There’s a lot more to being a business owner than meets the eye. Most entrepreneurs have to be jacks of all trades, especially if their business is a start-up and employing a team is a goal that’s yet to be reached. This is why it’s super important for you to upskill yourself – your business kinda depends on your ability to juggle it all, from sales to marketing and finance.
So, check out these top 5 skills to work on, that’ll give your small business a boost!
What skills should you focus on as an entrepreneur?
1. Marketing: why is your business the best in the business?
Do you know how to position your products and services in a way that attracts attention and piques the interest of potential customers? Marketing is all about creating demand for what you’re offering, so a major factor here is to make sure you stand out from the crowd.
The world of marketing can get a bit complex when terms like ‘SEO’, ‘keyword research’, and ‘pay per click’ are thrown around. Not to fear! There are many – easy and cost effective – ways to learn the ins and outs of marketing, without having to spend tens of thousands of rands.
A good place to start is by checking out Udemy’s marketing courses. You can choose from a wide range of courses such as Marketing 101 and Effective Small Business Marketing. And what’s the best part about Udemy? You can learn all of this and more, for mahala!
2. Financial management: balancing the books.
I know this one sounds like you need to have a 4-year degree under your belt to master, but hear me out: financial management is all about reconciling your money. The whole point of managing your finances is to track how much money your small business is making by breaking down your sales and expenses. Once you have a good understanding of your business’s profit or loss, you’ll be able to maximize cash flow, plan for the future, and address underperforming areas of your business.
You can learn the ropes in financial management from blogs, podcasts and even YouTube. But, beware of taking (and implementing) advice from strangers on the internet, because you don’t always know who you can trust. Rather use these resources as a pathway to getting a better grip on your business’s financial management. Check out SME South Africa’s financial management blog sub-category and Sage’s Accounting 101 blogs.
3. Communication: let’s talk about it!
Truth be told, your communication skills as a business owner can make or break you. How well you do when communicating with people around your business can be the difference between sealing a deal and missing out on a potential opportunity.
Being friendly and welcoming goes a long way in helping you build solid business relationships. Being good at communicating with your customers, employees and suppliers will level-up your business – guaranteed!
A good starting point to honing your communication skills, is looking at how you’d approach customer (and employee) feedback. Feedback is key to the success of any business, but you’ll only see results if you’re open to it. So, get out there and chat to your customers. They’ll appreciate the fact that you care about their opinion and are more likely to return, I promise!
4. Customer service: are customers really always right?
Eish, I know customers aren’t always right, but this is still a good principle to keep in mind when dealing with customers (well, most of them at least).
If you want your customers to stick around (and I’m sure you do!), you’ve really got to nail your customer service. Fear not, because the basic principles are pretty simple to master! You’ll need to learn how to deal with angry customers and negative reviews effectively, and how to listen and respond to queries and complaints with empathy and timeously.
Keep in mind that being patient and remaining calm when interacting with an upset customer will help a lot – I know it’s not a nice feeling to find yourself in the middle of a debacle, but always remember that how you react in these instances, represents your brand and will affect your business reputation.
5. Sales: do you have what it takes to close the deal?
To be good at sales, you’ve got to be able to convince your customers that they need (or really want) your products or services. Bear in mind, however, the fine line between being convincing and being forceful.
Mastering the art of sales rests on the ability to show your customers that you resonate with and understand their thoughts, feelings and challenges. It doesn’t stop there, though. Once you’ve got the understanding part covered, you’ve got to show them the value that your products or services will add to their lives. Focus on what your customer will get out of it, and you can’t go wrong!
By no means do you have to be an A-student in all of these skills – but working on improving them will do your small business a ton of good! What other skills do you think are important for every business owner to have? Let me know in the comments below!