As an entrepreneur, staying on your toes is crucial when running a business. Markets change, technologies develop, and to stay relevant you need to attain a wide range of skills. Here are the skills that every entrepreneur, regardless of industry, should take the time to learn.

Entrepreneur Skills to Learn When Running a Business

Entrepreneur Skills to Learn When

Running a Business

As an entrepreneur, staying on your toes is crucial when running a business. You need to be aware of the latest trends, fluctuations in the economy, and the work your team is doing. One of the side effects of being an entrepreneur – although some see it as a perk – is that you need to be continually learning. As you go on in your career, it is critical to seek out new skills and knowledge – learning as you go. Markets change, technologies develop, and to stay relevant you need to attain a wide range of skills. Here are the skills that every entrepreneur, regardless of industry, should take the time to learn:

Everyone Else’s Job (Lightly)

You cannot run a business on your own. In most cases, you will require a group of people with varying skills who strive to make the business better. Being the entrepreneur in charge, it is good to keep tabs on the goings-on of the business. Staying informed of who is doing what and the progress on projects are important tasks in ensuring that things remain on track. Although your team can take care of matters so you don’t have to, every entrepreneur should take the time to learn everyone else’s job. Of course, you do not need to know the job in its entirety, but being knowledgeable about the work a team member does can protect you and your business. If that person were to become unavailable temporarily or permanently, you would have to ensure that those duties were covered. If you have the skills, you have the ability to take over if necessary, or to help train someone for the role.

Social Media Usages

Social media is a critical part of your business marketing strategy. If your business is not yet on social media, it is something you need to consider right away. Businesses on social media are more likely to receive engagement from customers and prospects. On Twitter alone, according to Craig Smith from expandingramblings.com, 47% of people who follow a business on Twitter are more likely to visit the company website than if they did not follow them on social media at all – meaning, social media introduces businesses to potential new web visitors that would never have found them otherwise.

As social media is always changing, it is beneficial to be aware of the usages of each platform (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.). If a new social media platform appears, understanding the usages and benefits as they pertain to your business should be considered early on. Ask yourself: Does this social media channel have the functionality to convert followers to clients? Is it on brand? Can I expect an ROI or other goal to be met? Asking yourself these questions (or seeking advice from a marketing professional) can ensure that you stay ahead of trends and reach the right audiences.

New Programs

As technology continues to evolve, new methods and processes are developed. These new programs are designed with entrepreneurs in mind to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. In addition to new programs, there are often hundreds of updates to stay on top of. Some business owners make the mistake of resisting change because they are comfortable with the functionality or layout of the older version. However, with change comes higher performance, and these changes are often noticeably more efficient or offer solutions that you didn’t even know you needed. You may even stumble upon tried-and-true programs that are popular in the market and are worth investing in (Hubspot, MailChimp, Quickbooks online, etc.). Staying informed on new programs and understanding whether or not they will improve your business are elements that every entrepreneur should master. Take the time to investigate these programs and be willing to switch to new software.

Bookkeeping

A business would not be much of a business without money management. The definition of a bookkeeper is: “a person who records the accounts or transactions of a business.” Having bookkeeping abilities is a crucial entrepreneurial skill. Not only is it important to track incoming and outgoing cash, bookkeeping gives you the tools to view the larger financial picture. When starting a business, you may be the only person to perform these duties due to lack of cash flow. It can become a catch 22. On one hand, bookkeeping can be one of the most important aspects of your business and should be left to a professional; on the other hand, you might not have the working capital required to hire a professional. So having at least a basic understanding of payables, receivables, and profit/loss will help you stay on track until you can hand off those duties. In addition to managing the incoming/outgoing finances of your business, having bookkeeping skills can prevent pitfalls, save time for filing, and ensure that you are on top of all your expenses (important for tax season). Once you know what to do, you can take action to make the educated decisions and keep driving the business.

Marketing Strategies

Marketing strategies change every day. New guidelines are created, fads are taken into account in advertisements, and your audience changes. Because of this constant transformation, what worked last year may not work this year, and what you planned for this year may need to be tweaked frequently. The finance company Capital One found that about 76% of business owners report facing marketing challenges – a skill needed to further your business and promote yourself to outside markets. Marketing only works if it is relevant to the target audience, if it is in the right place and has the right message. If not all of these parameters are met, the marketing opportunity will fall flat on its face. Continuously learn from your audience, what trendy ideas are used to sell a product/service effectively, and how can you best reach the target audience across different social media and advertising platforms. Once you have nailed down a fluid strategy (yes, that seems like an oxymoron), your marketing efforts will succeed and so will you.

How to Network

In business, it is beneficial to have people by your side – relationships that can boost your reach and your business. In order to build these relationships, you have to go out and make genuine connections. There is no easy shortcut to meeting people; networking requires time management and a large effort on your part. Networking is a skill to develop. Not everyone is a natural extrovert who is able to strike up a conversation anywhere with anyone. Practice your conversational skills by getting out there and introducing yourself to one new person a day (without being a card-thrower, passing out business cards like you get paid per toss). Find networking events, business classes, and other local opportunities that allow you to meet others. Once you find trustworthy contacts, you can begin to build on them and start interacting with those who will enhance your network. After all, it is commonly said that business is all about who you know.

Practice these skills and your confidence will grow as you continue to expand and improve your business. When running your business, taking the necessary steps to keep learning is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your team, and your company.

Sources:

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/twitter-stats-for-businesses/

https://www.fbc.ca/blog/top-6-reasons-why-bookkeeping-important-your-business

http://blog.capterra.com/small-business-statistics/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bookkeeper