Skills Needed to Run a Business

You have a great concept and some exciting marketing ideas. You even have enough money to get started. But what about the skills needed to actually run your own business?

Strengths -v- Weaknesses

Knowing your strengths and limitations will help you determine whether you’re likely to be suited to running your own business. Here are just a few of many factors to consider:

  • Can you clearly communicate directions?
  • Are you happy to delegate tasks?
  • Are you decisive?
  • How do you react when things go wrong?

Management and leadership skills

These skills include the ability to:

  • Organise tasks and set priorities
  • Set goals and methods to reach those goals
  • Plan strategies for growing your business
  • Develop new products and services
  • Deliver consistent and reliable service
  • Communicate and negotiate
  • Make decisions and solve problems
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Delegate tasks and responsibilities
  • Supervise, train and teach

Also included here would be knowledge of occupational health & safety requirements, human resources and risk management responsibilities.

Financial skills

You should have some knowledge of:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Costing and pricing
  • Budget and cashflow forecasting
  • Credit control and record keeping

Marketing and sales

It’s helpful to have some of these skills to help promote your business:

  • Merchandising and selling
  • Customer and competitor analysis
  • Market research
  • Product positioning
  • Promotion and advertising


Technical skills vary depending on the type of industry. While it would be an advantage to have prior industry experience, it’s not a pre-requisite. Many successful business owners ‘learn as they go’ and others work with people who have complementary technical skills.

Not every new business owner will possess all these skills from the start – you can learn a wide range of skills through training courses, seminars, books and literature and networking within your industry. Plus, in areas where your skills are limited, you can employ staff or hire consultants and contractors who have the expertise.

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