially in the beginning stages. When starting out, you truly are a jack or jill of all trades.
What are the essential entrepreneurial skills for success?
Every startup will experience some form of roadblock, rejection, mistakes, failure, and slow progress. These experiences do not determine the fate of your business, but how you react and deal with them can. The ability to persevere through harder times with resilience, optimism, and determination is arguably the most important skill to have as an entrepreneur, and it will ensure that you can keep your eye on growing your business no matter what scenario is thrown your way.
2. People Skills
It does not matter what type of business you will have or what industry or sector you will be in – well-developed people skills will always be critical for success.
Whether you are working with a team, corresponding with customers, or acquiring investors, knowing how to properly and effectively communicate and work with people will prove to be an essential part of running your business.
If you do not strongly love and believe in your startup’s product, service, or purpose, you will not have the same drive to reach success.
Passion is the only essential skill that cannot be taught, and it is a key ingredient that will not only help lead to success, but it will make your startup journey so much more enjoyable.
When we refer to passion, we are not saying you need to be head over heels with your business every minute of every day. In fact, there will probably be weeks where you feel deflated. What is important is that overall you have a huge desire to turn your once great idea into a viable business.
Learning how to communicate clearly, effectively, and creatively is what will set you apart as a brand or the next big investment opportunity.
As a startup, networking is a large part of growing a business and forming important connections, but if you do not know how to communicate what sets your brand apart from the competition and why there is a need for your product in the market, you will find it very difficult to win over new customers, investors, and potential new hires.
5. Time Management
This skill cannot be emphasized enough. Learning how to effectively manage your time will keep you working toward your goals and not becoming easily swallowed up by day-to-day operations.
Time management can be a tricky skill to master when it feels like you have a million things to do, but it will provide you with work-life balance which will lead to you being happier, more focused, and rejuvenated to give your best ideas and efforts toward your business.
Sales never end as an entrepreneur. You are constantly selling yourself and your business to everyone you meet whether it is a formal networking event, investor pitch, or you strike up a conversation with someone in public.
As a startup business owner, you are the first salesperson at your company, and you must acquire sales skills to initially get your business off the ground.
7. Ability to Learn
Entrepreneurs are constantly learning. You may have advanced technical expertise, but do you have any experience with marketing or accounting?
When you are first starting out, you will need to embrace the idea of lifelong learning and being open to trying your hand at many new skills to run your business.
Once you reach a certain level of success, you will be able to recruit team members with skill sets and expertise that will be an asset to your startup’s growth. Even once your company has added many team members, you will constantly run into new concepts and things to learn to lead your business in the right direction.
8. Teamwork and Leadership
The skill of working well in a team and leadership are typically referenced separately. However, with entrepreneurship, we feel these two skills are so closely linked that they should be placed together.
At a large corporation, there is a substantial division between team members (employees) and leadership (management). At a newly-formed startup business, teamwork exists daily between business owners and their employees as there are very few people to accomplish many goals.
Strong leadership skills are essential at any stage of growth but don’t forget that having strong teamwork in place will not only make you a better leader, but it will form a healthy work environment that will be most effective at achieving your goals.
9. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking skills are synonymous with entrepreneurial skills – they are required to develop business strategy, problem solve, rethink the effectiveness of projects, and look at situations from varying perspectives.
Critical thinking skills are also necessary for strategic planning and knowing when change should occur to improve your business.
10. Finance Management
When it comes down to it, if an entrepreneur has many great skills but does not have any in the department of finance management, the business will be in trouble.
How do you develop entrepreneurial skills?
After reading our list of essential skills, you may realize that there are a few that you may need to work on. Not to worry! It is rare that someone has all of the necessary skills when launching a business.
Here are 5 recommended ways to refine your entrepreneurial skills:
- Network with other entrepreneurs and industry professionals
Learn what your peers and industry professionals are doing. This can provide great insights!
- Find a startup mentor
A fantastic way to develop the skills you need is to connect with a startup mentor.
- Learn from a variety of sources
There are many books, articles, webinars, Ted Talks, and magazines that are rich in reliable and educational information. You may also consider registering for a course.
- Attend industry or skill-based events
Find out about upcoming conferences, seminars, or online events that can refine your knowledge and skills.
- Research the benefits of joining a startup incubator
Startup incubators are great organizations that help entrepreneurs develop a wide range of skills to help their businesses become successful.
How to use entrepreneurial skills to run your startup business?
When you begin running a business, you may have more advanced entrepreneurial skills than you think.
However, sometimes when you’re into the day-to-day operations of your startup, it can be easy for the essential skills to be forgotten.
Try to revisit this list of essential skills regularly and evaluate in which areas you are excelling and others where you could improve.
The key is to remember that no one is perfect, even seasoned entrepreneurs. The idea is to always practice these skills until they become natural in your daily routine.