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Startups

The top 5 skills you need to be a highly effective startup founder

startup founder Joan Nalubega
Assisted Payment Solutions - Africell Airtime

By Abdo Riani

Business experience certainly makes a difference.

In fact, research shows that, on average, older and more experienced founders outperform younger entrepreneurs.

While wise and experienced founders may have an edge, they’re not always on top.

Many young and inexperienced entrepreneurs are also able to build successful businesses.

Besides experience, what else predicts the success or failure of a startup founder? Here are the five key skills you need to be a highly effective startup founder.

1. Perseverance

On top of the list is your ability to last. Business success is the sum of small wins over a long period of time. The bad news is, the small wins will always seem insignificant.

Seeking overnight success no matter how success is defined will most likely lead to failure because there will always be other opportunities that seem easier to get better and quicker results.

True entrepreneurs are in it to make a change. Perseverance is the most important part of this journey.

2. Openness

In order to persevere and persist, you must be open to change.

Many entrepreneurs are hesitant to change ideas, goals, execution plan and management style especially after spending months studying and planning the next stages.

The plan will change and so will the direction and goals, in fact, sometimes even dreams change.

Openness for change is easier said than done but the key to the long-term success of the entrepreneur and the business. Plans are created based on historical data and experience.

They can’t accurately predict the future. They’re created to be changed.

Therefore, spend less time planning and more time doing and stay open to change direction quickly.

3. Risk-Taking

While research and planning can help you make wiser business decisions, no matter how much time you take to evaluate your options, at the end of the day, you will be taking an unknown step that will either lead to the desired outcome or teach you a lesson.

The truth is, in the worst-case scenario, never will there be a business decision that leads to instant failure.

If you’re open to change and willing to persevere, you will be rewarded for taking the risk even if things don’t work out over the short run.

4. Communication And Sales

When I started my first venture, I spent hours thinking of ways I could avoid any sort of interaction with the world.

Long story short, I can tell you with absolute certainty, it is impossible to start or run a business without pushing your limits to improve your communication and sales skills.

At the end of the day, business success is dependent on its satisfaction of user needs. Taking every opportunity to talk to customers and other key stakeholders is integral to the success of the venture.

None of this happens without good communication and sales skills.

To improve those skills, I found the best way to start is by taking every opportunity to share your business journey with strangers.

This approach will also lead to new friendships, partnerships and sales opportunities.

5. Focus

Entrepreneurs are consistently challenged with focus. There is always something new to try, new trends, tactics, strategies and partnership opportunities on the table.

The first and most important rule of focus is that given our limited resources and attention span, focusing on many projects will most definitely lead to accomplishing mediocre results on many of them but not doing exceptionally well on the important one.

Entrepreneurs must identify business aspects whereby their efforts contribute directly to adding tangible value to the customer while letting go of things that aren’t going to significantly move the needle.

As a rule of thumb, focus on the things you can control and double down on the things that work.

If you want to be successful in business, master those 5 skills and don’t forget the importance of time management, delegation, leadership and listening.

Source: Forbes

(The featured image is for Joan Nalubega, the founder of Uganics, which in 2018 got funding from Anzisha Prize) [Image credit: Anzisha]

Related:

In most cases, failure is the gateway to success

Why passion isn’t the secret ingredient for startup success

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