Business Skills You Should Have
There are some skills that you should have when you run a business. The great news is you have the time to learn them as you go. Starting small gives you the benefit of taking training classes, learning from peers, and learning by doing. It is prudent to have a few of these in the bank before you launch, but theory and practice are really different. Knowing how to pitch, and pitching is a different ball game – for example.
You are likely either solving problems for your clients or solving problems in your business. Your decision-making skills will be put to the test often. In ways, you might not even notice. When you are building your social media campaigns, are you running yellow or orange banners? When you have two clients from different backgrounds, but you can only take one. What about contract management? To take a business loan, or rely on your savings. There will be times of pressure too. Good decisions and great decisions aren’t in the same region. And bad ones will make an impact.
If you are a one-person business, then your options to delegate will be limited to outsourcing. Outsourcing will great, solves problems in the short term. There is a lot of time required to get the right freelancers to delegate too. If you have staff, you’ll need to know which tasks only you can do, and which can be handed out. Managing your time well will give you a lot more room to play with. Poor time management will mean that even tasks that need your full attention will need to be handed out. And while there are tools to help you stay on top of everything, you need to be disciplined enough to manage them.
Marketing is in such an exciting state right now. And, likely for the foreseeable future. Where many years ago you would be fighting for space in a newspaper or a magazine, you’re now in a global online space. And the fact is that actually, you can’t oversaturate an area that moves so quickly. People are continually pumping out content. Which means you are also competing for attention on a massive scale too. Your marketing needs to witty, eye-catching, funny, and display in less than three seconds why someone should click your links and even glance at your products. Promoting is a skill, and no matter how good at marketing you are, you need to continue to evolve and move with the latest technology and platforms.
We can all talk, but not everything we say has value. We can all listen, but not many people listen with the intention of absorbing rather than waiting for their turn to speak. Real communication is a skill, and usually, that is why you will find it as a module in many business courses. Having effective communication skills – both verbal and written – is essential. You need to adjust your tone and approach for clients, customers, face-to-face, and online. It is the only way you will be able to keep your working relationships in good order and build loyalty and support from customers.
From day one, you should be able to manage your finances. But in the early days, it is often very muddy. Personal and business are legally allowed to go in and out of the same account (subject to company legal setup), but it doesn’t take long before that becomes too difficult to pick apart. When tax and VAT time come around, are you sitting sifting through months of accounts looking for things you had to buy? You need to find an invoice system that works for you, plus consider your terms and conditions. Without them, you might find you are in a 60-day payment term and have bills to pay in 30.
How you treat the people who are considering buying from you, or already are customers matters. If they’re going to make future purchases or give you a bad review will all come down to how you handle situations. If you want, you can outsource customer services to train professionals – it will give you one less thing to handle. But before you hand it off, you’ll need to have a playbook written out. Can you offer a discount, a replacement, or another solution to the problem?
The day will come when you hit the time to grow your business. And you’ll be leading a team. Leadership is a very particular skill because great leaders provide more than just some to listen to. They are worth following, learning from, and working with.
Learn as much as you can, and always put it into practice as early as possible.
Categories: Outside Contributors