The Education and Skills Needed to Run a Startup

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Starting a brand-new business is a life-changing experience that can lead to excellent financial returns, not to mention the satisfaction of seeing your business grow. Yet, there is a hurdle associated with running a startup successfully – the manager of a startup needs a certain level of education and skills to successfully navigate the business environment.

Skills needed when managing a startup

A manager in any business needs a very well-rounded understanding of people and the sector that they are operating in. In the case of startups, this aspect is even more crucial: the number of employees is small at the outset, and you could be the only person with management influence in the business.

As the person running a startup, you will be responsible for making decisions, resolving conflicts and setting strategy. Making decisions requires not only analyzing situations and deciding the optimal course of action but also having the ability to be decisive and confident about the course of action that you choose and to convince others that you have made the correct choice.

This goes for strategy, too: skilled managers can make sense of the future and explain their thinking convincingly to their employees and business partners. Managers also need to be able to act as meditators between different parties — the ability to resolve misunderstanding between employees, clients and business partners is very important.

Acquiring management skills

management systemBuilding a complete set of management skills is achieved by a combination of practical exposure and formal study. Though formal study has its benefits, it is only by interacting with other people in a business environment on a day-to-day basis that you can understand how to deal with fellow employees. In essence, it is difficult to successfully run a startup without prior business experience – many people who successfully establish a startup do so after having an extensive career.

Business experience has its limitations, though, as you are unlikely to cover every aspect of running a company during your career. This is where formal education becomes very important and why many people who build startups already have advanced business degrees such as a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). These programs are designed to fill gaps in your knowledge on issues such as accountancy and law.

Degree programs also teach you how to think strategically about business, providing instruction on proven management techniques that can help you get the best out of your business. Modern degree programs even cover soft skills such as interpersonal skills, teaching you how to create effective teams and build a startup culture that is conducive to business growth.

Qualifications specialized to your industry

Depending on which field of business your startup is in, you may want to establish your credentials by obtaining the relevant professional qualifications. If you are starting a business in the financial services sector, then think about taking the relevant certification examinations, as this will suggest to your clients that your business has the necessary skills to fulfill their requirements.

Doing a specialist qualification will also allow you to better compete against businesses in the same field. If you do not yet have an MBA, then consider completing a degree in the field that you are building your business in. For example, Maryville offers an MBA in supply chain management that would be an excellent way to boost your knowledge of complex supply chains, which is useful if you are starting a manufacturing or wholesale business.

It’s about the bigger picture

Startups are notorious for failing very quickly. The new businesses that do succeed do so because the management involved has very extensive business experience and a deep knowledge and understanding of what is required to run a business. Startups are particularly vulnerable in the early stages, when a simple mistake on the side of management can cause significant difficulties.

This is why having a complete skill set and solid educational grounding is so important when you start a new business. The more aware you are of the business world, the less likely you are to make mistakes and incorrect judgement calls that could put the life of the business at risk. Experienced businesspeople have a better track record running startups, but formal education also plays a role.

If you are thinking about starting a new business but have little background in running one, then take a few online or college courses on business and finance. Also, seek out the advice of experienced people who have set up businesses in the past, as this advice will help you fill any gaps in knowledge and experience.

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