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The Most Important Business Skills for the Workplace

If you own or run a business, you may wonder which skills are the most important for your success. Depending on the type of business you run, you may need to develop some skills more than others and hire the right employees to complement your abilities. Learn about tips to help you assess your own skills and the three most important skills you need to effectively run your business.


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Right from the start: Identifying crucial business skills

As you are planning out your goals for your business, you should  focus on the following five areas to determine the type of business skills you currently have and what you need to develop:

  1. Articulate the vision you have for your company
  2. Consider how big you want your company to be
  3. Think about how large a team you will need
  4. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
  5. Determine the types of skills you want to see in your employees


1. Articulate the vision you have for your company

Think about how you would like to position your company in your chosen industry and what business skills you will need to succeed. For example, you will need to market your business and build a business network. You will have to use several skills to do these things effectively.


2. Consider how big you want your company to be

Part of your vision includes how you would like to grow your business over time, and that will involve management, financial and organizational skills. Create a plan for how large you’d like your company to grow.


3. Think about how large a team you will need

Once you decide how you would like to grow your business, determine how many people you would need to hire to effectively run that business. Of course, you will need to start small at first, but also think about how you will apply your communication skills to hire your first employee.


Related: How to Hire Your First Employee


4. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Effectively developing your business skills requires a self-assessment. Think about the skills you listed for the previous steps and how well you exhibit them. For example, you may have excellent financial skills, but you may need to work on your organizational skills or communication.


5. Determine the type of skills you want to see in your employees

Once you have determined what your strengths and weaknesses are, develop a team of employees with various talents and think about delegating certain tasks to your team. This will inform any job descriptions you write as well as your interview questions.


Related: How to Write a Job Description


Three crucial skills

Three crucial business skills you need for the workplace are in the areas of analysis, communication and management:


1. Analytical skills

You need analytical skills to determine your own strengths and weaknesses, to determine where your business fits in your chosen industry, to gauge how you stand against your competition and to forecast any future success. In order to effectively analyze your situation, you need a variety of tools, including analytical software and industry publications. 


Also, the most important tool you have is your own creativity and problem-solving. Apply past situations, if possible, to follow trends and try to prepare for different possible outcomes. This will help you in strategic planning and budgeting.


2. Communication skills

For your business to be profitable, you, your employees and your associates need to effectively communicate with customers and partners. You need to effectively communicate to interact with your team, to relate your business story and to market your products or services. Excellent communication skills are required for your company to provide excellent customer service. Additionally, you will need to communicate with potential business partners and as part of your networking efforts.


3. Management skills

Good management skills are important for defining roles, delegating tasks and managing your resources. Among your resources are your employees, finances and time. Essential skills to manage these include:


  • Defining roles: Before you hire a team, it helps if you clearly define the roles for every teammate and write an apt job description for each role when looking for quality candidates.

  • Delegating tasks: Ultimately, you will need to delegate some tasks to others. Sometimes, certain team members are better at doing specific tasks. Delegating effectively helps you because it will also allow you to focus on tasks that will generate revenue for your business.

  • Managing employees: Depending on the size of your business, you may have to manage a large team. Part of managing your staff includes thoughtfully and carefully responding to employee limitations and any other challenges they face.

  • Managing finances: This is the most important set of management skills that a business owner must have, because the goal of any business is to turn a profit. In order to succeed in business, the owner of that business must have an acceptable level of financial acumen. Even if the business owner delegates some of the responsibility to a CFO or an accountant, the owner must be aware of their business’s finances, track their company’s progress and understand the basics of accounting. Business owners must also be aware of tax laws.

  • Managing time: You will need to prioritize which tasks you will do each day and find a way to work efficiently.


Business skill FAQ

The most common question people ask about their business skills is:


How can I improve my business skills?

As you work to improve your business skills, here are four things you can do:


  • Read industry publications. Many industries have print publications, websites and blogs. Purchase helpful magazines and books to develop crucial skills, but also try to find some free resources at your local library and online.

  • Follow industry social media accounts online. If you are already on social media, find out if important organizations in your industry also have social media accounts and follow those accounts. Often, organizations use social media to point followers to helpful, informative articles. Some accounts give regular updates and may even encourage interaction.

  • Use your network. If you have friends and a mentor in the industry, take the opportunity to meet with them and talk about your business skills. Your contacts may be willing to give you an honest assessment and offer some advice for improvement.

  • Get some practical experience. Finally, take what you have learned from various sources and your own past experiences. Often, the best way to learn is by doing.
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