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You’ve probably heard about the relatively short lifespan of startups in places like Silicon Valley.

5 must-have skills that constitute great startups

And while there is sufficient data to support this alarming claim, new startup CEOs and founders can still make it big in the industry, or at least survive long enough to break even.

One way of ensuring success is to isolate the skills that every great and successful startup exhibits.

Here’s five of them:

5. Programming skills

The ability to write and read code is invaluable in today’s tech-driven era.

As tech companies hurry to develop, ship, and launch their products and services to the public, demand for tech-savvy, highly proficient software engineers and web designers is at unprecedented highs.

Programming skills including a keen eye for designing intuitive consumer-facing products and sound logic and reasoning for managing server requests and growing databases are important for your business, regardless if you’re a marketing firm or a mom & pop shop.

You can look to hire programmers from your team through freelance sites, LinkedIn, or by partnering with a coding campus that offers intensive training programs in front-end and back-end technologies.

4. Accounting skills

Cash flow is a common source of setback for many cash-strapped startups.

Because most startups adopt the model of fast growth and scaling before competitors do, sound accounting practices are key to making sure there is enough cash.

Being able to anticipate shortage in capital as well as manage account receivables and payables, record expenses in detail, and consistently cut costs to widen profit margin are some of the accounting skills that will help your business survive, especially in its first few months.

3. Networking skills

The power of networking cannot be overemphasized, especially in the startup culture where most companies get their big breaks from angel investors and hedge fund managers who they got a chance to meet and talk with through a common friend or a social event.

When networking, remember that it’s a numbers game – the more cards you hand out and the more people you talk to, the better your chances of getting investments and the more interest that reaches your brand.

That being said, leave a lasting impression from your conversations.

Make sure to summarize your pitch and cover the key points of what your startup has to offer.

2. Communication skills

While networking can be encompassed by communication skills, the latter focuses on how you communicate with your investors, customers, and employees.

Startup founders should be able to get their message across.

They should be able to communicate their desired tech specifications with vendors and manufacturers, be able to relay instructions to subordinates and business partners, and be able to talk with the public and build rapport with them.

As much as you need to be able to communicate your thoughts to people, you should also be able to listen to their concerns.

Sometimes, employees or business partners give out non-verbal cues, which if you cannot translate properly can lead to financial losses and slow growth.

1. Time management skills

As a startup founder, managing the 24 precious hours of your day for both personal and business responsibilities is always a delicate subject.

Assuming that you cut your sleep time down to 6 hours, you still only have 18 good hours to attend company meetings, take investor calls, manage emails, and read analysis reports.

On top of that, you’ll need to take occasional breaks to eat and stay hydrated.

Without good time management skills, your personal and/or professional life will suffer.

Fortunately, it’s as simple as jotting down notes that you can later go back to and setting up an online calendar that notifies you of any upcoming commitments.

Final thoughts

Great startups aren’t born out of the blue overnight.

Startups are made and refined with the right skill set.

While cash is important to sustain operations, you should first prioritize on sharpening the fundamental skills that will be prevalent while building a viable business and a strong brand.


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