Maybe you have a great idea for a product or service and are thinking about creating a startup company. But as you know, successful businesses need more than just great ideas. They need enough capital to keep things going until the company becomes profitable, and they need leaders with a strong startup skillset.
If you want to launch your own venture, or create a startup environment at an existing business, review these five essential skills – you’ll probably recognize them in the successful entrepreneurs you know and follow.
1. Public Speaking
Not everyone is lucky enough to be charismatic – the type of person to whom others are naturally drawn and who commands an audience right from the start. But all startup leaders eventually need to speak in public – and you’ll need to do it with confidence. If you don’t easily engage others in conversation or dread the thought of speaking to a group, take the time to work on this skill. Try joining networking groups or public speaking organizations where you’ll have the opportunity to learn from others and practice your skills. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become.
2. Fail-fast Mindset
Taking risks and embracing failure is part of the startup culture. That’s why a mindset geared toward failing fast and iterating for improvement can be an advantage. Create an environment where agility is embraced, and where the process of gathering feedback, learning and improving helps the team rebound quickly from a setback.
3. Organization and Systemization
Most great businesses run on systems. Knowing how to create a system that runs itself is a skill that will help your company adjust to changing conditions as needed, respond to opportunities and grow. For each process required to keep things running smoothly, you must first identify the objectives. Then figure out the customer and supplier requirements, create start and end activities, and most importantly – identify a process owner, the person responsible to seeing it through. Get input from key people, and fine-tune each process as you move forward.
4. Using Data
Modern businesses run on data. Leaders need to know what data are most important and understand how they fit into the overall strategy and operations. Data will tell whether your product or service is in demand by your target market, and if you can build a sustainable business around it. Many data-driven entrepreneurs rely on developing a minimum viable product, so they can build and deliver the product, measure feedback and learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
5. Hiring the Right People
As a startup’s founder, you are key to its success – but you can’t create a viable business on your own. You’ll need the right balance of talented people to take it past the launch phase and into growth and profitability. Your key people should have these complementary skills and traits:
- Leadership – Every startup needs a clear leader others look up to and follow.
- Expertise – Find a person who is extremely knowledgeable about issues important to the company, whether it’s technology, science, economics, regulations, politics or something else.
- Industry experience – It always helps to have someone on board who knows your industry thoroughly and has studied how others have succeeded or failed.
- Sales ability – This important role is often overlooked, but no company can survive without sales.
- Financial knowledge – Startups need talented financial people to oversee the books, bank accounts, investor relations and cash flow.
When you’re ready to hire additional personnel for your startup, look for these crucial skills. And, keep in mind that some individuals will have more than one.
Creating Your Dream Startup
When it comes to creating a startup, preparation is just as important as the product or service. You’ll be more successful if you develop these five startup skills before writing your business plan. Start now, so you’ll be ready to launch when the time is right.