The world of business is, perhaps outside of sports, the most competitive field in the world. Just like in the sporting world, there are a number of skills that any savvy businessperson can acquire that will give them a competitive edge when it comes to marketing and growing a business or a startup, dealing with customers, keeping employees satisfied and motivated, and generating a profit year after year.
Many of these skills can be learned at higher learning institutions whereas others can only be learned intuitively from years of experience.
Communication is key when starting up any sort of venture, but it’s incredible how many companies will miss even the basics of it, and suffer as a result. For tasks to be completed, information has to flow as smoothly as possible between companies; this is largely why hierarchies exist: The CEO gives a message to the managers which in turn gets given to the employees.
This is a pretty good model, even if according to some CEOs, it doesn’t always work. Then there’s the task of external communication – that is, communicating with prospective clients. For this, make sure your company website has been built using a respectable name and that what you offer, your company ethos and why working with you is the correct choice is all information that is displayed well.
2- A Second Language
This might seem like an extremely strange item to make the list, but bear with us. There is an entire host of business benefits that come hand in hand with learning a second language. The first one should be obvious: it opens your business up to an entirely new market of people. Suddenly, instead of only being able to offer your service in English, you’re able to target a Chinese audience too, for example.
Next, you’ll suddenly become a more skilled businessperson with a longer list of accolades. Lastly, learning a second language will strengthen your sense of discipline and prove that you can work hard on demanding tasks.
Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s viewpoint and share their experiences and emotions. It might not be listed as the most hard-hitting skill for beginning a start-up, especially alongside other skills such as project management, but it’s nonetheless vital. Empathy will not only help you to understand your audience and clients, but it will help you better understand your employees.
A business is only as strong as the people who work there, and therefore it’s important that your employees’ needs and wants are met and catered for within reason. Having empathy will also improve your customer service, allow you to understand their grievances and open up a path of dialogue that will lead to a much faster solution.
By extension, empathy is also a great way of dealing with conflict management. When you have such a valuable skills as empathy, this will simply allow you to understand the other person’s perspective and reach a fair compromise. Listening to your employees and customers in this way will also change how they perceive you, allowing for more transparent and close relationships and better trust.
4- Critical Thinking
When it comes to problem-solving and decision-making, critical thinking is the precursor which enables both to thrive. Critical thinking allows you to make informed choices based on the information available, to think creatively and formulate solutions which might not be obvious at first. This isn’t an inherent skill. It’s one that can be developed through practical deployment and repetition.
Critical thinkers also have the advantage of being a self-starter; that is, they’re not reliant on others for approval and can generally work independently without orders or supervision. This type of skill is essential when starting up a business as it will allow both you and employees to tackle challenges and tasks when they appear with minimal instruction.