There’s a big difference between working for someone else and working for yourself. When you’re working for someone else, you just need the skills to do your job. If you’re working for yourself, you need the skills to run a business as well.
Regardless of whether you’re fresh out of school or an experienced employee, here are five essential skills you need if you want to run your own business:
The Ability to Market Your Business Effectively
People have to know you’re in business before they can come and spend their money with you. If you run a local business, then you could combine real-world and online marketing.
If you’re purely an online entrepreneur, then you must educate yourself on social media and search engine optimization.
The Ability to Manage Payments
Firstly, you have to decide what payment methods you’re going to accept. If you’re using anything other than cash, then you need to learn the payment scheme rules. Secondly, you need to decide if you’re going to take payment in advance or in arrears.
If you’re taking payment in advance, then remember to wait until the refund period has expired before treating the money as yours. If you’re selling products online, make sure that you provide plenty of clear pictures and product information. That will reduce the likelihood of products being returned.
If you’re taking payment in arrears make sure that you actually do bill for them. Have a process in place to follow up if the bill goes unpaid for too long. If cash-flow is an issue, consider offering a benefit for quick payment, for example, a discount on a future order.
The Ability to Keep Data Safe
If you take any sort of sensitive data from any third party then you are almost certainly legally obligated to keep it safe. This is so important it can be worth getting professional advice on how to do it properly.
You might even want to hire a third-party specialist company to manage it for you. As a minimum, never assume that you are “too small to be a target”.
The Ability to Assess Risk
Most businesses need some form of insurance cover, even if only public liability. You absolutely must have the right cover for the right assets. You want enough to make sure that you have meaningful protection. At the same time, you want to avoid paying extra for cover you don’t really need.
For example, let’s say you’re researching insurance for your hair salon. It may be obvious that you need to cover your styling tools and equipment, but what about your products? If they’re expensive, it may be worth covering them too. You would, however, typically cover them for their wholesale price rather than their retail price.
The Ability to Work with People
All entrepreneurs have to work with people to some extent. As a rule of thumb, the better you get at doing it, the better your results will be.
The reason for this is that even in the 21st century, old-school networking and word-of-mouth marketing are still both hugely important.
Do you have your own business? Let us know in the comments below!