There are many boxes to check off when it comes to running a business successfully. There are tax requirements, legal forms and all manner of red tape that can make it difficult to get started. However, if you want your company to be successful, there are some qualifications that must be met for optimal performance. Here are five areas of expertise you should have represented somewhere within your business, whether through you or your expert employees.
1. Finance Management Skills
If you don't know where your cash is going, you can't accurately assess your company's financial health. It is crucial that you have an understanding of your company's finances, otherwise you could miss some errors that will cripple your daily operations. The money you're bringing in and spending on products shouldn't be your only focus, either. You need to know how much you're spending in the office or on employee benefits. If you don't have anyone in-house that is good with numbers, you may want to consider an online masters in accounting. You'll need to invest some time and energy, but it's worth the sacrifice to understand the inner workings of your business.
2. Leadership Skills
A good leader can make or break a company. A good leader inspires employees to work hard every day and makes sure others enjoy a healthy and happy work environment. Poor leadership can lead to some dissension within company departments. If the bad feelings are left to fester, you could end up with a very toxic workplace. Unhappy employees don't perform to the best of their abilities, and friction between levels of management can lead to poor communication. All of this can result in sub-par working conditions and projects that drag on, never to be completed. At the end of the day, poor leadership can hurt your bottom line.
3. Networking Skills
Networking skills are too often overlooked. You never know where your next client, supplier or employee will come from, so the more connected you are within your industry, the greater your chances of meeting incredible people. People often make the mistake of entering a networking event with the idea that everyone present will have something to offer them. That may be true, but you're not likely to be successful if you go around asking people for things. If you want to make a good first impression, get to know the person first. Then exchange information and maybe give them an idea of what you have to offer. They'll be more likely to think of you favorably in the future. There are entire classes and workshops dedicated to honing networking skills, and a little training may be worth your while in the long run.
4. Communication Skills
Communication tends to be something humans struggle with even outside of the work environment. Chances are you're used to talking only to be heard, which makes sense. Humans like talking about themselves. Incidentally, this is important to understand for good networking. You may not realize it, but you're probably missing out on some important cues during conversations if all you can think about is what you're going to say next. If you take the time to really understand the other half of the conversation, you'll be better prepared to solve problems and offer support. Plus, the people you're speaking to will actually feel understood, which can make a huge difference when trying to forge a strong business relationship.
5. Customer Service Skills
The customer is the lifeblood of your business, so they should be treated like the asset they are. A satisfied customer will spring to the review forums and sing your praises over brunch, while a dissatisfied customer will likely do the opposite. Humans generally trust close friends and family, so if their best friend trashes your reputation, it's not likely you'll gain them as a customer regardless of how well you fit their needs. Like in good communication skills, customer service deals with understanding customers and making sure they feel understood. It's easy to be nice to people when they're giving you money, but how you treat them when there's a problem will say the most about you as a company.