Most important skill a businessman should have


What is the most important skill one should have when starting up or running a business? is it financial handling?

Finance Business

asked Apr 24 '11 at 13:27
Pathum Mudannayake
178 points
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5 Answers


That's a question I ask me often, too. And speaking frankly, I haven't a straight answer yet, but I found three recurrent topics:

  1. Attitude: Although its not a skill, people cite often the need for the correct behaviors and mindset to reach your goals. And acquiring these behaviors do involve some skills, e.g. Proactivity.
  2. Technical Skills: If you are going to open a programming startup, some background in programming is quite useful, specially if you'll work part-time as a programmer in the early years of your company. This is also true in other areas, like finances or architecture.
  3. Soft Skills: Self-Management, Leadership, Social Skills, even How-To-Handle-Office-Politics are crucial for an entrepreneur, in any start-up, of any field, in any stage of the company. In fact, I would say these are the closest "perfect" answer to your question if I didn't know that an entrepreneur would also need the skills mentioned in topics one and two.

And remember: Context matters! The necessary skill set to start a new business in web design is going to be quite different from the necessary skill set to start a gold mining operation. Only the soft skills shall remain for sure.

answered Apr 24 '11 at 21:48
Brunno Silva
320 points
  • +1 for 1 and 3... I'm less convinced tech skills are needed at all though - there's a *lot* of cases of companies being started and doing really well by complete non-technical people. It's more about being able to find and surround yourself with good techs. I've seen quite a lot of advice suggesting that tech skill can actually be a hindrance (Michael Gerber for instance) as rather than finding a business model or working on profit and customers you make something. I think knowing *enough* to know if you have good people is more the desired level. – Matt 13 years ago
  • +1: I really respect people who are good at #3 precisely because it's so necessary to be a good manager, and I'm so awful at parts of it. – Bob Murphy 13 years ago
  • I completely agree with you, Matt. I'm also less convinced tech skills are needed, however this matter is quite fuzzy as there's strong arguments for both sides. In the end, I would say that the tech skills aren't necessary, but they help a lot if are present. So, I prefer to at least mention them. – Brunno Silva 13 years ago


I would say its "break-wall-ness" meaning that it is a person who overcomes obstacles.

answered Apr 24 '11 at 17:04
1,821 points


I can answer about entrepreneurs.

I say you need to be a bit obsessive about your business idea.

In the time that any cold logical analysis indicates you should drop your idea, you will keep going.

Many other qualities mentioned above are good for managers. However, I have seen too many successful managers with completely different set of skills.

It seems that the business game can be played effectively in too many ways.

answered Apr 25 '11 at 03:55
Shai Ben Yehuda
81 points


There are 3 important skills :

  1. Be good at finding the good person for a given task
  2. Social skills to convince people (co-workers, prospects, investors, etc.)
  3. And the most important : perseverance (but don't be stubborn)

For all the rest you can always find somebody to do it !

answered Apr 25 '11 at 00:01
Sylvain Peyronnet
371 points


I would add to the mix of consideration: humility.

I think that the entrepreneur of a start-up needs to be prepared to confront the reality that everything they thought was true -- isn't. Everything they were certain of -- might not be. The way they knew it should be -- might not.

Like the surfer that respects the deadly power of the sea, or the mountain climber that honors the danger of the mountain -- I think that a good entrepreneur must be humble in the face of the enormity of the process of creating something new.

From that humility comes the willingness to surround themselves with people smarter than they. The ability to truly listen to the customer who request a different set of feature priorities. The skill to adapt to the realities of the changing market around them.

answered Apr 25 '11 at 16:43
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points

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