If you are thinking of becoming a small business owner, or you already are, and you want to improve your abilities, then you should reflect on the sort of skills you will need to succeed.
It is easy to imagine that life as a small business owner mostly involves you managing a team of people whom themselves have skills that are beneficial to your business. This is true, but it negates the fact that, as the owner, you will need a particular set of skills to enable the enterprise to function at all.
This is a challenge that is unique to small business owners because you will have fewer specialists around you who can take charge of different departments. In a huge corporation, the CEO doesn’t have to worry about day-to-day money matters, marketing campaigns, or production processes because there are individual managers who look after those areas.
Whereas, when you are a small business owner, every pillar of your company is under your direct control, forcing you to take a more active role in a variety of tasks.
These tasks could include the management of your corporate finances – whether invoicing, tax payments, or the investment of your balance sheet – the management of your team, target setting, networking, or brand marketing.
It is not possible to be a master of all these skills at once, and you do not need to be. You simply need to have a firm enough grasp of them to keep them ticking over from week to week.
As your business expands, you will hopefully be able to hand these tasks over to a specialist, but in the meantime, it is imperative that you keep on top of them directly.
These are the skills you need to excel as a small business owner:
You need to manage your finances correctly
One of the most underrated skills a small business owner should possess is a sound knowledge of corporate finances.
Nothing has a more direct influence on the success or failure of your company than financial management, so it is imperative that you develop your ability to understand how to execute it correctly.
This could mean enrolling in a dedicated course to learn more about it or simply improving your knowledge base by researching concepts like depreciation in accounting and how money itself works.
Once you have developed a superior financial education, you will find it easier to manage the available money in your corporate account, improve your cash flow and invest in the right areas.
After all, managing company money isn’t just about drawing out a healthier profit. It is about investing in new business resources and expanding the organization.
Have a basic understanding of your employees’ daily tasks
When you run a small business, it is unlikely that your organization has countless sprawling departments, all crammed with experts who complete tasks you know little about.
Instead, you are likely to know each employee on a first-name basis and have probably even recruited them yourself. However, just because you have employed them to do a job you don’t or can’t do on your own doesn’t mean you should neglect to understand their daily role.
By developing your understanding of each area of your business, you can make more informed decisions regarding staffing, strategic investment, future target setting, and personnel performance auditing.
Not only this, but by dedicating time to understanding each role, you will likely make every employee feel valued and listened to, which will raise team morale as a result.
Learn to become an effective leader
One of the most crucial roles a small business owner must play is that of the leader. You will be the recognizable figurehead of the brand to both customers and staff, which means that you should work on your leadership skills to ensure you fulfill the role to the best of your abilities.
When managing your staff, you should take an active interest in each employee’s role, regularly corresponding with them to ensure they have everything they need to succeed.
This could include anything from further training to certain tools or even emotional support if they feel undervalued or are going through tough times in their personal life. While it is not your role to be a friend, a small business is an intimate environment, and you should instill a sense of family spirit in your team.
Indeed, your personality will form a crucial element in both the internal atmosphere of your business and the brand itself. Don’t be afraid of standing out as a leader and making your presence felt. As long as you are a positive influence, your team and customers will revel in your leadership.
Develop your social skills
A key quality that is severely underrated among any successful business person is effective social skills.
You can’t reach the top of your field without curating a large network of colleagues, investors, customers, suppliers, and fellow business owners, which requires you to have great social skills.
No one wants to be associated with a rude, abrupt, or overly dull business owner – no matter how able you are at your role – so be sure to work on key details like fashion, body language, charisma, and public speaking abilities as well as listening skills.
This is especially important in an era of celebrity business owners. The social media age has made brands more centered on personality than ever, so you should ensure that your business is not being let down by your less-than-friendly appearance.
Become an expert marketer
Developing a successful small business is as much about marketing as it is about the product or service itself. This is because you will struggle to match the market share of larger competitors, meaning your only hope is to have a stronger and more distinct brand identity.
Ultimately, you have to persuade everyone from future board members to customers to invest in you, so develop your ability to market your brand – both personally and professionally.
By improving your brand management skills, you will find it easier to establish your own unique niche in your industry, attract the best talent to work for you, and foster a strong customer base who buy from you again and again.