To prepare well as a founder, you need to think beyond your “Product” room and allocate time to develop strengthen your Founder IQ — qualities and skills that will help you lead your startup team and navigate your entrepreneurial journey confidently and competently.
Founder IQ comprises six major components:
• Five Core Action Skills: initiate, plan, execute, solve, and lead.
• Eight Core Management Skills: self-management, time management, communication, relationship management, project management, stress management, crisis management, and financial management.
• Eight Core Qualities: Self-awareness, self-reliance, discernment, adaptability, steadfastness, perseverance, optimism, and empathy.
• Financial Preparedness, Industry Experience, and Survival Skills round up this set of essential founder qualities and skills.
This list can serve as a starting point for your founder development, and help you and your startup thrive during both high and low times. You don’t need to excel in all areas when starting out as a founder, but you want to be as proficient as possible and begin developing skills you may not have.
As a first-time founder, you will learn much on the job, but there’s no reason NOT to start out well prepared. In fact, you’ll increase your chance of success if you do so.
Avoid the most common mistakes by most first-timers who operate with a product-centric mindset. They find it easy and exciting to focus on their developing their business idea first, thinking that if their creation can sell and show promise, everything else about their operation will fall in place.
They often believe that they are sufficiently smart to figure things out as they move along, but the startup environment can be very unforgiving if founders pursue the wrong strategy and/or spend resources on the wrong priorities.Â Their grave error is focusing all their energy on their product while neglecting essential founder skills needed to build their business and lead their team successfully.
Most new entrepreneurs spend little time thinking about and preparing for their founder role. They don’t know the questions to ask and don’t perform self-analysis to determine their own competency for the founder role. Many are insecure about taking the helm so they have this default plan to improvise in their founder / CEO / President role until they can afford to hire a qualified individual to take charge. For new entrepreneurs who decide to wing it, it’s like taking command of a vessel and leading a crew without having studied seamanship nor planning resources for the long journey.
Give yourself huge credits for taking the initiative to start your new businessÂ but I encourage you to be wise in this endeavor: read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos by successful founders, and extract what you need for your own journey. We each possess unique qualities, habits, both strengths as well as weaknesses. Allocate more time to assess, refine and/or develop founder skills to ensure you take the helm confidently and competently.
Copyright 2018-2019 – My-Tien Vo