There are many reasons for starting a small business, but for most of us it comes from finding a way to make a living from a skill or talent that we already have. However, as many small business owners learn, running a business is about so much more than selling your product or service, and there’s a lot more to keeping your company afloat.
We’ve put together a list of five skills that every small business owner could benefit from learning:
We’ve mentioned in previous posts that time management is essential for staying productive, but it’s not something that comes naturally for everyone. Keep a diary, be it a traditional paper-style book, an online schedule or even a wall planner, of appointments, deadlines and important dates to remember as a starting point and try to be strict with yourself about working to your set business hours. Time is money, and it’s easy to overspend both.
We aren’t suggesting that you send yourself on an expensive bookkeeping course, and ultimately you’ll probably need to employ the help of an accountant as your business grows. However, keeping accurate records of all of your income and outgoings, as well as filing receipts and invoices in chronological order, will save you a lot of money when it comes to compiling your end-of-year accounts. Investing in an app or computer programme is often a good place to start.
As with accounts, employing someone to help you with your social media as your business grows will increase your productivity, but in the beginning, learning how to Pin, Tweet and Snap could be a great asset to aid your early growth. Social media is one of the strongest tools for small businesses, so knowing how to harness that power effectively is really important.
When it comes to customer service, there are a couple of statistics to bear in mind: On average, happy customers tell nine people about their experiences with a company, however, while happy customers might tell nine friends, unhappy customers, on average, tell 16. Keeping your customers happy could be the difference between steady growth and none at all, so if you’re going to learn any one skill, this should probably be it. YouTube is awash with free videos teaching you the difference between good and bad customer service.
As your business expands, you might find yourself needing to take on staff to help you, but a lot of small business owners find this slightly daunting. Being a good manager means learning how to delegate, learning to work alongside someone while maintaining authority, and most importantly treating your staff fairly and teaching them the skills they need to perform the tasks you need them to.
There are millions of books written on how to be a good manager and investing in one could be the difference between a happy, productive workforce and a decidedly unsatisfied staff.