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3 Essential Skills I Learned By Growing My Business From the Ground Up Discover the most effective (and cheapest) way for founders to learn team management, efficient decision-making and other essential leadership skills.

By Aytekin Tank Edited by Kara McIntyre

Key Takeaways

  • You can get a business degree, read all of the entrepreneur memoirs and take all the skills courses you can, but nothing will teach you the most about being an entrepreneur than becoming one yourself and building your business from the ground up.

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Before I became a dad, I bought a handful of parenting books. A type-A planner by nature, I wanted to know exactly what to expect when my wife and I were expecting. I thought if I prepared for it like a college exam, there was no chance I wouldn't ace the test. Then, one day, I was talking to a good friend about a couple of conflicting parenting philosophies, when they told me: Your child is going to teach you how to be a parent.

I was gobsmacked. It was such a simple idea, but it stuck with me. Sure enough, the first time I held our newborn baby, the parenting literature went out the window. As our son grew, he taught us the ABCs of parenting, from the best way to get him to sleep at night to how to get him to giggle every morning. We grew with him, as parents.

In many ways, founding a business follows a similar learning arch. You can get a business degree and read all of the entrepreneur memoirs, gleaning their most valuable lessons, but each company is unique. You'll acquire the business knowledge and leadership skills you need by growing your business from the ground up. That's what I've been doing with my company Jotform for the past 18 years, as we've expanded from one employee and one home office to 660 employees in eight offices across the globe. Here are some of the essential skills I've learned along the way.

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