4 Key Business Skills that Every Business Owner Needs to Develop

4 Key Business Skills that Every Business Owner Needs to Develop | Kathy Ennis | LittlePiggy

Business Skills Bring Order to Chaos

What’s your problem? There you go, complaining again. You are the one who decided to start your own business – so start doing business and stop moaning about it.

As a business woman, I often have this kind of conversation with myself, but then I fall back on the business skills I have developed over the past 18+ years and things begin to get better.

It wasn’t always so.

When I was an employee the world made sense and had order. I had a job description; I had a place of work where I had a desk and a chair; I went to my place of work Monday to Friday – arriving at 9.30am and leaving at about 6.30pm – and I did the stuff on my job description. I had a manager who told me what stuff to do on my job description and together we agreed what order that stuff would be done in; my manager had a manager who did exactly the same with her; every month numbers would appear in my bank account and I could use those numbers to pay for things I needed like food and clothes and night’s out and holidays and …

My world had order. Then I had this crazy idea to start a business. And that was the day order ceased to exist!

I am the first to hold my hands up to say that I spent my first few years ‘playing at business’; operating at break-even (or below). But in the beginning, that didn’t matter because I had the safety blanket of my redundancy money. But then that money wasn’t there anymore and things got serious – financially.

Get Out and Get Business-Savvy

In the film Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner is haunted by the message “Build it and they will come”. On a daily basis I meet small and micro business owners who seem to have adopted this as their motto.

Don’t. It’s not true. It’s not magic and there is no quick fix.

As small and micro business owners being good at what we do is not enough. Lots of people do what we do and I bet some of them do it loads better. That’s where business skills rather than product or service skills comes in – and it’s what I mean about being business-savvy.

 Business is a Skill-Set in its Own Right

 As business owners it is our ‘duty’ to develop these skills, because they will make the difference between success and failure.

Business is the difference between knowing you are good at something and mastering the ability to sell it.

4 Key Business Skills You Need to Own

  1. Planning

If you are not a natural planner, you will need to develop these skills very fast as the ability to plan underpins everything you do in business.

From the start you will need to manage everything, from setting up a website, arranging your office or workspace to developing a range of policies, systems and procedures. Oh, and there’s the other sort of planning too; business planning and action planning.

The ability to set objectives and targets as well as knowing how to effectively plan and manage your resources, including time and money will ensure you achieve your goals.

  1. Financial Management

Being able to manage your business finances is critical as they will enable you to run your business profitably. Without profit, your business is simply a glorified hobby.

The basic financial management skills you will need include, being able to forecast your cash flow and sales, as well as, how to monitor your income and expenditure.

  1. Marketing

Marketing is a key skill to have and buy delivering what people want to buy is an obvious requirement for running a business but not many people truly understand how to market a business correctly.

  1. Self-Discipline

Many people may add time management to a list of essential business skills. I would prefer to push that concept more towards self-discipline. Why?

As business owners we have a choice – to do or not to do. There is no one at our backs guiding us and telling us what we must do. All those decisions are ours, which means it becomes very easy to put things off or to not complete projects.

One of the most classic examples I come across every day is the business owner who is expecting social media to be the answer to all their marketing needs, but they are working off a half-finished Facebook Page, they don’t maintain a regular and consistent blog or their LinkedIn profile still has them listed working for their last employer.

Successful small and micro businesses don’t have any special advantage or luck; they are successful because the business owner creates effective processes and systems that their self-discipline ensures they maintain.

What are the most valuable business skills you have developed? How do they help?


  • Sophia says:

    Thanks for the tips Kathy! Totally agree. I’ve made the mistake in the past of putting all my energies into the product and little into marketing and systems. I realise now that my most valuable skill is developing the self discipline to be able to manage the marketing and accounts. It keeps everything ticking along.

    • Kathy Ennis says:

      You are so right Sophia. As a small or micro business we don’t have the luxury of a marketing department or, often, a team to go to for support. If we don’t develop self-discipline we will always flounder. By no means is it easy. I’ve been in business for more then 18 years and I still find I have to remind myself, if not on a daily basis, at least weekly!

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