Question: What is ONE baseline tech skill all entrepreneurs should have a good handle on before starting up?
Know How to Wireframe
“Being able to wireframe a page is an incredible important skill for technology development. It’s critical for being able to properly and ideally communicate with your technical and product teams. While not a coding skill per se, it requires understanding how sites or apps are designed, and the more advanced wireframing can involve complex software. Be sure to develop this skill before starting up.”
– Doreen Bloch | CEO / Founder, Poshly Inc.
Managing an Inbox
“It sounds basic, but most people drown in email without any skill for how to manage, delegate, and reign it in. If you aren’t careful, email can take your entire day. Use tools like filtering, auto-forwarding, labeling and auto-responders to clear out your inbox quickly so you can get on to the business of actually running your company.”
– Laura Roeder | Founder, LKR Social Media
How To Learn New Tech Skills!
“The most important tech skill that you could learn is the ability to learn new ones. That might seem like a hard skill to acquire, but it’s actually pretty simple if you practice learning and researching new things using search engines to find solutions to problems. Try it now: find a solution to one of your tech problems, and you’ll be on your way in no time!”
– Nathalie Lussier | Creator, The Website Checkup Tool
HTML and CSS
“At least a basic understanding of HTML and CSS, the two popular core technologies for displaying web pages, is key to so many basic things on the Internet. It may seems silly, but I’ve found a familiarity with them can just make so many things easier and better understood.”
Can You Write a Spec?
“A spec is a simple document that describes how a technical product or feature should function and work. You do not need to have technical skills to write this document, but there are certain best practices in how you communicate product descriptions to engineers (who will build) that you should be aware of. Ask your friends who are product managers to share with you some specs they’ve written.”
– Eric Bahn | Co-Founder, Hustle Con Media
Basics of Analytics
“Businesses run on numbers and online analytics just proves the point. You have to know the basics of how an analytics package functions, how to set it up correctly and how to act on the numbers it gives you. Otherwise, you’ll be operating blind.”
– Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting
Basic HTML Coding
“When I was 17 and my dream of becoming a world-famous actress was taking too long to come true, I decided to start a website for other young actors. I bought a domain and learned the predominant web language of the day — HTML. Twelve years later, that skill is still extremely relevant and will remain relevant for years to come. It’s easy to learn and useful in a wide variety of jobs.”
– Lauren Friese | Founder, TalentEgg
Communicating via Social Media
“Start basic. Have a good grasp on how to best utilize all the major social media networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for business. Entrepreneurs need to know how to best communicate their ideas to a wide audience via social media and how to get feedback in the same manner.”
– John Hall | CEO, Influence & Co.
“The look and feel of your company speaks volumes to potential clients, users, and investors. If you don’t understand what certain colors ‘say’ or what using particular typefaces imply about the nature of you and your company, you may end up speaking pretty words but chasing people away with your approach to aesthetics. Read some books, take some classes, and improve your overall design IQ.”
“Sales solves a multitude of problems. If I had to choose between a founder that knows how to code and one that knows how to build a lead and conversion funnel, I’d pick the latter every time.”
Email Keyboard Shortcuts
“You’ll be amazed how many emails you’ll need to send to get a business started, and then how many email you’ll receive once your business is off the ground. If you can’t quickly get through your inbox, you’ll be doing nothing else aside from email pretty soon.”
– Gregory Galant | CEO and Cofounder, Sawhorse Media
Excel at Excel
“A rudimentary understanding of Microsoft Excel is something all entrepreneurs should have. Simply as an organizational tool, Excel is worth its weight in gold, and as your knowledge on it expands, so does its value. Excel skills allow you to efficiently stay organized, which frees up more time for important things, like growing your business.”
– Michael Tolkin | CEO, Merchant Exchange
Handling Your Own Computer!
“Knowing your own machine — whether desktop or laptop, Apple or otherwise — is crucial. Your computer is a key business tool which will be the work engine of your daily life. Any entrepreneur should know how to work the basic functions of their own machine, as well as how to get the most out of it, troubleshoot it and even how to hack it to do what they need and want it to do.”
– Lea Woodward | Founder, Inspiring Ventures
Learn the Verbiage
“Even if you’re hiring an entire team to handle your website design, creation, SEO and even social media campaigns, if you don’t know what HTML, a wireframe, a domain name or a Twitter handle is, you’ll end up having an extremely hard time communicating your vision and spend a whole lot of wasted money on making your professional dreams come to fruition.”
– Erika London | Co-Founder, iAdventure.com
Map Out Email Marketing
“Email marketing is the main reason why we closed our first client deal with my startup. Every month, my list would receive an email about our latest milestone. One month before launch, I emailed my list to set up a meeting. I set up five meetings and closed one client deal, allowing us to launch our product with a paying client — all thanks to email marketing.”
– Jun Loayza | President, Ecommerce Rules
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.