Success in business hinges on a range of key business skills. Without them your progress in the face of ever increasing competition will be held back and your frustration will increase. It is true to say that if you compared two businesses in the same market doing the same thing, the difference in performance will be down to the differences in the leadership, and the differences in the leadership will be primarily governed by the skills and knowledge of the leaders. So the sooner one gains these skills the quicker you will be successful.
Having worked with hundreds of business owners over the years, these are the most important skills someone in business should have.
What are Key Business Skills?
Business is a multi-faceted undertaking that combines a range of activities and concepts. The central product or service being delivered is obviously something that has to be done well but that is only a small factor in determining overall success. Wrapped around that central product or service is a range of ancillary activities that are vital to producing the desired business outcomes of profit growth and business value growth. It is not uncommon for people to start businesses where not only is there a lack of key business skills, but no awareness of the key business skills that are required.
1 Strategic Thinking
Business is not a short term play. Strategic Thinking is the thought process one engages in to devise long term competitive advantage for a business. The quality of this process is what will ultimately bring profound and lasting benefit to the business.
Arguably, nothing happens without a plan. Planning is the process used to develop the sequence of actions that will ultimately culminate in achieving a goal or objective. A plan will identify and quantify the resources and time required. It helps deal with challenges and problems at an intellectual level, less expensively and more quickly than if these were dealt with in a real world situation
Leverage is probably the most fundamental business concept there is. In fact, business itself is nothing more than an exercise in Leverage. There are many definitions of Leverage but essentially it relates to being able to take small actions and to get comparatively big results. The most important form of leverage is knowledge. The more knowledge you have, the more power and influence you can wield and the less risk you take.
4 Business Finance
One engages in business in order to generate profit. The way we measure the value of a business is by the amount of profit it makes. Business finance is all the numerical logic behind the determination of profit. Without a grasp of Business Finance it is very difficult to measure progress or gauge performance.
5 Emotional Intelligence
Businesses employ people and have people as their customers. People’s behaviour and actions are significantly affected by their emotions. Emotional Intelligence is ones ability to recognise ones own and others emotions and to use this information to guide thinking and behaviour.
6 Business Software
Software is an important leverage tool. In this day and age, business needs to move quickly and be efficient. There are many categories of business software and a business leader should be aware of all of these; their uses and their benefit.
It almost goes without saying that proficiency with business productivity software is hugely advantageous. Any business owner who does not know how to set up a basic spreadsheet that contains formulae is at a distinct disadvantage.
Businesses have a degree of complexity that is unavoidable. There are many details, activities and actions that need to harmonise to produce a good result. For this to be the case everything needs to be well organised.
8 Sales and Marketing
The most crucial skill of all is how to generate revenue in your business. This aspect should receive the most attention and be the centre point of most business that have a growth agenda. Once most of the other business actions and arrangements are in place, the issue of revenue generation continues to be an ongoing focus of any business forever and ever.
Is this the complete list of skills you need? Depends who you ask.
What skills do you think are critical?