18 Apr Essential business skills needed by entrepreneurs in 2017 – Joseph Ashford
Self-improvement and a desire for change are key characteristics of an entrepreneur. If you have that drive to succeed and want to know how you can adapt to 2017’s marketplace – wonder no more. I have done the research into this year’s trends and brought together my experience into this article.
Stay trendy – keep up with trends in Digital
I’ve placed this business skill first as I feel it is the most important this year without being detrimental to other skills on the list. As an entrepreneur, it is important that you stay abreast of trends within your field of work and those outside. This could be something simple as knowing what the latest trend is in your industry and adapting your business as appropriate. Failing to do so could spell disaster for your business.
“I have run many businesses throughout my time in different sectors. Many of my businesses have been based in Southampton with the view of offering services across Hampshire and Dorset. Many years ago, I began to notice a burgeoning trend – more people were using the internet instead of phone books. I decided to pull 95% of my advertising into internet marketing (PPC and SEO). This move happened at the right time, and I was able to expand operations across the United Kingdom!”
Don’t stop communicating
Listen, talk and delegate. Communicate with your employees and customers and find out your business’ strengths and weaknesses. If there are areas that can be improved, good communication will enable you to progress further as a business.
Managing and raising money well
Managing money is as relevant in 2017 for entrepreneurs as it has ever been. You must be aware of areas where your business is losing money and ensure that the books are balanced. Should you be unable to manage your business funds effectively, it may be worth hiring someone to help on this matter.
The skill of raising money must be second nature for all entrepreneurs. You will need to know how to sell your business, ideas and more to get the funds required. Don’t be afraid to show your passion and convince people that they cannot miss out on this great opportunity! A great way of doing this is to know, live and breathe your product.
Make friends – Networking
It is important to have friendships with individuals within your industry, social circle and those outside of it. I also recommend that you look at cultivating friendships deliberately with other entrepreneurs and likeminded individuals. You will find these friendships give you better insight into the world of business and a great sounding board for troubles you are experiencing.
Hire the best people
To move forward as a business, you will need help, and you will also need the best people behind you. Spotting the best talent for your company can be a process of trial and error, but the rewards are worth it. I cannot stress how important a great team is to the development of your company.
Training and managing staff
Often overlooked but still important is training and managing staff. Staff that have been trained well have the confidence to do their jobs which will free your time up. Don’t be afraid to impart your knowledge and give your staff your time. This gesture will be appreciated by both parties in the long run.
Managing staff is a minefield that sometimes entrepreneurs find overwhelming. When you build up a good team of trained individuals, it will make management much easier. Be willing to adapt your management style to suit every individual and recognise their individuality. It is important never to cede control.
I have taken great inspiration from the management style of esteemed football manager Sir Alex Ferguson. When managing Aberdeen F.C., he won 3 Scottish League Championships, 4 Scottish Cups and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. He later went to Manchester United where his trophy haul includes:
- 13 Premier League titles
- 5 FA Cups
- 2 UEFA Champions League titles
- 4 League Cups
- 10 Charity/Community Shields
- European Cup Winners’ Cup
- European Super Cup
- Intercontinental Cup
- FIFA Club World Cup
His management style has been oft written about, and many people assume that he was always screaming and shouting at his players. This was not always the case as he tailored his management style to the club and players. Below is an excerpt of his interview with the Harvard Business Review:
“If you are too soft in your approach, you won’t be able to achieve that. Fear has to come into it. But you can’t be too hard; if players are fearful all the time, they won’t perform well either…You have to pick your moments. As a manager, you play different roles at different times. Sometimes you have to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a father.” – Alex Ferguson
Social media is intrinsic to business and your marketing strategy. With the right timing, your business could go viral on social media networks. I advise that you adapt your strategies to every platform as they are unique in their own right. It is also important to maintain brand reputation on these platforms.
Customers are key to your business, so it is imperative that you tailor your business to serving the needs of the customer. If you are unsure what the client needs, research will come in handy for your business. All these steps will give your business the foundation to provide an excellent service enabling your business to stand out.
“In every business of mine, I have always researched the marketplace and built up a customer demographic. The research allowed me to tailor my services as I discovered what a customer in a small Dorset town needs is different to a Southampton customer.”
The key essence of business skills needed for entrepreneurs is flexibility and adaptability. Your business will flourish for as long as you are able to adapt and provide a great product. Until next time, stay successful and safe.