Crucial Skills For All Small Business Owners

People often say that managing your own business can feel like having dozens of little jobs.

You have to wear many hats as a business owner, oftentimes interchanging those ‘hats’ on an hourly basis, or perhaps even minute by minute on particularly busy days.

For those looking to take on the helm of their own enterprise, however, don’t let this reality deter you from chasing after your own entrepreneurial dreams.

The core disciplines of business management do actually boil down to a select number of skills.

If you want to start your own business, building these personal and professional skills can actually make all the other facets of business management a lot easier to navigate, and to perhaps even master.

We’ll be outlining 8 crucial skills that all modern small business owners should seek to develop today.

Read on to learn how you can become a more capable and effective boss,  business owner, and a respected figure in your wider industry.

1. Financial Management

From making commercial lease payments to organizing small business insurance to paying employee wages and more, business owners are expected to juggle a variety of financial commitments.

For this reason, it’s of paramount importance that aspiring business owners hone their accounting and budgeting skills well before they start to expand their enterprises. 

We recommend equipping yourself with some basic bookkeeping skills, and getting to grips with accounting software, even if you are working with a dedicated business accountant.

Playing an active role in the financial decision-making process for your business can naturally help you maintain more agency over your company cash flow.

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2. Risk Management

Speaking of cash flow, there are a great number of events or occurrences that have the power to greatly disrupt your business, from its daily operations to its bottom line.

That’s why the best business owners are those that maintain an awareness of the risks that they face every day, and put measures into place to mitigate those risks.

This can include securing business insurance, training staff to respond in the face of risks, as well as investing in security measures like physical locks, emergency buttons, fire safety equipment, and even cybersecurity hardware and software.

And remember, when it comes to safety and security, there really is no such thing as being ‘over-prepared’.

3. Marketing And Branding

Thanks to the rise of digital technologies, small business owners are now not only competing with other local companies, but corporations from all over the world.

But this isn’t entirely a bad thing. How so? Well, being exposed to businesses just like yours from other parts of the world can be a great benefit when it comes to conducting market research.

You have many more case studies to draw inspiration from, and a greater awareness of what your consumer base is looking for on a global scale.

These findings can then be used to drive your own promotional efforts and materials, and perhaps even to influence your business branding.

After all, data does play an increasingly vital role in building marketing campaigns and brand development.

Alongside this, small business owners can also benefit from learning how to use marketing tools and technologies.

Consider having a play around with keyword trackers, Google Analytics, and social media management software like Hootsuite.

4. Professional Communication Skills

Managing your own business typically involves communicating with a lot of different people every day.

From investors to employees, delivery drivers, customers, and suppliers, as a business owner, you’re expected to maintain clear and concise communications with everybody, alongside of course cultivating strong interpersonal relationships.

But communicating in professional settings can be very different to how you would conduct yourself in informal social settings.

And for those looking to transition from being a long-time employee to an independent business owner, knowing the ins and outs of professional communication can take a bit of time.

Thankfully, there are courses in professional communication out there that are tailored towards entrepreneurs.

You can also hone your professional communication skills by attending industry conferences or networking events.

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5. Delegation And People Management

One of the trickiest aspects of running your own business is learning how to actually step back and manage a team of staff.

If you’ve been managing a business with some success for a few years now and have reached a point where you’re looking to expand on your body of staff, it can be particularly tricky to know which tasks you can even delegate with confidence.

After all, you’ve been handling virtually everything yourself up until now, and there’s no guarantee that new staff will show each task the same level of detail and dedication that you’ve been able to demonstrate as the business owner.

But truth be told, learning how to delegate is one of the most crucial skills on this list. This is because mastering the art of delegation can help you free up your own time as a business owner.

And business owners who aren’t bogged down in routine work have the time and space to focus instead on business growth strategizing and on innovation.

6. Time Management

That brings us to our next fundamental business skill: time management. A day in the life of an entrepreneur is likely to involve a fair amount of big picture thinking and time for self-improvement.

But you can’t make this time for yourself if you’re bogged down in all the daily tasks involved with running your business.

As we mentioned above, delegation can play an important role in freeing up your time as a business owner.

But learning how to delegate doesn’t instantly make you a master at time management; it’s just a stepping stone in the right direction.

Other aspects of this particular business management skill include learning how to develop and stick to a daily schedule or routine, as well as learning how to keep appointments with stakeholders, staff, suppliers, and all the other figures you work with.

7. Technological Skills

One other aspect of time management is learning how to utilize digital technologies with regards to streamlining your daily operational tasks.

With the sheer number of project management and general business software available nowadays, business owners are advised to find tech solutions that can effectively automate some of their daily processes.

We mentioned Hootsuite earlier. Did you know that you can use this piece of software to schedule social media posts?

And automatically collect engagement metrics on your posts? Having tools like these at your fingertips can make a world of difference for busy business owners, so it pays to strengthen your tech skills.

Being technologically proficient also enables you to maintain a forward-thinking approach as a business manager.

You want to take full advantage of any industry technologies or even just business tools that have demonstrable value.

And the best way of taking advantage of these digital assets is to make sure that you’re ready and able to use them.

If you’re feeling a little unconfident with technologies, you have the option to take on some short courses in technology management or even look for specific training courses or learning materials for software that you’re looking to use for your business.

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8. Creative Thinking And Problem Solving 

Finally, one of the most powerful skills that you can seek to nurture as a business owner is the ability to think creatively alongside thinking critically.

You’ll likely find plenty of problems or obstacles along your entrepreneurial journey. For some, these obstacles may be so monumental that there’s seemingly no hope of traversing them.

For others, however, problems are nothing but an opportunity for developing novel solutions.

But there’s more to being a problem solver than just being optimistic. For instance, business managers with expert problem solving skills are typically highly communicative.

They speak with their staff and their customers, listen to their concerns, and are capable of arriving at feasible solutions through engaging with the problem and the people who are also being impacted by that problem.

Problem solvers are also highly knowledgeable and invest in their self-learning. They’re involved, engaged, and ready to respond to issues as they arise for these reasons and more.

In other words, building the other seven skills we’ve outlined above is what’s effectively required to strengthen your own problem solving skills.

So long as you’re still passionate and involved with building your company, you should be able to keep yourself innovating and thinking creatively for decades to come.


Do you think you have what it takes to be a small business owner? Or do you still have skills that need honing?

Regardless of where you happen to be on your entrepreneurial journey, remember that every day in business comes with new challenges and opportunities to not only test your skills, but to learn.

So long as you take on this endeavor with an open mind and a pragmatic approach, there’s no reason why you can’t dream big and build big.