Startup Founder Skills

Perhaps the best thing in life is to realize your full potential. And if you are a startup founder then there are skills that will definitely pay you if you have them.

Having these must have skills would mean your worth will increase and you can do many things with less hustle and hence more business.

As they say the founder of a successful startup would have likely gone through all the roles in the company. This simply elaborates the need for a startup founder to broadly understand the functions or departments in her or his organization. But today we will focus on the key ones that can positively reflect on the balance sheet.

Being a Startup Founder is probably not for everyone as there are skills that you definitely need to possess in order to become one. Startup Founders skills are a must have for a successful startup.

Think of it this way – any successful business you can think of was once a startup where they were at one point bootstrapping, raising capital or a one man business. It is probably due to good startup founder skills that you see them where they are today.

Must Have Skills for a Startup Founder

Below are the startup founder skills needed for one to run a successful startup. I personally call them startup skills kit and if mastered well they will pay you heavily as a startup founder. Let’s jump to the list!

1. Hiring and firing

At some point you will need to grow and for this to happen you will find yourself hiring new people to join you. You need to know how to select a good candidate balancing skills requirements, character and future benefits to the organization.

The most critical part of hiring and firing is that of a co-founder. At some point you might find yourself with the undoubted need to hire a co-founder. Perhaps one of the most difficult part of growing a startup.

Basically a co-founder has to be someone with whom you share the same vision. You need to know which skills you lack, which tasks you hate doing and what you are good at. From this identify a skills set for a cofounder and scout for one. Understand what to give in terms of equity and salary and benefits as this will attract good talent.

Firing a cofounder is again a skill you might need to understand more as it is critical to your startup.

It is true that you might hire a wrong person and firing this person early (when proven that the person brings no value to the organization) might reduce damage to your organization. And for this you need the rightful skill to do so in both a human and most effective way for your organization.

2. Ability to communicate company vision effectively

A founder should be able to explicitly communicate the company’s vision to both the staff and prospective customers.

The staff should have a shared vision with the founder and be able to share the same to prospective customers. But this can only happen if the founder has equally done or overdone the same to the staff.

For customers to believe in you and your company you should have explained to them your company vision and why you exist.

Another angle of being able to speak and write well. As we all know two of the major ways of communication are speaking or writing. Therefore mastering these two will half the job done.

3. Selling and negotiating

In business or any life area where there is competition everything is about selling. Either you are selling a product or you are selling yourself. Just to think of it even an interview is about selling yourself hence mastering the art of selling is a must have skill for a startup founder.

Furthermore, just because you are running a startup might mean less staff in the early days. Thus, you will probably do or cover many roles during these earlier days. And sales is a key part of this as it is the backbone of company revenue.

As they say:

In a startup everyone should sell.

Negotiation skill goes hand in hand with selling skills. For you to reduce costs during your startup days you need to know how to negotiate when making deals. Strong persuasion skills are required in deal making especially when selling a product or service.

4. Ability to listen and learn from almost anyone

As a startup founder chances are that you are doing things differently or at least far from the norm. Hence a lot to learn and unlearn. You will find yourself with the need to learn a lot of things.

The fact that you probably don’t have much capital means you makes you limited on making too many mistakes. This only leaves quick and efficient learning as the only option. You need to learn from every step taken and not taken. Learn from your own process, others’ processes and from your own team. And this is an everyday meal.

5. Knowing when to walk away

Not everything will work to your advantage and that is life. The earlier you realize that you are hitting a brick wall the better because you will not waste time with things that will not move. Perhaps this rhymes with the coined phrase of failing fast and failing forward.

6. Making decisions based on facts and not emotions

Key decisions will need to be made in your startup journey. And for this to happen you need to separate emotions from your decisions making process and use facts instead of emotions.

This might mean delayed decision making but in the right direction than quick and bad decision.

7. Proper time management

As a start up founder you will be racing against time. So much things will need to be done within a limited time frame.

You probably need to be very efficient on every task you do. You need to know when to delegate some tasks. As the key person of the company you need to work on things that only require you and the rest you delegate to the best person who can do the tasks respectively.

Sometimes outsourcing can help you with quicker delivery of project at a reasonable cost especially when starting.

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