To be a truly great business owner requires certain skills. Running a business is no easy feat and as well as a vision, determination and willpower there are some skills you should have in order to succeed in the day-to-day running of your business. Here are seven skills you need to develop to be a successful business owner.
Having strong communication skills is an important life skill but they are particularly necessary for business owners and those in charge of leading people. In order for your business to be successful, you need to be able to effectively communicate with your staff and your clients and customers. Effective communication as a business owner means being able to instruct, direct, encourage and help your employees and clients in a way that it is respectful and clearly understood. It is important to remember that communication is more than just what you are saying but encompasses your body language, your tone, your facial expression and the context that you are in. Great business owners are aware of this and are able to communicate their message articulately while taking into account these factors. As well as this, successful business owners know that communication is a two-way street and that part of being an effective communicator is being an active listener and knowing what questions to ask to clarify complex situations.
Part of being a business owner with a team of staff is knowing how to delegate and assign tasks in a way that ensures productivity and positive outcomes. As the owner of your business, you probably know every aspect of it and how you want it to be done however as the business grows you can’t be responsible for everything and you need to be able to relinquish control and trust your staff with certain tasks. Delegation should find a balance between being able to track what staff members are doing and allowing them to do the work without harassing them. A skill of delegating is identifying what staff members are most suitable for certain tasks and how to best distribute different workloads.
The ability to successfully negotiate is an important skill as a business owner as you will probably find yourself involved in different negotiation scenarios on a daily basis. Negotiation isn’t just about figuring out salaries and pay packages with your staff. The ability to negotiate refers to your ability to settle differences without conflict and find a solution that two parties can both agree on, while still ensuring that you get what you need. Negotiating is an important part of interacting in the workplace, especially when you are in a management or leadership position. As a business owner, being a good negotiator can also mean knowing when to say no in situations that are non-negotiable.
Successful business owners are those who have a vision and set goals to achieve that vision. Effective goal setting is a skill that you should seek to develop and hone as a business owner. This may sound like a simple thing to do but it is often easier said than done. Goal setting requires identifying the tasks and work that needs to be completed in order to achieve certain objectives and how you and your team will go about achieving this work. You need to think about timeframes, costs, staff and strategies when it comes to thinking about what goals you need to set to move your business forward. Being an effective goal setter comes with practice and experience but by setting goals in your personal life, tracking your business and staff performance and being transparent with employees, you can improve your ability to set realistic goals.
Financial literacy is a more practical skill and one that can be learnt quickly and efficiently with some dedicated time and research. As a business owner, it is vital that you have an understanding of money, the profits and costs of your business and how to manage these. While you may have staff who manage the finances day-to-day or an accountant for tax purposes, it is still incredibly important that you are aware of the role money is playing in your business and of the financial processes at play. For example, some skills that you should have are being able to understand cash flow projections, read balance sheets and profit and loss reports, and make business decisions that relate to expansion. You should have knowledge of certain financial terms and be able to gauge the effect certain financial decisions will have on the company.
Organisation and time management
Organisational skills and effective time management are essential to a business owner who wants to be successful. Being organise prevents mistakes or errors being made, optimises time and reduces your stress. It allows you to work, delegate, negotiate and set goals more efficiently. Being organised as a business owner means knowing what is going on in your business, knowing what tasks staff members are working on and knowing what is coming up for the company. This allows you to effectively manage your time according to the number of commitments and tasks you have to do. There are plenty of organisational tools to help you with managing your time and tasks and these can play an effective role in running your business.
Empathy is something we should all try and practice in our day-to-day lives regardless of what job we have. However, successful business owners should consider how important empathy is in the workplace. Being empathetic as a business owner means being able to put yourself in the shoes of your staff and your clients to understand how they are feeling so that you can behave accordingly. Business owners who are empathetic are more likely to find success because it is a way of showing kindness to your employees and provide them with the support they need to develop and grow and in turn, help the business.
Jade Anderson is an experienced In-house Editor at Upskilled. With a background in online marketing, Jade has always had a love for the written word. She enjoys being able to combine these skills with her passion for the education industry.