Are you a new entrepreneur, about to switch careers and embark on your very first business? Or maybe you’re a skilled manager looking to hone your skills? No matter where you are on the scale, every owner and high-level executive of a business should master a few key skills to achieve the best possible results in the workplace.
Whether you need to get better at learning how to source investment capital, increase the sales of the firm, brand your business, or talk to clients, there are plenty of areas to focus on to polish your entrepreneurial skills.
Read on for three of the key skills that successful business people master.
You don’t need to be an accountant to run a business well, but it does make a big difference if you can learn the fundamentals of finance. To help you understand where your business currently is, and what you’ll need in order to grow, it pays to be comfortable with profit and loss statements, balance sheets, tax implications, funding options, sales projections and so on.
The more comfortable you can be with the numbers in your business, the easier it will be to make both small and large decisions about the future of your company. After all, you’re the one who needs to find ways to cut costs when needed, optimize the efficiency of the business and come up with ways to increase revenue or even afford new premises.
While it’s always helpful to have an accountant on hand to handle the day-to-day tasks involved with finance, you don’t want to leave everything up to them. You also need to know how to properly interpret the information they provide you with.
If you need to improve your skills in this area of business, the best way to start is by diving straight into your accounts. Spend time reading all of the financial data of the company and learn your way around your accounting system so that you know how to do things such as run reports and see cash flow figures at a glance.
Many account providers have videos and other tutorials that users can utilize to learn about the ins and outs of a system. Alternatively, if this isn’t available, you can ask your accountant to spend some time teaching you the basics. Even taking just half an hour every few days to look over the firm’s numbers and projections will help you steadily build your financial knowledge. You’ll have a better handle on your business overall and you’ll know when to approach investors for capital when your business is ready to take the next step.
Another key part of building a solid business is understanding sales. While you may have a specific team that handles the daily task of interacting with current and potential clients to generate new sales, you should also understand how best to sell yourself and your company to others.
Whether you need to pitch your company to potential investors or banks, negotiate with your vendors or convince a top candidate to come work for you, you’ll find that sales are actually a big part of your every day. The fact is, if you’re running a business, you’re involved in sales whether you like it or not.
If you need to get better at fostering relationships with team members, clients or other contacts, or simply want to have more luck persuading people to agree to your requests, getting better at sales is always going to be beneficial.
To improve your sales technique, one of the simplest, yet most impactful things to do is to focus on helping those around you to find solutions to their problems. If you can understand what motivates someone and what they’re looking for, you can work out how to present an option to them that will make them feel good — and therefore incline them to say yes to your proposal.
Being successful in business also involves having a good understanding of branding. This doesn’t just refer to branding your company, though this is vital, but also to your own personal branding.
In order to attract top talent, clients, investors and more, you and your business need to be seen as credible, reliable, helpful and trustworthy. You want to be seen as the expert in your industry, and your firm should have high brand awareness with its target customer base.
In order to increase brand recognition for yourself and/or your firm, you need to first understand what it is that you really offer, and how you’re different from your competition. From there, make sure you’re highly visible in the marketplace.
This visibility isn’t just about placing lots of advertisements, but about showcasing your expertise. Find ways to demonstrate an understanding of the problem your business can help solve, or the benefit it can provide. Spending time blogging, on social media and speaking to the press can quickly generate beneficial branding for your business and put you in front of your target audience.