The founders of successful start-ups span a wide range of backgrounds, but there are several traits that are found in many successful founders. Venture capitalists like Patrick Chung of Xfund look for these traits in the founders of start-ups that they consider funding, as a start-up that is run by such a founder has a much better chance of succeeding. The desirable traits found in successful start-up founders include technical knowledge, business management skills, market knowledge, and team building proficiency. Of course, there are many other desirable traits. However, the traits discussed in this article are some of the most important. Read on to learn more about the traits found in many successful start-up founders.
Technical knowledge is one of the most important traits that any start-up founder can have. Most founders have been intimately involved with the programming of their start-up’s software. Even if they haven’t written any of the code themselves, they must have a deep understanding of the technical details of their product. Founders do not necessarily need to be computer science experts, though many are. However, they must have extensive knowledge of relevant technologies.
Business Management Skills
While many founders have technical knowledge, quite a few do not have the business management skills necessary for their start-ups to succeed. The founder’s lack of business acumen is one of the most common reasons that start-ups fail. This has even been known to happen to start-ups that have promising tech. While venture capitalists can certainly provide business guidance, they cannot handle every single business management task for the founder.
One of the most overlooked traits of a successful founder is market knowledge. For a business to succeed, those running the business must know their audience very well. Failing to research a start-up’s audience can result in a business-savvy and technically skilled founder marketing their business to the wrong group of people, which could quickly lead to failure. Too many start-ups are based on tech that merely seems innovative to the founder, who has no idea what the potential market applications of this tech may be.
Team Building Proficiency
Even the most skilled and knowledgeable founders can’t do everything by themselves. They may have the initial concept for a start-up all by themselves, but they will need to build a team to get beyond this phase. It is vital that a successful start-up founder be proficient in team building. This starts with hiring the right employees. A start-up’s initial team of employees is absolutely vital in its future success.
Of course, there is much more to team building than simply hiring the right people. A founder must strive to create a positive relationship between themselves and their employees. This will ensure that their employees follow their direction and will increase the employee’s emotional investment in the company. Founders must also ensure that team members have a positive relationship with each other, as this can greatly affect productivity and efficiency.
All of These Skills Can be Acquired
It may seem impossible or at least unlikely that one individual could have all these skills. In truth, few founders possess these skills naturally. Thankfully, all the skills that have been covered in this article can be learned. There are many management consultants that specialize in working with start-ups. These consultants can help train founders in many of the skills mentioned in this article. Founders can even receive technical training so that they can better understand their tech. Venture capitalists will often help procure this training, though it is a good idea for founders to already have these skills by the time they are seeking venture capital funding.