What skills do I need to launch a startup?
During my time at Peaple Talent I have had the unique opportunity to interview some exceptional Founders of startups in our region through our TekCurious Founders Series podcasts. Therefore I thought it would be appropriate to put together a few words on the skills I believe are required to launch a startup
First and foremost, it is without a doubt not for the faint-hearted. If you take failure personally than it probably is not a good idea to read on. After all, 20% of small business fail in the first year and only 50% will get beyond their 5th year!
Ok, let’s set the scene. When I use the word “skills” I think it is worth explaining I mean it very much in the broader context than just proficiency and competence. I would suggest it encapsulates characteristics and attributes that can be developed.
Skills are always something you can develop from the moment you are born to the moment you retire so always be aware you can nurture certain characteristics.
So here goes:
1. Do you have a creative and curious mind?
It has often been said that individuals with an entrepreneurial flair are “dreamers” by nature and according to the Harvard Business Review “Curiosity is as important as intelligence and can be developed.” So are those who have started up businesses the smartest individuals on the planet? – I’m guessing they would be ok if I said: “probably not”. However, what they have, which a lot of us don’t, is the ability to extrinsically link curiosity with the needs of a customer.
They have identified the problems their customers have had or are having. They know how their customers feel and would know what they would want to change about their product.
Curiosity and creativity go hand in hand so its safe to say you need to have the ability to find a solution before a problem has even transpired.
2. Do you have the ability to communicate effectively?
It’s a simple fact that you can’t be successful without this and a breakdown in communication can be the sole reason for any start up to fail. I was really impressed to hear from the founders I have spoken to around how they are not precious about seeking advise, opinion and constructive criticism from other founders.
How many plans don’t go according to plan? But what do you do if it doesn’t go to the way you expect? You need to be resilient. It means adapting to adversity and brushing yourself off and going again!
But is it easy to build resilience? It’s all about staying calm, and I would suggest remaining focused when an unexpected challenge rears its ugly head. What many consider a negative event, others consider a sign for future growth.
4. Present the Vision
Here sits the energy part in my opinion. You’ve defined the vision but it’s the ability to sell it that counts. If you are unable to share the vision it has an ability to go nowhere fast. A clear and effective presentation is the way forward here, but as we circle back to communication. It is so important to listen to constructive criticism to tweak it slightly if required.
5. Cash Flow Management
Boring? Obvious? Maybe. But it is important to highlight poor cash flow management. Apart from the “lack of market need”, this is one of the top reasons why start-ups are not successful. They simply run out of cash. If you struggle reconciling accounts and fall behind on payments it’s going to be a short-lived journey. “Cash is King” consistent invoice schedules and invoice on time. Bill scheduling allows you the opportunity to create consistency and financial security which is essence leads to business success.
So, there it is!
Clearly, there are likely to be many, many more and I would really like to hear your opinions. Feel free to comment. But in my humble opinion, it is all about self-belief.
“No matter how bad things can seem at times, you have to believe in yourself. If you don’t, why should your customers and staff believe in you either!”
Good luck, now go and chase those dreams!
Written by Chad Edgecombe | 07701 015052