Five Skills and Five Concepts Critical for Founders

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I was recently asked, as an entrepreneur and angel investor, to provide the five most important skills and concepts for for founders in startups.

Any list like this will necessarily be incomplete but I found it an interesting question to think through.

Going with my first instincts, here is what I came up with.

Five Skills:

  • Grit - the tenacity to push through the obstacles.

  • Ego (the good kind) - to have confidence in the idea and enough ego-integrity to hire in people who are better than you in many ways.

  • Delegation - The ability to hand off work as fast as possible, even to people who won’t do it as well as you. The founder does not scale well.

  • Communication - the founders must be able to communicate their ideas effectively and with passion whether in writing or in person.

  • Analysis - the founders must be able to systematically break down the strategic and tactical decision before them to make well grounded and informed decision, not by gut.

Five Concepts:

  • It is not about the technology but about the benefit to the users. Always stay focused on that.

  • Investors give you money for a high return in a modest period of time. Understanding the investor thought process is critical to presenting to them.

  • If you just build it, it is unlikely that “they” will come. Rigorous analysis of the go to market plan is critical.

  • Ask for help, there is a lot out there much of which is free (or close to it).

  • Advisors are a tremendous resource, generally vastly underutilized. These people want to help. It is worth the time and effort to communicate with and leverage them.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments.