To grow your small business, you need more than funding alone. You also need key skills that can help you build your team, manage your company, and make the most of your resources. Learn about 13 important skills required for business management.
1. Financial Management
For small business owners, good financial management skills are essential. Your finances keep your business running by paying your employees and suppliers and allowing you to invest in new equipment and technology. As a business owner, you should know how to create a budget for the year, forecast your sales and cash flow, and track your revenue. You should also know how to estimate your quarterly taxes and pay them on time.
2. Customer Service
No matter what industry you're in or what kind of products and services you sell, good customer service skills always play an important role in business growth.
After all, customer service is all about building relationships, and creating strong connections with your clients is a great way to grow your business. To demonstrate good customer service, focus on listening carefully to your clients' questions, problems, and feedback. Strive to respond to issues in a way that satisfies your customers and encourages them to become repeat clients.
3. Efficient Communication
Whether you sell directly to customers or you market to businesses, small business owners have to know how to communicate effectively. To hone your communication skills, listen carefully, speak concisely, read critically, and write clearly every time you interact with a client, supplier, or industry connection. Pay attention to expressions, tone of voice, and body language to communicate as successfully as possible.
4. Holding Effective Meetings
As a small business owner, you're frequently responsible for leading meetings with staff and clients. To get the most out of each meeting, it's essential to plan and distribute an agenda ahead of time. Make sure you have all the technology you need, from online meeting software to projectors and screens, and understand how to use them. After each meeting, make a point of following up on action items to ensure that you're on track to accomplish the new goals you've set.
5. Strong Leadership
As your business grows, you're likely to bring on new employees. To build a strong team, leadership skills are essential. To manage your organization effectively, you'll want to reward your team for good performance while also holding them accountable for mistakes. You'll also need to be a good role model for your team, which includes holding yourself responsible for successes and failures.
6. Managing Diversity
When you build a successful team, there's a good chance you'll seek out qualified employees with diverse backgrounds. After all, hiring a diverse workforce means drawing from a wider range of experience and viewpoints, fostering innovation, and creating a resilient company. To become a successful manager for your growing team, you'll need to learn how to engage with your team, find out what motivates them, and exercise empathy as you lead a diverse group of employees.
7. Employee Motivation
Whether you have a small team or several employee divisions, good management requires keeping your staff motivated to do their best. After all, the success of your business depends on your employees delivering their best performance. To motivate your employees, you'll need to find out what drives them to succeed, from bigger paychecks and more benefits to increased power and better job titles. Once you've identified what motivates your staff, you can set expectations and reward your staff accordingly.
When you manage a business, you encounter problems of all sizes constantly, from dissatisfied customers to serious delays in your product development timeline. To move past small matters and major mistakes alike, you'll need great problem-solving skills, often under pressure. Solving problems successfully requires identifying the source of the issue, researching potential fixes, weighing your options, and implementing the most effective solution.
No matter the size of your company, you never run your business alone. Connecting with other business owners and mentors in your industry is essential for support, answering questions, and accessing resources. To connect with other business owners, join local networking groups, attend trade shows, or attend chamber of commerce events. You can also talk shop with other business managers on social media or in online forums.
10. Project Management
As a small business owner, you're constantly involved in project management. Whether you're just starting your company or you've been in business for years, it's important to know how to plan and execute projects successfully. You'll want to take stock of your resources by estimating how much time, money, and labor you'll need to make a project happen. Then you can create a timeline, assign staff, and deploy resources as necessary for anything from launching a website to researching and developing a new product line.
11. Time Management
You can always apply for more business funding or hire additional employees. Since time is the one resource that you can't replenish, having strong time-management skills is essential for building a successful business. Assess each task you complete and determine which are truly worth your time. Delegate tasks to qualified members of your team and make more time for projects that allow you to create value within your company.
To stay ahead of the competition in your industry, it's important to understand the latest technology. However, that doesn't always mean buying the most expensive computers or upgrading your machines the moment something new comes out. Rather than investing in the newest equipment, do your research carefully. Learn which technology can help you improve productivity or produce better services, and invest in systems and equipment that can help you achieve your business goals.
13. Strategic Thinking
For high-level managers and small business owners, it's critical to focus on the long term. To work toward long-term goals, you'll need to prioritize strategic planning over short-term task completion. Thinking strategically gives you an opportunity to devise big goals, develop major projects, and plan for large acquisitions and investments. Although strategic planning requires time and practice, it's key to growing your business and making a name for yourself in your industry.
With these essential skills for business management, you can grow and run a business effectively. If you need a hand acquiring or improving these business management skills, consider reaching out to other small business owners or joining a networking group in your area.