8 skills African start-ups must have















BEING A FAST LEARNER: An essential life skill isto be able to learn and put knowledge to use. You need to learn something new and you need to learn it fast. In entrepreneurship, one must be able to solve problems in the most intelligent ways. This necessitates being teachable at all stages. Startups do not experience inertia, thus the business owner must know how to manage different situations. This would mean a lot of reading, research and even taking courses that may cost a considerable amount of time/money.

CREATIVE THINKING: Entrepreneurs are mostly energetic but they must also be fast thinkers. They do not necessarily need an above-average IQ, but they do need to think beyond the box. Albert Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

COMMUNICATION SKILLS: a good command of the language spoken in the environment that brings the entrepreneurs and the clients together is required. An entrepreneur needs to communicate well with his clients, employees, business partners etc. Entrepreneurs must be good listeners to gather salient information; they must be good speakers because like it or not every entrepreneur will have to talk about his/her business.

TIME MANAGEMENT: the need for this cannot be over emphasized. One needs to be determined to be fruitful with the use of time. Henry David Thoreau said “It is not enough to be busy….The question is: “what are we busy about? ”. The skill of time management focuses the entrepreneur to prioritize in the little time available.

RECOGNIZING OPPORTUNITIES: for an idea to become a startup, an entrepreneur must have recognized some opportunity. Recognizing opportunities is a skill of peculiar vision. It is a situation whereby an individual can make sense out of chaos. Francis Bacon said “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds”. Sometimes one must deliberately move out of his/her comfort zone to create opportunities. Milton Berle said “If opportunity does not knock, build a door.”

SALES/MARKETING: every entrepreneur must have it in mind to be his first marketer, he has to believe in his product enough to confidently market it. Whether or not he employs people for the job of marketing, he must have a firm grip on it first. This spans through digital marketing, brand marketing, etc. Robert Kiyosaki explained in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad (1997), that to have a best-selling book, one must be a selling author and not necessarily the best writing author.
There is more on functional areas in a business, see https://dabrandcity.com/functional-areas-in-a-business/

LEADERSHIP: as a problem solver, at some point, you will work with a team. It could be a team of employees, contractors or colleagues. Certain situations will present themselves requiring you to lead more often than not. If you are already an entrepreneur, try to be a better leader; if you plan to start up something, learn now what it means to lead.

GOAL SETTING: the bigger picture must be in your heart as a startup. What do you want to achieve by the end of the decade? Goal setting is so important that you may have to write it down or even paste it on the wall. A Harvard Business study on business in 2015 showed that 14% of the businesses that took part in the survey were 10 times more successful than the unwritten goals.



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