Much of the change over the last decade has been driven by a certain type of person: part developer, part entrepreneur. People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and so on.
But being a successful entrepreneur requires completely new skills from those that make one a successful developer. It requires a different mindset. Some skills you might already have. Others, you’re going to have to acquire. Let’s review what it takes to transition from a developer to a successful entrepreneur.
First, think about the customers and then begin developing your product. Think about what’s going to bring in value to the lives of other people. You can’t create a product and then check if there is it is in demand. Do your research, think about the market, get to know your customer and then develop an app.
Perseverance is the most important trait found in successful entrepreneurs. As a developer, you think logically and come to conclusions, which is a great trait to possess. However, in entrepreneurship, there will be times when you do all the right things, meet the right people and yet have failures. To get your company off the ground, you need to be passionate and excited about what you’re working on.
What you know and what you’ve developed, it’s very important. But what’s more important is who you know. As an entrepreneur, you should focus on becoming a truly skilled business networker. Imagine having a business idea that’s so wonderful, that you can pick up the phone and call four or five people who can help you turn it into a reality.
If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s essential to possess critical thinking skills. Without thinking critically, it’s hard to evaluate whether the application that you have developed will be useful and valuable.
You are always going to love what you have created, but it is crucial to think from the users’ perspective.
Businesses are like living creatures, and all organs need to work in harmony. Developers build things, marketers get customers and sales people sell products. The trick is to find the right people for your business. Your ideas and thinking will need to align with the ideas of people that you are working with.
Entrepreneurs need to play the role of a sales person, whether they like it or not. To build a successful business, you will need to sell your ideas, products or services to customers, investors and even employees. You should be ready to work and be there when customers want to buy.
Furthermore, you should know how to let go and move on when they don’t like the idea.
Things rarely go as planned in software development. Project scope creeps, clients expectations rise, or bugs seem to appear mysteriously. Even the most experienced developers can’t predict all possible scenarios, that’s why they have to be ready with contingencies. This is true in the world of business start-ups. Entrepreneurs need to be prepared for the unexpected and be able to adapt.
At every step of the way, you'll be telling stories. When pitching your idea, when recruiting new hires, when getting new customers in your business. It is the most under-looked skill and at the same time brings the highest ROI if you decide to commit to getting better at it. Every great entrepreneur, regardless of their background is a very very good storyteller.