Small business owners wear many hats, crunching numbers one minute and resolving customer complaints the next.
As your business continues to expand, you will find yourself going from working in your business to working on your business.
Recognising this shift may also come with a desire to develop your skill set in order to take your business to the next level.
Being a small business owner, you may be reluctant to take a training program or online course due to budget constraints or an unwillingness to step away from your day to day business duties.
Despite having to sacrifice some of your time and resources, upskilling is in fact an invaluable investment for small business owners.
Business owners who have previously worked a full-time job may be used to company-funded training sessions and professional development courses.
Upskilling as a small business owner, on the other hand, is more about developing the tools necessary for better business.
Transitioning from employee to employer
The transition from working in your business to working on the business is one that comes with a steep learning curve. From preemptively solving problems across the board to making better decisions, business owners who are equipped for the challenges of small business simply have a greater chance of success.
While you don’t have to go back to school, upskilling courses targeted at small business owners specifically are an excellent way to go.
Developing holistic business management skills also allows you to take better charge of your business. As your business continues to grow, you will likely also establish different job titles or even entire departments. Some business owners may choose to let these departments manage themselves, while others will want to be more involved in the everyday operations of each department.
The right kind of professional development will enable you to grasp exciting business opportunities and stay well ahead of the competition.
An ideal learning environment is one that has a collaborative, multi-faceted approach, allowing you to flesh out ideas and decisions, get motivated by peers and come away with a fresh perspective.
For these proactive business owners, upskilling is a great way to better understand their own business from the inside out.
For example, developing tech and digital skills will give you an insight into what your IT department does, allowing you to lead the company in the right direction on the tech-front (even if you haven’t exactly mastered the plethora of coding languages!). This also limits the need to outsource, allowing for better cash flow management and lower expenses.
Skills to consider developing
For those running their own business, there are a handful of specific skill sets that are most valuable to learn.
Business planning skills are, of course, essential for all business owners and upper management. A course in this area will teach you the art of setting goals, establishing processes to meet these goals, pitching to investors with a strong business plan, and more.
A working knowledge of accounting will allow you to create a robust budget and effectively forecast sales. This will also allow you to keep an eye on your finances, identifying any room for improvement that your designated accountant can delve deeper into.
Sales and customer service are also integral given that you are the face of your company. From connecting with people to creating authentic sales pitches, your business simply won’t stay afloat without sales skills.
Finally, marketing skills will allow you to develop a solid backbone for your company, from posting on social media yourself to overseeing the efforts of your marketing team.
The good news is that upskilling doesn’t require you to go back to university. Short courses and diplomas help you build on your existing knowledge and experience, harnessing these skills in a structured manner to improve your business.
Learning from other business owners who were once in the same position as you, or speaking directly to seasoned accountants, marketers and salespeople, are also fantastic ways of developing a wide breadth of knowledge.
As professional multitaskers, small business owners are best to pursue an upskilling program that covers all essential elements of running a business, from accounting to digital marketing.
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