The skills which are least desired but most needed to succeed are the boring ones: organization, money management, time management. Being a good filer or a good bookkeeper isn't glamorous, but it will help your business succeed. Listed below are the skills often mentioned as necessary to achieve success when starting up and running a small business:
- Planning-take the time to develop your business plan so you know you are charging the right price, located in the right spot, advertising in the right area and listed in the right directories.
- Managing money-starting up a business takes money and you don't want to waste it so keep track of where you are spending it. Many people leave the bookkeeping and accounting to later in the development of their business and then find they have wasted money on ineffective advertising or excess amounts of office supplies because they didn't see how the expenses were adding up.
- Selling-there are many very skilled individuals who don't succeed in business because they are unable to sell themselves or their product. Someone has to sell for every business so if you just can't do it yourself, you will need to hire someone to do it for you.
- Learn how to negotiate-there will be many times you will need to be comfortable negotiating to get the best price or level of service for your business.
- Follow-up and follow through-many people fail to make follow up calls to prospective customers or business colleagues. One expert I heard says you need to touch base with someone seven times before you can turn them into a customer so just meeting someone and then making a sales presentation isn't enough. You don't want to turn into a pest, but you do need to touch base periodically to see if now is the right time to do business. You also need to follow through on all promises you make to a customer or client. Failure to deliver on time or as promised is a sure way to lose a customer.
- Limit the number of hats you wear-Staples has a great commercial where the same guy is performing all the jobs in a company. This is often the case for a new small business owner, but at some point you can't do it all. Figure out what you are good at and concentrate on that and delegate the other tasks to someone who is good at them.
We hear frequently from people who complain that they just can't get caught up or they just can't turn their business around. Staying organized, staying on top of all the key elements to your operation, making sure someone is selling for you are what needs to be done to succeed.