Starting a business can be one of the most rewarding, fun, and exciting periods in someone’s life. But it can also be incredibly stressful. A whopping 90% of startups will fail. As for the remaining 10%, most will encounter several near-death experiences in the first few years of their existence.
Many things go into a successful startup, including a great, market-satisfying idea, a fine-tuned business plan, a sound financial assessment, complete legal paperwork, a determined team, as well as the best tools and systems that will help you see your business through. And it’s often the founder that has to deal with most of these during the company’s inception.
To put it another way, the founder is the essential feature of any startup. They need to be dynamic and multifaceted, as well as focused. So what are the top five talents that most startup founders have in common?
Having the right discipline will help founders deal with the many roles that they have to switch between daily. Without proper training, startup entrepreneurs can quickly find themselves overwhelmed by a chaotic situation.
Self-discipline is what compels a founder to have a calendar, in the first place, and fill it with everything they need to do their job. Similarly, self-discipline will provide founders with the necessary confidence to make decisions in a composed manner as well as to stick to their plans, no matter the circumstances.
This particular talent also helps to inspire team members to act the same, as well as to minimize or eliminate time wasters such as procrastination, addictions, or laziness. All of these benefits work together to, not only keep the startup on track but also to enhance the approach and operating procedure. Ultimately, self-discipline is what sets the blueprint of a successful business, in addition to building trust and confidence within the organization.
A clear vision equates to the destination (ultimate goal) of the journey. Without one, it will take a miracle for a business to succeed. It’s somewhat similar to an exploration ship crossing the ocean without a clear goal or destination in mind.
From the perspective of a startup and its founder, the vision starts with the problem it intends to solve on the market, but also extends to all other aspects of the company. It includes the company culture, branding, messaging, product development, customer care, investors, staff, and everything else in-between.
The ability to visualize and then articulate the possible future of an organization has always been at the forefront of successful leadership. Floating aimlessly in the hopes of one day reaching dry land is a survival situation that nobody wants to be in, and rarely pays off.
It’s also important that your vision is also shared by all staff members within the company. To continue the ship analogy, it’s similar to the crew knowing what their destination is as well as what’s at stake. One survey has shown that over half (52%) of employees don’t know their organization’s vision, while 49% don’t know its values. That same survey has also shown that 39% of those employees want to be more involved in contributing to their company’s vision and values.
Empathy is a trait that is fundamental to successful leadership. Unlike sympathy, where you can understand and support others through compassion, empathy is the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of others.
For empathy to arise, leaders need to master the art of listening. A skilled listener can let others know that they’re being heard by expressing an understanding of their problems. When this happens, trust and respect will soon follow.
One study has indicated that the average US employee is unengaged at work and that half of the entire workforce is actively looking for a different job, as we speak. And according to Rae Shanahan, Chief Strategy Officer at Businessolver, this results in over $600 billion in lost productivity every year. A different study, however, has identified that 85% of employees believe that empathy is undervalued in their workplace, 77% would be willing to work longer hours for an empathetic employer, and 92% would stick with a company if it empathized with their needs.
A heightened sense of empathy will not only support founders in raising team morale, engagement, and productivity but also help in networking, discovering new opportunities, customer care, and product development. By relating to others, entrepreneurs can anticipate the wants and needs of their customers and design their products and services accordingly.
It’s important to remember that every new development can also be a profitable business opportunity. And in today’s continuously evolving business environment, startup founders can’t afford to miss out on too many of these opportunities. In fact, a whopping 63% of business leaders said that they don’t really know the possibilities of next-generation technology and only 13% have actually identified their next major digital technology investment.
Those with an open mind can see and anticipate the usefulness of all that’s around them and how to utilize them towards achieving their business goals and objectives. No matter the amount of planning that goes into a business, things can and will go astray from time to time. Having an open mind and adapting to change, will allow entrepreneurs to take calculated risks and pivot midstream if the situation calls for it.
A lack of communication is the death of any relationship. It is as real in life as it is in business. Having strong communication skills will aid founders in selling their products to customers. It will also benefit in motivating their employees when the going gets tough.
You also need to express your goals so that everyone within the organization is on the same page and communicate effectively with all to solve problems. Nurturing an environment that thrives on open communication will significantly improve the odds of success.
With the rise in technology, remote work, and telecommuting, effective communication is quickly becoming a so-called soft skill that almost no business can go without. In fact, “employers routinely list teamwork, collaboration, and oral communication skills as among the most valuable yet hard-to-find qualities of workers.” This is according to David Deming, Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
By having these five talents, startup founders will guide their business and their employees towards greatness. For more information about how to manage a successful startup, visit our website today.