What skills should every startup founder have?

The most important skill for a founder is undoubtedly business acumen.

Published: 17th October 2019 06:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th October 2019 06:42 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The most important skill for a founder is undoubtedly business acumen. An entrepreneur, by definition, is a general manager, one who has to manage all crucial activities of the business. I would, therefore, point out microeconomics as a critical area of learning.

Equally, a founder is a leader who needs an eye for talent. Whether it is finding appropriate co-founders or building the next line of the leadership team, a founder needs to identify and empower capable people to be energy multipliers. Founders are driven by vision, so they need to have a strong view of the future; at the same time, the action is now. Therefore, the ability, nay, the comfort to straddle the strategic with the tactical is invaluable for a founder.

Today, all businesses are technology businesses. A deep appreciation of technology and its (likely) impact on business and operating models is necessary. This is, in particular, relevant for experienced founders who come in from their business domains.  Finally, entrepreneurship is a long, lonely haul, with possibly more failures than successes. Self-doubt is a constant state of being for founders. Resilience, and to some extent, equanimity, would be a powerful companion on such journeys.– Srinivasa Addepalli, co-founder, GlobalGyan Academy

It is not just an experience that is needed as a skill but a lot of other critical skills are needed for effective business by founders. Most of the things will not go according to your plan and there would be more unpleasant surprises along the way than you could think of.  A founder must be extremely resilient and move through the tough times keeping a strong eye on the product, vision, business, and team. Focus needs to be practised on an everyday basis.

You have to deal with 50 things every minute of your entrepreneurial life but you cannot lose focus of both; the bigger picture and the finer details. From product-market fit, to supply chain issues to customer satisfaction - every day poses a new problem while running a business. A critical skill that every founder needs are to be able to effectively and efficiently solve problems that he/she probably would have never thought or heard of before.

Even in the daily running of an organisation, efficient communication is the hallmark for every founder. Apart from this, creating a strong team around you and empowering that team to be able to achieve their best is what makes your business reach true heights.
– Pooja Khanna, founder, Venn

Iam deeply influenced by Kautilya and I rely on my understanding of how Arthashastra applies to run a business. A founder must gather and make sense of information from different places. Empower your cabinet, mostly single founders end up doing everything themselves till a certain stage. However to do things at scale and succeed, one needs to be able to delegate with oversight. A successful leader should have the ability to find people to do bigger, better things, and empower them to do it.  

Understanding the dynamics of changing markets and being up-to-date with policy frameworks is imperative for a startup founder. Finally, nurture your allies, spend time on relationships - with your employees, partners, family, friends, competitors, and customers.Try not to have an agenda, rather be open to new ideas, opportunities and always do more for others.
 – Shalabh Gupta, founder and CEO, Akiva Superfoods

I strongly believe that any individual can get great success if he or she follows his passion. For every new business to become a reality, one needs the patience to make a budding idea into a fullfledged business. Moreover, it is very important to balance excitement, passion and also the business plan before deep-diving into any business. 

One needs to be prepared for any setbacks or delays that might happen. But it’s important to be patient and determined. Focus on your end goal and keep working towards it. Teamwork and Lead from Front is an important key as there is no ‘I’ in the team and it is very important to understand and accept that your team plays a pivotal role in shaping up your business.  

Finally, there is no substitute for hard work; just a business idea is not enough. The founder of an organisation needs to work hard towards achieving his goals. Even the simplest of businesses require hard work to achieve great success.
– Manoj Kudtarkar, co-founder, QSR Brands India Private Limited  


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