If you are an individual who has decided to start your own business, you will soon be expected to have a wide variety of different skills.
Though there will likely be some things that you need to get more help from other people than others, being in charge of a new business will be much easier if you can effectively develop a wider range of talents.
Running your own business does not require you to master everything, but there are certainly some skill sets that are useful for entrepreneurs in seemingly every industry.
We take a brief look at some of the most important skills for new business owners to have and how these skills can be effectively gained and utilized over time.
Naturally, no matter how large your business may be or no matter what your business may do, developing communication skills is something that is incredibly important. There are many different types of communication that you may use on an everyday basis and each of these will require the ability to effectively relay an idea to another individual.
- Communicating instructions, expectations, rules, and projects to your employees
- Communicating with suppliers, partners, regulators, and other business-related contacts
- Communicating with current customers, potential customers, and other people seeking to use your product or service
Fortunately, there are many different things you can do to improve your ability to communicate with others. Doing things such as speaking into a mirror, reading the morning news out loud, and engaging in various speaking drills can help you immediately begin to hone your skills. Focusing on things such as non-verbal communication, word choice, and your ability to empathize with others will also be quite beneficial both in business and in life.
Though your business may already have an accounting or finance department, improving your understanding of financial terminology, reporting, and planning will make it much easier for you to become an effective leader.
Being able to demonstrate a firm understanding of your business’ financial situation will enable you to attract clients and make the correct financial decisions over time.
There are a few ways that you can quickly begin to improve your financial literacy. Regularly reading publications such as The Wall Street Journal,
The Economist and various online resources can help you become more familiar with concepts that are likely to come up during the course of running a business. Reading financial textbooks and even taking certain night classes can also help you quickly begin to improve.
Whether you are the sole founder of a new business or contribute to its existence in some other crucial way, it is very likely that your staff will consistently turn to you for leadership. The best leaders are the ones that are able to unite a team of diverse individuals in pursuit of a common goal.
While some leadership qualities may come to people naturally, others can be developed—or effectively enhanced—over time.
Doing things such as engaging in various leadership building exercises, having the courage to speak up in an uncertain situation, and educating yourself about ways to motivate others can each enable you to become a more effective leader. In many ways, becoming a leader is often a choice.
Time management is a skill that will be necessary for seemingly every industry you may be working in. Without the ability to properly manage your time, both your team and your clients will likely have a less than satisfactory experience.
Building effective time management skills can begin with doing things such as regularly using a calendar and creating useful to-do lists. It will also be very important for you to develop a strong understanding of how long certain tasks will take and how long you can feasibly expect yourself to be working on a given day.
Another—and often underappreciated—component of time management and leadership is knowing how to effectively delegate different tasks. Being a good delegator will require you to be able to identify who is best for a given project, communicate with them what needs to be done, and work within a reasonable time-frame.
Good business owners are able to forecast their anticipated revenues and expenses for the coming month. Great business owners are the ones that are able to look ahead even further.
Though your business will certainly encounter some unexpected challenges and may need to adapt its approach over time, being able to plan for the long-run is something that is incredibly valuable in the world of management.
Long-term planning requires the ability to not only recognize the most likely future forecast but to also recognize other possible future scenarios as well.
This way, no matter what the future has in store, your business will be better equipped to properly respond. Doing things such as regularly reading the news (and following general business trends), allowing for some room for error, and consistently using the S.M.A.R.T. goal model are all different ways you can become a better long-term planner.
In the 21st Century, the importance of networking in the world of business is not something that can be easily overstated. Though it is certainly healthy to keep your business life and your personal life separated to a degree, being able to effectively create connections with others is something that will undoubtedly be useful.
There are probably many people you already know who could potentially help your business grow in some way. For example, you may have a direct connection to an accountant, marketer, or social media influencer who—even if you are not planning on hiring them full-time—could likely help your business immediately improve its operations.
The best networkers are the ones who are able to effectively utilize the people they already know (in a way that is mutually beneficial) and also continually be meeting new people. Doing things such as going to conferences, consistently working on your LinkedIn profile, and even just giving out your business card are all great ways to get started.
These are just a few of the skill that can benefit most business owners. If you can try to consistently improve your skillset over time—in these ways and in others—your business will almost certainly stand to benefit.