A recent post on Hubspot entitled 9 Agonizing Business Skills You Need to Grit Your Teeth and Learn put my brain cells on full throttle to write about the real business skills a small business owner needs to master to move their business to the next level. With homage to Hubspot, and as someone who has worked side-by-side small business owners for many years, here is my recommended list of business skills you need to grit your teeth and learn.
- Strategic Thinking. Nothing could be more important to the success of your business than the ability to think strategically. Strategic thinking involves the application of business insights intended to create a “leg up” in your business. Strategic thinking challenges conventional wisdom and the status quo to design more innovative and effective solutions.
- Strategic Planning. Along with its twin — strategic thinking, strategic planning is the process used to determine the direction of your business. It is also instrumental in properly allocating your resources. In other words, strategic planning makes sure you're not “shooting from the hip” and “throwing good money after bad.”
- Goal Setting. Closely aligned with strategic thinking and planning, your ability to set clear goals for your business promotes progress. And, it's a proven fact that goal setting improves one's performance.
- Marketing. Yikes! Where do we begin to define and develop effective marketing skills, especially in an inbound marketing environment. This is a great place to consider outsourcing to the experts given the vast amount of information and skill needed to market for results. It is important, however, to glean a basic understanding of marketing to make sure you hire the right vendors.
- Sales. Surprise! You're already selling. You sell your kids on wearing a coat to school. You sell your spouse on taking you to dinner. The real question is how skilled are you at selling in your business? Knowing the important role that selling plays in your business success, it's good to learn how to do it right.
- Organization. I know this sounds more like you need a professional organizer — and maybe you do, but organizational skills go beyond having things in neat little piles. It includes skills needed to make you a master of prioritization, productivity, and performance.
If you have a chance to read Hubspot's blog, you may find a few more skills that aren't covered here. Alas, I'd rather master strategic thinking than Excel documentation. (That's what my virtual assistant is for.)