What skills are necessary to own and run a business?
Not everyone is equipped to own a small business or handle the impact on one’s personal life. You need to understand the essential qualities for owners…
You can still be successful even if you don’t possess every skill needed to run a small business. There are, however, certain qualities that you should possess if you’re to be successful:
• Strong interpersonal skills.
If you thought that getting along with your boss was tough, wait until you have to deal with suppliers, customers, employees, lawyers, accountants, government officials, and everybody in between. Successful owners are able to work with all personality types, and they’re able to find out from their customers what they like and don’t like.
• Strong leadership skills.
Successful owners understand that others are looking to them to be led to the promised land. Others will be looking to you for answers, and if you’re not ready for that responsibility, you probably shouldn’t own your own business.
• Strong organizational skills.
Successful owners are able to keep track of everything that’s going on in their business and to set priorities and get things done. They know that if they lose track of what’s going on, they’re sunk.
• Intelligence. We’re not talking about the ability to score well on standardized tests. We’re talking more about street smarts and common sense. Successful owners are able to anticipate problems before they arise and to take pre-emptive steps to avoid them. They also know how to solve a crisis after it occurs.
• Management ability. Small business is all about managing relationships–with your customers or clients, your employees, your suppliers, your accountant, your lawyer, your banker, and with your family. If you don’t think you can effectively manage those relationships, you shouldn’t start a new business.
• Business experience. Without some solid business experience, you’re probably not going to be able to borrow any money. Your banker will want to know about your experience, not just in business, but in the same field as the business you’re hoping to start. If you lack the experience, go get it however you can: volunteer at an existing business or try to get a part-time or weekend job in the field.
• Willingness to sacrifice.
You must be willing to accept the fact that, as a small business owner, you are the last one to be paid. Your bank, your vendors, and your employees are all in line ahead of you. You must also be willing to sacrifice much of what once was your free time. If you like working set hours, knowing how much you’ll make, and taking three weeks of vacation every year, don’t go into business for yourself.
How will you react when business isn’t going as well as your expected? A pessimist may fold the tent, but an optimist who believes in the business will keep going. Successful owners are optimists who are able to weather the rough spots.
Last but not least, successful business owners understand their limitations and look for outside help. An accountant is a natural and helpful ally in dealing with the financial management of the business and most business owners use one from day one. But what about marketing, sales, managing people, business development and growth……….and the 101 other things that start to eat up your time as a business owner. Here, a professional business advisor is invaluable as everything from a shoulder to cry on to a sounding board for your own ideas. Most importantly, a business advisor can help you move forward by helping you make sense of the myriad business challenges you face and by overcoming them, build the business you always dreamed of.