Basic Skills Every Young Entrepreneur Should Have
By Naila Tariq
We all know being an entrepreneur involves grit, hard work, thick skin, and passion. But these are personality traits; they do not have to be inherent, and they can be developed, but they still aren’t exactly a skill set.
What every entrepreneur needs is an arsenal of both hard and soft skills. Of course, your individual skillset will be unique to the kind of business you’re seeking to build. However, there is some generalized information that everyone looking to launch a startup should know.
The Business Model
Before you’ve even started work on your business, you need to be clear on what your business is. What problem is it solving? Who are your customers? What value does your idea add to their lives? What will it cost you to create?
Being able to create a business model for your idea is one of the most important skills you can have, because it not only means you have a firm grasp of what your business does, and whether it is feasible, but also gives you a clear path so you can build it.
Social Media Marketing
As the 2017 Arab Youth Survey report shows, social media is huge in this part of the world. According to the report, 50 percent of Arab youth visit YouTube every day, and 35 percent use Facebook as their primary news source.
For businesses, it’s huge the world over; based on a DigitasLBi Commerce report, Facebook alone influenced 52 percent of shoppers’ online and offline purchases in 2015. Having a social media presence is vital for building your brand, cultivating interest, and creating an ever-growing community of customers that will keep coming back.
Social media marketing means more than just creating a Facebook page, Twitter account, and/or Instagram business account. You have to decide on your brand’s “voice,” tailor your posts for your audience, know enough basics to create eye-catching, visually pleasing content, upload and engage regularly, and understand the mechanics of creating ads and boosting posts.
To help with this, Sheraa has partnered with Facebook for their #SheMeansBusiness project, where you can learn the fundamentals of social media marketing and how you can make the most out of Instagram and Facebook tools to promote your business. Click here to register your interest for our next workshop.
This one is debatable, especially with the rise of “code-free” app- and website-building alternatives. However, knowing at least the basics of HTML and CSS can help with the simple stuff like changing a color on an otherwise-perfect Wordpress theme, or catching and fixing a minor bug in a line of code.
You can even search your smartphone’s App Store for basic coding applications. There are plenty to choose from to learn on the go!
The hard skills are important, but at the end of the day they’re still secondary to soft skills. Soft skills are what sell your product. You can have an amazing idea and the necessary skills to turn that idea into reality, but without the soft skills, you may never get the project off the ground.
Soft skills are how you get others to believe in the product as much as you do. They’re how you get consumers and investors interested. Two key skills you’ll need are the ability to network, and the ability to pitch your idea concisely and in such a way that it piques people’s interest.
Can you pitch your idea in 60 seconds? 30? 20? Often, that’s all the time you’ll have to describe what your startup does and who it’s for. If you can’t summarize it in as few words as possible, maybe you need to reconsider your business model so you have a better idea of it yourself.
Imagine you happen to be in an elevator with your investors, and you only have the time it takes them to reach their floor to pitch your idea. This is known as “The Elevator Pitch,” and it is a skill you need to hone if you want to get people interested.
Making connections with people in your industry and ecosystem is vital. You must learn how to start conversations with complete strangers and be confident and well-spoken enough to carry that conversation through.
Go to relevant conferences and events. Exhibit your startup wherever possible. Speak to people, engage with them, be memorable. Most importantly, keep the connection going, even if that means the occasional “Like” or comment on their social media to remind them you’re still around.
You don’t have to be an expert at everything from coding to graphic design before you even begin working on your business. In fact, one of the best things about being an entrepreneur is the freedom you have to take that leap and learn along the way exactly what you need to know.
But the skills listed here matter, and they will help you through every success, every failure, and every startup.