Business is more than just the numbers. Sure, sales are important and understanding finance is crucial. However, these alone are not enough. There are certain skills that every person should know before starting a business career. If you acquire them, you can enjoy long term success. Without them, you risk not being prepared for the power of the global competition you are up against today. Here are five that you should start cultivating today.
Marketing is the lifeblood of any business today. Online marketing is a subsection of this, and every business person should take special note. Long gone are the days when you could simply hang out your shingle and people would come to you.
The world is noisy today. You're competing with people from everywhere with cheaper prices, faster lead times, and bigger staffs. Marketing 101 is all about finding out who your ideal target is. You can use a range of resources to discover this. The biggest marketing skill is how to be adaptable. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, PPC services, and Facebook Ads help you test ideas before wasting time or money on them.
Sales is touted as one of the most powerful skills to know when starting a business career. You can have the best marketing in the world, but sales is the art of closing the deal. Once people have gone through your funnel, they still need that extra push to push “buy now.”
Sales skills are touted by every billionaire that made it through hard work and grit instead of inheriting wealth. All sales really involves is communicating your idea in a way that persuades people to buy. However, it is not about lying. That is the trap that many would-be entrepreneurs fall into. Always be honest, but paint your product in the best possible light.
Customer service is not something that every person thinks about when starting a business career. They are usually focused on what they want. Unfortunately this results in not having the customer's best interest in mind. No matter what you do in business, you need to serve your target market first. Try working a customer service job, or at least taking customer surveys to find out what people are wanting and not wanting.
Coding isn't something you need to be a rocket scientist to understand. In fact, you can get by with some basic knowledge and a weekend at a coding bootcamp in most cases. Just understanding and being conversational is enough to be kept up to date when dealing with larger projects and talking with your programmers who are in the trenches. This lets you enjoy the best of both worlds: you understand what technology you're using and why, and you also can use your higher level knowledge of the business to find the bigger opportunities out there.
Being a strong communicator and having leadership skills are important people skills to have. However, you also need to get great at cultivating real relationships. Relationships begin when you try to understand what somebody else wants. When you deliver on what they want, they grow to like you. People do business with others that they know, like, and trust. So don't see new connections as just a business opportunity or networking target, instead try to build something deeper from which real leverage can grow.
Team building and teamwork are essential in business. No one works in a silo anymore. No matter your core set of skills, you need others to help your dreams come true.
When it comes to modern business, it is more competitive than ever. Instead of trying to avoid the hard work, every aspiring entrepreneur needs to learn the skills above. If you don't, you risk missing out on key opportunities. When you do, however, you can enjoy a happier and more productive career in business.
This guest post is courtesy of Robert Cordray.