7 Essential Skills to Help You Start Your Business

Essential Skills

Working for yourself is extremely difficult to shoulder the responsibility for success or failure falls. In order not to ruin your business at the start, you will have to acquire such skills as the ability to communicate with clients and potential investors, understanding how sales are made, knowledge of the basics of marketing and finance, the ability to select and manage a team.

Harvard Business Review asked 141 Harvard Business School graduates who started their own companies and 20 non-MBA founders about the skills they considered essential for a company founder. Both groups of entrepreneurs noted that it is necessary to strive to become a manager who is able to assemble and unite a team, as well as to identify the needs of customers. We have compiled a list of skills mentioned by entrepreneurs in the survey and ranked them from highest priority to least mentioned.

Team Building

The concept includes the selection of co-founders, the allocation of capital, the hiring of personnel. 88% of the entrepreneurs surveyed indicated this skill as the main one.

The Harvard survey focuses on raising venture capital by selecting co-founders whose experience and expertise will cover the founder’s knowledge gap.

Another critical entrepreneurial quality when starting a business is the ability to recognize a talented employee with the right motivation and convince them to work for you. At first, this work cannot be outsourced or transferred to someone else.


82% of entrepreneurs surveyed cited leadership as a core skill for a startup founder.

An aspiring entrepreneur must be persuasive in communicating with people – investors, co-founders, team. To do this, he must have developed communication skills and the ability to persuade.

The founder of the company must be proficient in all forms of communication: writing for e-mail and blogging, personal for presentations, business meetings; voice for communication on the phone and even visual – to be able to build graphs and diagrams, add illustrations to the presentation. Of course, over time, some of the listed areas of activity will be transferred to other employees, but at the start you will have to do a lot yourself. Here it will even be appropriate to compare such an entrepreneur with an essay writing service in terms of the number of the tasks.

Product Management

Skill includes the ability to prioritize product development, A/B testing, product design. 80% of entrepreneurs surveyed stressed that founders need to gain a deep understanding of customer needs in the early stages of a product launch.

As one respondent put it, “Nothing else matters if you are building a product that nobody needs.” Another interviewee notes that company founders need to communicate with customers and understand their needs.

Team Management

The importance of the skill was noted by 74% of the entrepreneurs surveyed, who indicated that it is important for the later stages of company development.

Most startups end up in need of hiring employees directly or as subcontractors to achieve their goals and grow.

Hired employees are not capable of managing themselves; their work must be planned and organized by a manager. Management skills are perhaps the most difficult to learn on the list provided. Nevertheless, many aspiring entrepreneurs believe that there is no need to study them specifically. When starting your own business, it is worth remembering that mistakes in management are as expensive as unsuccessful hiring of personnel.


72% of those surveyed noted this skill as essential for a company founder. According to the survey, the skill includes assessing interest and analyzing customer behavior, using methods, systems and practices to attract new customers.

Entrepreneurs surveyed cited sales as one of the most important skills for a company founder. If you can only thoroughly learn one skill, let it be sales. If you fail at the rest, sales won’t save you, but enough of it will give you time to correct your mistakes.

“As a founder of a company, you always sell: first for yourself, and then for potential co-founders, employees, clients, strategic partners and investors,” notes one of the interviewed entrepreneurs. The ability to create and tell compelling stories about your business will inspire people to join a company or fund a project.”


This skill was noted by 71% of the interviewed entrepreneurs.

It is important that at the time of launching a startup, it is noticed by as many people as possible. Of course, this is only possible with a successful advertising campaign. The manager needs to study marketing to organize the promotion on his own or to understand what is happening in the company if a third-party employee is involved in the promotion.

Marketing and PR are tools that can make people both pass by the product and purchase it right away or come for it sometime later, so a novice entrepreneur needs to know at least the basics of these processes.


The need for knowledge in the field of finance was noted by 47% of the interviewed entrepreneurs.

The ability to keep a company’s balance sheet above zero is a fundamental and often overlooked entrepreneurial skill. The leader has three key responsibilities: documenting and communicating company ideas, team selection, and ensuring that the company has money in its account. Aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged by the first two points, while the last one is less likely to be thought of. Finance homework help becomes a matter of success at the start.

Organizing finances for a business requires an understanding of bookkeeping and tax accounting, the ability to prepare accounting statements and use special accounting software.

Another way for the aspiring entrepreneur is to first become a professional and then start your own business. Find an activity you like and start developing in this direction, while developing the skills necessary for a leader. Become the best in a company that solves a problem in a field of interest to you. This is how you use the experience and skills you have gained to start your own business.


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