There’s no denying that any Startup needs a number of essential things in place from day one in order to even get off of the ground. Money, Time & Experience are the main essentials, but there are also skills.
There are a huge number of skills needed in any Startup. Some, like accounting and client services, are not needed early on. That is because in the early days, the focus is on creating a brand, building an awareness and a following, as well as putting together products and identifying who to sell to.
In order to achieve these in the first days and weeks of the Startup, well, starting up, there are 9 key skills that must be available. Without these, the Startup is very likely to fail early on.
It’s important at this stage to say that all 9 skills I’m about to talk about don’t need to be available in house. As a Startups founder, you don’t need to be able to do all 9 of these. The more that can be done, the better, but it’s not the end of the world if some can’t be done.
Thankfully it’s so easy these days to get access to freelancers who are both experienced in one of more of these skills, and are able to turn around something very fast. And as an additional bonus, they’ll nearly always be cost effective.
Without further ado, let’s dig in to…
First up, we have the skill of writing emails. Emails will be an essential Sales & Marketing tool not only in the early stages of the Startup, but for it’s entire existence.
Emails can be used for many things, but mainly:
With that in mind, it’s very important to be able to write good emails. Writing in itself is a huge skill, with many smaller parts each needing it’s own skill and email is just one of them.
2. Writing Sales Copy
Next up we have a second writing skill — but this time it’s for Sales Copy. Sales Copy is used on a number of platforms, such as landing pages and websites, to specific marketing and advertising.
This skill does interlink with writing emails when it comes to writing sales emails. However compared to writing any other email, it’s a very different skill to have.
Obviously the goal of sales copy is to sell something — usually a product or an offer, but it could also be an idea or other actions. If your copy is able to persuade somebody to pass over their contact details, or click a button — that is technically a sale too!
Plus, if you’re able to teach somebody something, and have them agreeing with you on a certain topic, again you’ve also sold to that person.
3. Logo Design
This is more of a niche skill. Whilst the two writing skills we’ve covered will be utilised throughout the Startups life-cycle, logo designs will usually only be used periodically.
Of course the first time this skill is needed is for launching the Startup. Then, as the Startup grows, other subset brands may be born with individual products and services, each needing their own logo.
Plus on average a business will re-brand once every six-seven years. That re-branding, designed to refresh marketing and re-identify with existing audiences, as well as to appeal to new audiences, will need new logos designing too.
4. Graphic Design
Graphic Design is much like the writing skills in that it will always be needed. Not necessarily every single day, but any time a new marketing or sales piece is created.
Graphic Design can be used in so many ways for Startups, or for any business for that matter. All the way from external signing, to websites and landing pages, to magazine adverts and pay per click advertising, Graphic Design plays it’s part.
5. Content Creation
Next up we have content creation — this is a skill that encompasses many of the skills we’ve already covered, as well as some we’re about to cover.
Content Creation is the skill to create engaging content, such as images, videos, free documents etc with the goal of providing lots of value to the audience, leading to a brand awareness, following and increased likening.
All of this is not done out of the goodness of the Startups heart however — Its designed to ultimately lead to sales and clients.
Due to the varied nature of content creation, many skills are needed such as writing, graphic design, video editing, social media and so on.
But the skill of content creation itself is being able to really identify what kind of content would be of most interest and value, and putting that together in an engaging way.
And this is a skill that Startups will always need — because there will always be a need for creating content to give value as part of the sales process.
6. Video Editing
Next we have Video Editing. As we just covered, this skill is essential to content creation if the content being put together is video based. But there are many other uses for video, not only from the beginning of a Startup, but throughout it’s long and prosperous life.
Sales and product videos, testimonials, company introductions/tours, webinar recordings and of course content are all needed.
7. Per Per Click Advertising
Next up we have PPC Advertising — this could include paid adverts on Google, Facebook, Youtube and so on. Of all of the 9 skills listed, this is perhaps the one farthest out of reach of Startups.
There are many different elements that go into PPC Advertising, and without optimising this it’s easy to burn money for next to no results.
The key for Startups with PPC Advertising is being able to go forth and seek out the perfect target audience for their business and services — and start advertising to them!
The reason this is so key to Startups is Startups will not have brand awareness and a following because they’ve just started up. It will take months, even years, to build a substantial following and awareness.
To tackle this, Startups need to invest in PPC Adverts to acquire clients, and not wait for clients to come to them — because that just won’t happen!
8. Social Media
Next we have Social Media — Social Media is essential to putting some of the other skills, such as content creation to use. So knowing what the main social medias are — and how to use them is essential.
CLICK HERE for a quick post where I cover The Big Six Social Medias.
9. Landing Page Building
Last but not least we have the building of Landing Pages. Landing Pages are basically small websites, designed to achieve a certain goal — make a sale, acquire an opt in (email address etc), get a sign up to something.
The reason I’ve put this skill instead of Website and Webpage building is because for Startups a full Website just isn’t needed. Eventually, it will be and it can be started now — but don’t expect many visitors or results.
Instead Startups should focus on specific landing pages, with content taken from many of the other skills covered, and focusing on achieving something.
Don’t over complicate the audience by offering too much via a website.
To put some more content into the role each of these 9 skills play, as well as why they all need to be used, I’ve come up with a very basic example scenario:
A Startup creates Social Media accounts and puts their newly designed Logo and branding on it.
They Create Content including Videos and start to post them, slowly building an audience.
They then begin to run PPC Ads either through social media or Google.
These Ads direct to a newly built Landing Page that has been graphically designed to look good and appeal to the audience.
The Sales Copy on the landing page convinces visitors to input their details in exchange for further free content.
A well written sales email is later sent out promoting a product and an offer, requiring the readers to take a certain action such as calling up to place their order.
Of course each of these skills have multiple uses, but I hope this one examples just shows the power they can play towards Startups getting their first clients.
There you have it — the 9 skills every Startup needs from day one. But remember, each of these skills can be easily outsourced, so don’t panic if you can only do a handful of these.
This list is not designed to put anybody off but instead just help Startups realise exactly what is needed to get started and why they’re needed.
And for those skills that you may have but have yet to perfect, don’t panic. The more you use the skills, the better you’ll get!