11 Crucial Skills Every Small Business Owner Needs From Day One

11 Crucial Skills Every Small Business Owner Needs From Day One

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1. Delegation

Many first-time business owners experience anxiety when it comes to turning over duties as the business grows. No leader wants to be perceived as the lazy "idea guy," but there comes a time when growth is important.  Leadership means focusing on the big picture instead of hopping around the office proving you're not afraid to roll 

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1. Delegation

up your sleeves. Train yourself to delegate every duty that doesn't need your authority by spending one hour each month auditing how you spend your time throughout the day.  You are not doing your team a favor by backing them up with menial tasks if it means you're not out there creating new opportunities for them.

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2. Thought Leadership

A thought leader is somebody with a different way of viewing things than what is mainstream.  Some leaders lead their followers, but don’t innovate while a thought leader has something controversial to offer. It could be someone whose story, product or ideas are not popular, but thought leaders have a very distinct 

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2. Thought Leadership

thesis and message to share to motivate others. Leadership is very important, but you must be a thought leader to operate well every day. Operations, tech, PR, writing and marketing skills will all follow once you have the heart to innovate, motivate and share. You may be the smartest or most talented person out there, but once your people fail 

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2. Thought Leadership

under your leadership, your whole business will fail, too.

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3. Basic Communication Skills

This might sound obvious, but the biggest and most consistent gap I see within founders and leaders is not having adequate communication skills.  A lack of communication can be a huge vulnerability for teams and organizations. As a leader, you should lead by example and help implement a culture that thrives on 

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3. Basic Communication Skills

proactive, open and honest communication. This should flow in every direction and include gaining feedback from clients, partners and staff often. By not having this skill, negative sentiments can start to grow and spread within the organization. This will eventually impact employee morale and then spread to other aspects of a small 

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3. Basic Communication Skills

business. A common misconception is that good communication is a natural skill. While it can be, it can also be taught and learned.

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4. Proactivity

The whole "get things done" mentality to ensure seamless day-to-day operations for your team almost always runs into a roadblock that was never considered.  That's because a lot of times we're somewhat reactive to this formula where a client, vendor or customer gets angry and we put measures in to make sure that the problem never happens again.

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4. Proactivity

Then, we rinse and repeat, but some changes might only work for a small fraction of situations and could make things worse for the whole.  Focusing on what could go wrong with the fixes and exercising context on what your team needs to succeed can get you much further ahead of that issue. It makes you proactive, not reactive and gives the 

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4. Proactivity

weapons your teams need to run better without you needing to interfere all the time.

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5. Financial Literacy

Nothing is more important in a business than understanding the finances. A good business owner knows how much things cost, including things like labor, sales, etc.  This is important so that you maximize cash flow and have good planning for the future. I had a client do a special for seven years and lose money 

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5. Financial Literacy

every week not realizing that the truth is in the numbers. Numbers don't lie; they give you a real, strong understanding of the health of your business. It also tells you what direction your business is growing in and where it needs more help. Understand your numbers! Your business depends on it.

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6. Leadership

Companies are full of personalities and relationships. I have found that the primary thing that keeps all types of people focused and connected is purpose.  What are they all striving for? What are the goals everyone in the company is moving towards? Everyone in the company needs to be reminded of their purpose almost every 

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6. Leadership

day and it is not enough to write it on the wall. The strength of a leader could be measured by how many personalities get behind and believe in the purpose the leader puts forth. The leaders of the company need to bring inspiration to their purpose. In light of all the things individuals in the company do, there must be a solid, greater purpose that 

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6. Leadership

all employees can support. I feel this is what has driven my company’s success throughout all these years.

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7. Emotional Intelligence

High emotional intelligence is a vital skill for any business owner. Whether it is with clients, suppliers or partners, you are going to be interacting with people all day long.  Being able to perceive their emotions will help you build stronger relationships. You also need to recognize and manage your own emotions, as owning a business is no easy feat. 

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7. Emotional Intelligence

Being comfortable with yourself and aware of where you stand will make decision making easier, especially under stress. With the advancement of technology and life online, more and more jobs are pushing more technical tasks to automation and robots. This means that being personable and having a powerful EQ are more important than ever.

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8. Sales

Whether it's onboarding new clients, generating customers, hiring employees, bringing on investors or retaining existing talent, all small business owners need to know how to sell.  You have to know how to sell yourself, sell your products or services, listen to your customers while ensuring you get buy-in from your employees, 

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8. Sales

partners or investors. Essentially, knowing how to persuade all stakeholders is the key to running a successful business.

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9. Customer Service

The key to any successful business is good customer service. You can get tons and tons of customers at your business, but if you don't provide outstanding customer service, those customers will never stick around.  It's much more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep existing ones. All small business owners need to 

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9. Customer Service

know how to provide good customer service. This includes learning how to deal with angry customers and negative reviews properly and how to listen and respond in a timely manner. Knowing how to accept and implement feedback will allow you to go above and beyond for your loyal customers.

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10. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is essential for any business today. More people than ever before have access to low-cost internet and people rely on search engines to help them find information and buy products.  A business owner needs to have a firm knowledge of SEO, social media marketing, online advertising and more to guide the business's growth. You can 

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10. Digital Marketing

hire people to manage these aspects of your business, but you still need to be informed enough to lead your team into creating the best digital marketing strategy for your business. You also should have the ability to track and measure the results of different campaigns—you can only do these things by understanding digital marketing.

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11. Self-Awareness Of Blind Spots

With all of the technology available today and the world's knowledge at our fingertips, we'd be easily conned into believing that there is a set of apps, a suite of software or a regiment of practices that any entrepreneur could enact and see results.  The true killer app is knowledge of self, and the ability to realize when you need help. We want 

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11. Self-Awareness Of Blind Spots

to pile up the tech, putting our problems on a dashboard and whisking our worries away with a widget. With each Frankenstein fix to our workflow with tech or a new strategy plan, the unforeseen issues compound. The best basic skill to sharpen and refine is the ability to realize your blind spots. Then, seek help from experts you actually trust and listen to that. It can help you see clearly.

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