In The News

Mon 18 Feb 2019

Key Skill Sets for Small Business Success


Business Planning & Strategies
A woman over a tax form
Ever wonder why some people succeed in business and others fail? Read more on what are the key skillsets that those successful small business owners possess.

With over 20 years’ experience working in, on and around the Small to Medium Sized Enterprise Market across a wide variety of industries, Business Advisor and Chartered Accountant, Dianne Brown believes the following six skill sets are the key to small business success: 

  • Time Management

It might sound simple but sometimes it’s the simple things that make the difference.  As a small business owner, you are constantly juggling multiple demands of clients, staff, other external stakeholders, finances, family and health. But working constant 12-hour days is not the answer. Rather, it’s a fast track to burnout and an indication that your internal systems are not as efficient as they should be. Good time management means you have planned and prioritised your day, week, month and acted/delegated accordingly. Don’t forget that you also need to plan time to deal with those little emergencies that arise and more importantly, plan your “down time.

  • Communication 

Communication is the lifeblood of business. Successful business owners are those that can identify and connect with their clients, stakeholders and staff utilising multiple communication formats; verbal, written, email, text, social media, Zoom, Skype … the list is endless. Successful communication is about knowing when and how to use the different mediums, developing effective listening and questioning techniques, understanding the impact of body language, displaying empathy and knowing how to negotiate.

  • Financial Literacy 

It’s surprising how many small business operators start their business with little or no understanding of financial literacy.  This is akin to starting to drive without first reading your Learner’s Manual. Knowing how to set up and monitor a business budget, understanding the importance of cash flow, how to read a Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet and more importantly, understand why profit does not equal cash in your bank account, is critical to business success. A lot of small businesses fail, not because they’re not profitable, but simply because they cannot manage their cash flow. This is particularly important in the start-up, growth phase of your business life cycle. 

  •  Strategic Business Planning 

How do you know how to get there if you haven’t planned where you want to go?  Identifying and creating your business vision will help you determine where you want to be.  Once you know where you are NOW, have identified WHERE you want to be in 2-5 years, then you can map out action items to help you work out HOW you’re going to get there.  Successful small business owners are those that understand that a Strategic Business Plan is not a “set and forget” process.  It is a living document that embodies your business vision and provides you with a clear plan to achieve that vision.  It’s also helpful when you need to apply for finance or would like to take advantage of government grant funding opportunities. 

  •  Problem Solving 

As a small business owner, the buck stops with you. Vital to your small business success is your ability to firstly recognise problems or potential problems, then deal with them appropriately. It’s about recognising what the issues are, not the symptoms, and putting in place solutions to address those issues. That means thinking creatively, researching the impact and potential solutions, considering the impact the problem has on you and others (emotional intelligence) and how this can be handled, applying some risk management principles and ultimately making a decision as to the most appropriate way forward – and following that decision though! 

  • Sales Skills 

Don’t consider yourself a salesperson? Think again. Every successful small business owner knows what their product or service is, who their target market is, why their market needs their product or service and more importantly, has a sales process or structure to access that market and achieve those sales. No one knows more about your business, product or service or is as passionate about your business as you. You are the key driver of your sales success. 


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