5 Startup Skills You Don’t Learn In School

By  |  September 9, 2018

Some people believe getting a college degree is a waste of time, while others are of a different opinion. Most of those who think getting a degree is a waste of time often quote famous achievers who didn’t go to college or dropped out of college.

Most people are quick to mention Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and the likes for dropping out of college to pursue their dreams and yet still making it in life.

Not too long ago, the news broke about 15 companies such as Google, Nordstrom, Apple, Home Depot, IBM, and others that dropped the degree criteria from getting a job.

Whichever side of the divide you belong, you should know that a degree is never a waste of time. Just because you know some people who dropped out of college and made it in life doesn’t mean that you should do at the same time. Do what works for you.

School image created by Freepik

Likewise, just because a degree is essential doesn’t mean you should not pay attention to other skills that are not obtainable in school.

Most times you need both school knowledge and practical knowledge. If you have a degree in business or an MBA, you still need some ‘business-street’ knowledge to help you cope in business.

Here are 5 start-up skills you don’t learn in school but would be very helpful for you:

Networking: As a brand or business owner, you can’t do without networking. Networking helps you connect with and offer value to people who are important to your success and development in business and life. A good business owner must be a skilled networker. Through networking, you can get the information you might have paid for; you can find out about skills and workforce you were oblivious to, you can meet people who may once be difficult to reach, and so on. According to Darrah Brustein of Network Under 40/Finance Whiz Kids in this Inc. magazine article “A large part of success in business comes from the people you know and the power of your network. Schools don’t talk about growing and cultivating networks or the many facets of networking (actively or passively), but everyone has a network, and it would behoove students to learn how to maximize them.”

Product development and innovation: As a business, you need to study the market, know the needs of the market and analysis the demand for the products lacking. In addition, you need to constantly evolve and keep innovating. Keep bringing up different products and services that would constantly meet the evolving needs of your market. Dave Nevogt of Hubstaff.com says in this Inc. magazine article, “You can learn marketing theories and business operation strategies in school, but the school can’t teach you what to sell.”

Productivity: Whether you like it or not, productivity is an important aspect of a business. If you don’t focus on the things that matter and be resourceful, it would be difficult being capable in business. Productivity is something you need to learn and cultivate for you to succeed in business.

Empathy: Every business owner needs to learn how to connect with their internal and external audiences. You don’t just order people around, and you connect with them in a way they would know that you understand them and know exactly how they feel.

Resilience: Do you have enough grit to stay in business? Are you willing to keep going even when you don’t sell most of your products or when you don’t have enough customers? Most of us have heard the famous story about Coca-Cola selling few bottles in their first year of business. Resilience is part of success, and it is something every start-up founder needs to learn and practice.


What are some of the other startup skills that aren’t taught in school? Do drop your comments below.


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