Education and skills are often misunderstood to be the same; while it is not necessary to have a degree for a startup founder, it is very crucial to have the required skills.

According to research by Harvard Business Review, the average age of founders at the time they launched their ventures is an astounding 42, while the average age of those with the highest performing startups is 45. While wise and experienced founders may have an edge with their experience, they’re not necessarily always on top of their game. Many young entrepreneurs are also able to build successful, scalable businesses.

Here are the key skills you need to be a highly effective startup founder.

Tenacity – On top of the list is your ability to last. Business success is the sum of small victories over a lengthy period of time. The bad news is, the small wins will always seem negligible. A trap that one must not fall into is to seek overnight success. True entrepreneurs are in it for the long haul and to make waves in their respective industry. Rome was not built in one day, remember?

Openness – There is nothing wrong in being flexible with your ideas, goals, management styles and entrepreneurs should not be hesitant to do the same. Sure, openness for change is nice to advise, but it is rather difficult to follow and the key to the long-term success of the entrepreneur and the business. Planning is perfect on paper as it is built on past data and experience. They’re created to be improvised. Therefore, do not spend all of your precious time in planning, but in doing.

Risk-Taking – This aspect comes with the memo. While research and planning can assist you to make better business decisions, no matter how much time you take to evaluate your options, there is no escaping the risks involved and you will be taking an uncharted path that will either lead to the desired outcome or teach you a valuable lesson. If you’re open for change and willing to push yourself, you will be rewarded for taking the risk even if things don’t work out over the short run.

Communication And Sales – If you can’t sell your product to your employees, they can’t sell it to your customers. At the end of the day, a successful business satiates the needs of its customers. Taking every opportunity to talk to customers and other key stakeholders are part of the communication and sales skills. To improve those skills, the best way to start is by taking every opportunity to share your business journey with as many people as possible. This way will also lead to new friendships, partnerships and sales opportunities.

Focus – Bull’s-eye, founders! Entrepreneurs are continuously challenged with focus. There is always something new to try, new trends, methodologies, strategies and partnership opportunities on the table. The first rule of focus is that given our limited resources and time, focusing on many things will most definitely lead to accomplishing unsatisfactory results on many of them but not doing exceptionally well on the most important one.


As an entrepreneur, you face multiple challenges every day. If you’d like to speak to a personal mentor who can help you take your business from where it is currently to where you want it to be, contact me here!