THERE is often a moment when you visit a business and wonder if you could organise and run it better than the current owners. The difficulty is in knowing whether you would be successful in starting or owning your own business. Which skills do you require and how can you learn those that you lack? When you master these critical skills you will be in a great position to manage your own operation.
Sir Richard Branson’s range of businesses, effective under the Virgin brand, has seen their leader start from nothing, learn all of the skills required (although he held many at an early age) and believe in himself. At school, with dyslexia and regular poor academic performances, his headmaster suggested that he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. Fortunately, by learning from mistakes as well as taking risks, he has become a multimillionaire.
You can aim to run your own small business, but you must be dedicated to the long-term results and not give up easily after the tiniest setback.
Some people are natural leaders. You will need to take charge and care for your employees, suppliers and customers when you take on the responsibilities of leading your own business. Those leadership skills will help you motivate your team, reduce and remove procrastination through the decision-making process and lead your company consistently in the right direction.
Should you interview a number of small business owners, the same passion will be found as those leading international corporate conglomerates. You will need to be emotionally invested in the success of your business through every period of good times and those that are more challenging.
You will want to be a winner, to be competitive at every stage of running your business, should you choose to stay small, grow gradually, or aim big. You will need to possess the skill of being aggressive, in a good way, to pursue your goals and make substantial sales.
One of your greatest assets will come from your persuasive skills. You will need to convince people that your way is the right way and once you can sell ice to the Eskimos, selling products to your customers and ideas to your employees will become far easier.
Being able to think strategically in the short, middle and long-term will help keep your employees and customers focussed on the branding of your company and your targets for progress in the future. This will show well across your marketing skills and increase the relationship between you, your business and your customers.
The majority of the skills will usually fail over the long term should you choose to use a dictatorial process, but it is your money and your life that owns and runs your business. A delicate process is required to balance your communication skills without ignoring the people who work for you and buy from you and keep you in business.
For every small business owner, dedication and passion are usually natural skills that are boosted as the business increases. You will probably already be naturally competitive and be able to use your leadership skills to persuade people that your methods and decisions are correct. Combinations of all of the abilities are found in people considering starting or owning a business and where you fall short in any of these business skills, you will learn them quickly to become successful.
By Samuel Rosenberg
Samuel Rosenberg is the founder and CEO of Axcel Finance Ltd., the leading regional microfinance institution. Share your thoughts and email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org