Entrepreneurs are mostly obsessed with Soft Skills. Their soft skills make them who they are. They try to be innovative and develop a problem-solving mindset all the time. They have enormous talent in persuasion and leading others. They are adaptable to different circumstances, and They know how to collaborate effectively. There are many blog posts out there about Soft Skills. Like this detailed blog post from hacker noon about The 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Develop.
BUT the lack of Hard Skills can be a massive drawback for them. There are some essential hard skills for entrepreneurs, which you must consider if you pursue Entrepreneurship as a lifetime goal and put aside some time for them to learn.
Why can lack of Hard Skills be a Drawback?
The general mindset of an Entrepreneur is answering the question: How to solve the problem! They usually believe their job is just putting all the gears together; Just to Lead the symphony. Yes! This can be true when you are running a large organization, but not if you’re just a newly born startup with lots of tasks to do. You can’t rely on others for every small job. Soon, you’ll face a lack of Money and Time.
On the other hand, you can’t be a man of all. You must seek a Trade-off between these two. As Abraham Lincoln says:
Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.
Essential Hard Skills for Entrepreneurs
Here is a brief list of skills you need to add to your toolkits during the Entrepreneurship Journey.
1- Financial Analysis Tools and Literacy
Why you? Won’t you hire an accountant for this?
You can use an accountant to collect and analyze the financial data, but you need to understand the underlying economic flows of your business. That’s key to your understanding of how to manage your business. In my opinion, Being comfortable with numbers is the first most crucial hard skill every entrepreneur should have. Of course, nobody expects you to be a master in accounting, economics, finance, statistics, mathematics, and engineering! But at least you need to be able:
- Manage Cash Flow, Expenditure and Budgeting
- Create Financial Targets and KPIs
- Study the Economic and Business Trends
- Understand Financial Literacy
- Understand Funding and Investment Literacy
Excel is a perfect tool for most financial analysis tasks. Try taking some online courses about Financial Analysis in Excel. Maybe you’ll need to push yourself with recovering mathematic and probability concepts from college, but this one-time effort will help you during the whole entrepreneurship path.
2- Marketing, Sales & Business Analysis
Why you? Won’t you hire a Marketing & Sales Department for this?
Analyzing your business from different aspects can’t be just a simple task which you outsource it easily. You need to be comfortable with marketing automation tools, analytical service, and BI tools.
If you’re running an Online service, it’s crucial to be comfortable with Google Analytics. This amazing service of Google, helps you to understand the User acquisition channels of your website and analyze accurately the steps they take to purchase or leave your product. If you’re planning to do online advertisements you need to be familiar with other Google Services like Google Ads and Google Search Console. You also must have a clue about modern digital marketing methods like Real-time Bidding, AD-exchange services and etc. Getting familiar with the Basic search engine optimization (SEO) subject will be obviously useful. (More to come in the web design section!)
Related Post: Google Analytics tips and tricks
In addition to this, you’ll encounter many Business Questions. These Questions can be answered using BI tools. It’s true that using a BI tool is a Data Analyst’s task and needs a lot of professionalism, but even knowing the basics may give a transparent view of your business. The most famous BI tools are Microsoft BI, Tableau, ClickView and etc.
3- Programming Knowledge
Why you? Won’t you hire dozens of programmers and hackers for this?
In some cases, the founders of Startups are the developers of the service. But in many cases, person who has an idea doesn’t have a clue about technical aspects and this turns to be the main drawback of him/her.
I know it’s difficult to accept this in the list of hard skills for entrepreneurs. You want to be a successful Entrepreneur and change the world! Not just another Software Developer out there, AND I don’t expect you to become a Full-Stack developer. (Which is a great job and hard to do!) But I expect you to know technical terms, be familiar with different programming languages, and can name some trend tools.
Guys! This is a Danger Zone!
If you don’t know anything about technical aspects, you’ll waste a lot of money until finding the best team or person. People will come to you with fancy complicated technical phrases, and you’d say: This guy knows his job! let’s Trust and pay him.
Here is a list of terms you need to be familiar:
- Different Programming Languages and Frameworks
- Try learning a Programming language (Python is suggested due to simplicity in Syntax and thousands of sources available)
- Different Types of Data Storage. (SQL specifically)
- SCRUM and Software Engineering Terminology and Tools.
- Web Hosting
“Everybody in this country should learn to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” ; Steve Jobs (Co-Founder of Apple)
4- Web Design and Media Editing Tools
Why you? Won’t you hire a Fancy Design department with many creative designers for this?
I know there are dozens of freelancer designers, stock services, free tools, website service, etc out there, but if you’re just at the beginning, every single penny counts. Imagine being comfortable with photoshop in making simple changes to your logo and editing photos instead of paying dollars to freelancers who don’t really understand your passion.
Keep in mind that design is a very professional job and it’s vital for your branding. Even minor mistakes can make your presence irrelevant. You need to ask a professional person to design your identity, but should be able to play with graphical elements to make the best and fast use of them.
Of course, you’ll need a website at the beginning. You may provide your main service through the website or just introduce your products and services. Having a Web designer beside you can be an advantage but if not, you need to rely on open source tools like WordPress. WordPress is easy and fast and it seems like a lego. You can put different parts together to make different websites. Do you need just a landing page? Do you need a webshop? Do you need a specific Social Media? There are dozens of plugins available in WordPress, which can easily answer your requirements.
WordPress is also very SEO friendly. I’ve been working with WordPress for years. There are plugins like YOAST which can boost your SEO in a few months.
5- Legal Issues
Why you? Won’t you pay an attorney to KNOW and ACT?
Among all these hard skills for entrepreneurs, I think legal issues is the most difficult one. It’s very complicated and most of the time, it’s out of the daily readings of a Tech Entrepreneur. We don’t want to get bothered with complicated Legal Terminology and run away from it all the time to more “COOL” stuff.
Welcome to the REAL world! you need to avoid costly legal mistakes and learn how to incorporate your startup, raise venture capital, protect your intellectual property. For this purpose, you must practice legal terms and get familiar with them.