Essential Startup Skills You Won’t Learn in College

Startup skills

Earning a college degree has many advantages – it gives you knowledge, capabilities, it challenges you and helps you become ready to… well, enter the corporate world. Even though there are many colleges teaching entrepreneurship as a discipline, many startup founders find out the hard way that entrepreneurship is learned by practice, not on theory. Depending on your major, you’ve probably learned valuable skills – how to write business plan, how to calculate valuation, or how to program. But there are some skills, like the following five, which are rarely successfully thought in college, but are extremely important for entrepreneurs.


The ability to successfully negotiate is very important for entrepreneurs. Through negotiation, startup founders achieve the best possible outcomes for their businesses, avoid unnecessarily arguments and unproductive disputes and find fair compromises. The ability to effectively negotiate with investors, business partners, suppliers and so on, gives many advantages, yet this skill is not commonly though in college.

Strategic Networking

College is a great place to meet like-minded people, driven by the ambition to learn, grow and become successful. Many startup co-founders have met in college, proving that some of the most valuable connections are often made in campus. Yet, in college people rarely network strategically and are not thought how to do so. When we talk about networking in the entrepreneurial world, we emphasize on the importance of building strong relationships, which bring value over time. Strategic networking is related with the clear definition of a specific goal and a strategy that will lead you to the achievement of this goal.


Having good sales skills is one of the most important traits of successful entrepreneurs. Many people have the talent and are natural born sales superstars. These are the lucky ones! But learning sales in a class room can’t be very successful. Good sales skills are crafted through practice. The practice teaches to get used to hearing NO, to face rejection, to ask countless questions and to enhance your people skills tremendously. And all of these are not though in college!

Opportunity making

In entrepreneurship seizing every opportunity is extremely important. But more importantly, entrepreneurs should be able to create opportunities themselves. Thinking big and working towards turning your ideas and concepts into reality helps extraordinary entrepreneurs to never be afraid of failure and to keep going even when the odds are against them. Being an opportunity maker is rarely thought in college and is a skill, which entrepreneurs should teach themselves with time and practice.

Thinking out-of-the-box

College professors rarely encourage their students to think out-of-the-box and to question everything they hear. The freedom to follow even the bravest and craziest ideas if you are passionate enough about them is something innate to entrepreneurs. College courses inspire creativity, but also often the students choose not to risk getting a low grade just because they submitted a project that is too brave, ambitious and “misses the mark”.

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