Starting out, entrepreneurs don many hats, often playing CEO, CFO and CMO, all at once. As a startup founder, you need to be able to oversee all aspects of your venture and expand your knowledge to include several skills that will hold you in good stead.
Beyond a great product idea and business strategy, specific technical skills for entrepreneurs is a must. Let’s look at the five essential technical skills startup founders should know:
1) Spreadsheet tools
Numbers never lie. A tool like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets is important to track vital data like sales and growth. It’s also useful for modelling business scenarios and understanding which factors are the most important for business growth. Microsoft Excel enables you to forecast accurately and control spending and serves as an excellent introduction to basic book-keeping/accounting. Get comfortable setting up formulae and charts on Excel so you can interpret the numbers relevant to your startup
2) Data collection and analysis
Data analysis is critical for Business Strategy and functions like Marketing and HR. Knowing how to collect and analyze data will empower you with recognizing trends and patterns and make predictions for your startup’s future. By deep-diving into data and comparing different data sets, you’ll be a much more insights-driven leader and have a more holistic understanding of your venture.
3) Front-end development skills
Over the years, with even basic HTML skills, for example, you’ll be able to save thousands in programming costs just by being equipped to edit simple things like links and images in code. At the very least, you should understand the basics of coding so you can understand the technical side of your business and communicate clearly with the tech and development team.
4) Basic SEO
As a startup founder, you want customers to visit your website. Learning search engine optimization (SEO) will help you strategize how to rank high on the results page of search engines. SEO will enable you to create relevant content for your startup’s website, blog and social media. Understanding keywords and what your target audience is searching for also will also help you understand your customer persona better.
5) Design tools
Picking up design and wireframing tool know-how will come in handy when you set about building your outward-facing website/app. It will also greatly help you convey your vision to your product or design team by giving them a sketch of what you want to be achieved, rather than a set of vague instructions. The sketch doesn’t have to be perfect – a basic attempt will also yield much more quality results than not giving them a proper visual reference.
If you are a young professional or a college student who dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, Wadhwani Foundation’s National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) can help you to put together the basics and launch practice ventures through its experiential and immersive entrepreneurship courses, which are free of cost. The courses teach the technical skills for entrepreneurs and entail practical knowledge, projects and assignments, access to mentors, pitch simulators and pitch days, and a lot more.
(For those in later years of the graduate program/ PG students/ working professionals/ pre-incubatees having a validated idea to launch a venture)