Building your startup might feel like you don’t have the technical skills to get it off the ground. However, as any experienced entrepreneur will tell you, these skills are secondary in importance to your ability to manage the business itself effectively – and that requires its own set of crucial skills to get right. This list identifies seven skills every non-technical founder should cultivate if they want their startup to be successful from the beginning.
Guide for Startup Non-technical Founder
Being a novice in terms of technical ability and wanting to start a tech-based firm comes with challenges and is not easy. To compensate for the lack of technical knowledge and skills, non-technical founders should be aware of the following skills they also need to possess to achieve success. These skills will serve as our guide for startup non-technical founder sufficiency.
1) Have A Vision
An entrepreneur needs a vision. You need an idea of what you want the world to look like in 5, 10, or 15 years, and have no hesitation telling everyone why it will be better. A good plan is important, but without the motivation of your vision, that plan won’t be enough. Your stakeholders need someone they can trust implicitly, who believes in their idea. They need leadership and empowerment, not paralysis and control. They need you to believe in them as much as they believe in you. So know your vision and share it with everyone.
2) Find The Right People
If you’re not technical, finding the right person or team of people is one of the hardest tasks you’ll have as a founder. The best way to find those people is by connecting with other entrepreneurs and reading about startup success stories. Remember that it’s not all about technical skills. Here’s what to do when hiring your team:
- Make sure each team member can effectively communicate in their field of expertise so that everyone is on the same page.
- It’s important to be open-minded when interviewing candidates because there may be someone who has more experience than others but still doesn’t have the perfect technical skillset.
- Once you’ve found them, offer them an attractive salary or benefits package. You want to ensure that they feel like a valued member of the team and want to stay at your company long-term.
- You also need to give them autonomy over what projects they work on and help empower them by giving input into how decisions are made within the company.
- Make sure you set up clear lines of communication so you can update each other when necessary, no matter where in the world each person is located.
3) Lead By Example
There are many skills that every startup founder needs to have to be successful. Unfortunately, technical skills are one of the most important, and not all non-technical founders have those. Fortunately, five other crucial skills can make up for it:
(i) leadership skills;
(ii) interpersonal skills;
(iii) ability to execute strategy quickly;
(iv) risk tolerance; and
(v) strategic mind.
Leadership is the most important skill because, without it, the project will fall apart before it has even begun. Interpersonal skills help keep people happy and motivated so they can continue executing well while they think strategically when problems arise to solve them efficiently. A manager must be able to successfully execute their strategy within a quick time frame if they want their company or organization to succeed in any way shape or form! It’s also important to maintain a high level of risk tolerance since startups tend to take more risks than older established companies. Lastly, it’s also crucial that these leaders have a strong strategic mind to identify the best opportunities and new ventures. These five skills are just as critical as technical skills but luckily they don’t require an engineering degree!
4) Balance Your Workload
Startup founders know how challenging it can be when their day job is also the startup. Yes, it may seem like an easy task, but juggling both tasks will give you less time and less focus to deliver on everything. Managing your workload will help you have time for every aspect of your life and it may also help you figure out what needs more attention.
Start with setting clear boundaries between work and home life—be they days, hours or types of work activities. Decide which are necessary tasks that need immediate action, doable tasks that should be done soon, and those that don’t require any action at this time but are nice ideas to consider in the future. After deciding on these three things, schedule them accordingly so you’re not doing them all at once. It’s important to plan ahead so that there isn’t any rush and so you have time to complete the tasks efficiently without distraction.
Last but not least, avoid multitasking! Your productivity will go down because of all the different projects popping up in front of your face as well as losing focus due to jumping back and forth between different projects throughout the day.
5) Prioritize Tasks (Use the Eisenhower Matrix)
The Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, aids you in choosing and prioritizing tasks based on their importance and urgency, separating the less important and urgent jobs that you should either delegate or skip altogether.
The first quadrant is called “Do first” because the duties are crucial for your life and work and must be completed as soon as possible, preferably today or tomorrow. The second quadrant is referred to as “Schedule”. Though significant, its functions are not as urgent. Here is where you should make a list of the things you need to schedule. The third quadrant is for jobs that you could assign because they are nonetheless urgent but less important to you than other chores. “Don’t Do” is the name of the fourth and final quadrant, which is intended to assist you in sorting out things you shouldn’t be doing at all.
Managing the day-to-day operations of a startup requires juggling many responsibilities; this simple strategy makes prioritizing those tasks possible!
6) Use Workflow automation systems
A workflow management system is a software created to assist in streamlining common company operations for maximum effectiveness. Workflow automation expedites incident response, improving the effectiveness of the procedure. For example,
- Human resources. Numerous HR procedures, like reviewing time sheets, onboarding, and offboarding workers, and handling personnel changes, are made easier by automation.
- Operations. Numerous jobs, such as creating reports and allocating tasks, can be completed through the use of workflow automation.
7) Don’t forget about soft skills!
Soft skills refer to interpersonal qualities such as interpersonal relations, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and social perceptiveness which are vital in any work environment – especially startups where people must often collaborate towards one goal.
Communication is one of the most important soft skills that you will need. You are not just the leader, but the representative of your company. Being able to convey your ideas and visions compellingly will help you get others on board with your plan. Most importantly, being a good communicator will make it easier for you to delegate tasks. Many other skills can be applied such as prioritizing, managing resources, organizing information, and setting priorities so find what works best for you and apply it!