Being a founder is difficult. You have to manage so many stakeholders every single day. You have to take care of not running out of cash, reporting metrics, customer escalations, salaries, rent, government, compliance, taxes, agreements, and whatnot.
Here are 10 skills to learn to be a successful entrepreneur:
1. Sales: knowing how to sell is the most important skill. You'd be selling your product to the customers, your business to the investors, and your culture to your employees. So you better learn to sell/convince people if you want to succeed in Business.
2. Hiring: how do I deliver 1200 hours a day worth of output by working for 8 hours a day? I have a team of 150+ talented team members. Learning to hire has the highest leverage (value multiplier).
3. Perseverance: most startups shut down because of the founder burning out and quitting. I had been through the difficult days of a cofounder's exit and less than Rs. 5 lakhs ($6000) in the Bank. What got me to a multi-million dollar acquisition is that I didn't quit.
4. Negotiating: you'd be negotiating every single day. Negotiating salaries with employees, negotiating contracts with customers, negotiating with service providers, investors, etc. Learn to negotiate to save costs.
5. Finance: in the ongoing state of the economy, investors are primarily investing in those startups where founders are building profitable businesses. So learn to track the right business metrics and manage your finance.
6. Programming: while you can always hire a technical co-founder or technical team members, it's a cherry on the cake if you, as the Founder/CEO, know programming. At Cogno, the biggest comfort our customers had was that I knew to program.
7. Focus: we are surrounded by so many distractions. Social media, family, friends, news, media, neighbors, and whatnot. Seeing mega funding news of another startup, how many of you have questioned yourself - "what am I doing with my life?" Learn to avoid that.
8. Time management: as a founder, there is always more work on the plate than the hours. Knowing what to prioritize is an invaluable skill so that you can focus on the big needle-moving tasks and avoid wasting time on others.
9. Control over emotions: entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride. Today you'd be happy because you got a big contract. Tomorrow you'd be sad because some critical member resigned. Learn to stay neutral in both situations.
10. Gratitude: success gets into the head of many entrepreneurs. Understand that your success is a combined effort of you and the people who have supported you. Always take care of them and be thankful to them for their support.
What else do you think an entrepreneur should learn?