In business, like in life, certain skills are more useful than others. The challenge of running a business is that the skills needed to succeed can feel rather abstract. In a bid to help you feel more comfortable about running a business, here are five key skills you certainly will need. The right skills can be the difference between lasting success and brutal failure, so it might be worthwhile paying attention to these skills.
If you don’t have these skills, you can learn!
The first skill any good business owner needs is the ability to engage with their employee group. In sports, a manager of a team is there to manage as much as coming up with a winning tactic. If they cannot engage their players to listen and to run through brick walls for them, it does not really matter what ideas they come up with. You need to have people on your staff who feel happy, and crucially can feel themselves growing as professionals.
Many business owners make the mistake of simply expecting their employee to grow as they are in the job. They need to be challenged; they need to be kept on their toes and willing to improve. Are they inspired? If not, why not?
You need to have quality management skills to run a business. If you feel like employees haven’t improved since they came through the door, you have equal blame to take for that stagnation. Why? You aren’t engaging them enough! And if you are the only employee in your business; are you happy, inspired, and growing?
Another vital part of running your business like a well-oiled machine comes from the systems that are in place. Does the system that your business is using have any kind of particular flow to it? If not, that has to change. Every department should be working alongside each other. The ideas department should be working with the sales department to see what people want, and then working with the manufacturing team to discuss viability.
This gets swept under the rug a lot, but it has a massive part to play in business development long-term. If you are looking to be a business leader that your employees are inspired by, you need to help them be more effective and provide meaningful work. Make sure you spend time refining the business processes so everyone works in perfect harmony. Your operation is the environment you would like people to come to, to buy from, to return often, and will grow your business. If your environment isn’t setup or ready, then what exactly will you market?
After you’ve refined your processes and have clear operational excellence, you are now ready for marketing. As you have no doubt noticed, a good business leader is one with an eye for a challenge and change. Marketing mastery comes into play here, and is a major part of the overall experience. You need to be able to help your business be seen – otherwise, what is the point of it even existing?
With that in mind, you should look to build a better marketing plan. You might not be a marketing guru yourself, but you should be looking to learn from an expert. Does your business show up on local directories? On search engines? If not, why not? Do they know about your business and want to show up?
You need to take the time to really appreciate this element of the story. Marketing is a major part of any business today, and a failure to properly market it and harness that power will become a major issue. Think of marketing as the movie trailer of your business. Three main elements should be included in your marketing; what are the problems your clients/customers have, what are the solutions to their problems, and what’s the proof you can solve their problems.
To make your business thrive, you need to invest time and energy into ‘getting’ the modern marketing practices that matters so much.
A key skill of any business leader is their ability to meet the needs of those they serve. Basically, every good business has a purpose beyond just profiting. Your job is to step up and make things easier for your employees. This means getting out there and taking a look at your market and your demographics. What are they looking for specifically? Are you capable of meeting those specific needs?
If not, you need to ask yourself why that might be. A good business leader is an expert in sales, or have access to someone who is, so you should spend some time getting to better understand the complexity of sales. Look at what people in the marketplace seem to want, and then see how you can help to fill the market gap and attend to those needs.
If you are selling a host of products or services but your competition is seeing huge gains selling something else, you need to re-consider why that is. Your business is more than capable of meeting demand if you are willing to work to find out what that is. Worrying more about your competition rather than your own business is a distraction.
Often times we feel we only can do well in sales if we have a niche market. That is not entirely true – it doesn’t hurt, but you will always find a bakery that isn’t doing well and a bakery that is successful. Why? Two things; the right structure (operational expertise) and selling the right products/services that clients/customers need to solve their problem. You don’t have to sell everything for everyone. And not everyone is your ideal client. There are four distinct buying styles of your clients/customers and it’s worth knowing how to flex to each.
The last skill we believe is fundamental to any business being a success is their ability to better understand and comprehend financial thinking. Today, you need to be able to look at the numbers your business is posting (lag measures). If you are seeing large profits, how are you reinvesting them into the future of the business?
If you are seeing losses, why? What has to change (lead measures)? Probably all of the above!
You need to be more responsive to financial thinking, though. Many business leaders like to come up with excuses when things are going bad, but take all the praise when things start going well. While being reactive to the point of kneejerk decisions isn’t advised, you need to be able to read the market and your industry.
If you are seeing numbers drop off, you either need to change how you come across, the services provided or the products you offer long-term. As well as, what expenses can you cut or renegotiate? Be careful of the hand that feeds you; not to go directly to employees salaries only. When you negatively impact the employee group, you’ll end up paying twice as much over the long haul. So, think twice when you’re trying to save a dime at the expense of your employees. They just might bite back, even harder!
So, with that in mind, how do you feel now about your aptitude to run a business?
We don’t say this to leave you feeling poorly about yourself, or to take you down a peg. We say this because we want to help you feel more at peace and at ease with yourself. Now that you know what you need to work on, you can get to work!
It’s much harder to change and improve as a business owner when you don’t know where to start. When you have yourself convinced you’ve already made it, you’ll never maximize your potential.
How are you doing in the 5 critical areas of your business? With so many moving pieces in business today it can be difficult at times to keep top of mind all of the things that require the business owner’s attention. This quick FREE Business Strategy Assessment will provide a snapshot on clarity in the 5 critical areas of your business, find out what may be stopping you from having ultimate success, and what your next steps should be to help uncover customized strategies to get motivated and skyrocket your business to ultimate success. Check out your score now!
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About the author: Kyle Kalloo is the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Executive and Business Coach with Change My Life Coaching and Change My Business Coaching. With 25 plus years of experience in senior management positions, Kyle has established a robust record in strategic positioning and brand management, operations restructuring, feasibility assessments, change management, people engagement, and executive development. Also, he is the recipient of awards for Innovation and Improvement in previous roles. https://www.changemylifecoaching.ca https://www.changemybusinesscoaching.ca