As a busy small business owner, it is important to continue to develop, and then master, your own self-management skills. This is vital as research has identified that at least 90% of business failures have cited lack of management skills as a core reason for the failure. Self-management skills are just one of the required skills needed to own and operate a successful business, in fact, they are the foundation for all other management skills. Let's take a look at the skills you will need to master.
Paperwork is the chief areas of complaint that I get from many of my clients. The trick is to have a simple system in place and to keep on top of it. If you have no experience in this area I suggest you invest the money and have an expert come in and set up your administrative systems for you. This single investment could save you more than you will spend on it. You will save time, headaches and possibly losses. The other trick is to ensure you file everything as soon as possible. In fact, I suggest you read it, do it, file it – as soon as you have completed the task.
Time Management Skills
As a small business owner, especially one who is starting out on their own, I can guarantee that you will be busy, very busy. You will be chief cook and bottle washer and everything else in between. You will be working long hours and changing roles several times a day. As a result you will need to be able to manage your time effectively and be able to prioritize what is important and balance that with what is urgent.
The two best books I have ever read on the principles of time management come from the same author, Stephen R. Covey. They are First Things First and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People . If you are about to step into an entrepreneurial role for the first time I suggest you read both books before you do. The unique insight and timeless principals these books espouse on time management is priceless.
The Art of Delegation
Being able to delegate effectively is another key skill you will need to master if you are to effectively use the additional staff you have employed to achieve the strategic intent of your business. Done well, your staff should be able to take some of the load of your shoulders and to push forward in the areas they have been designated to work on.
It is absolutely vital that you develop your communications skills, this includes written and oral communication, body language and horror of horrors, public speaking. You will need to be able to inspire, sell, negotiate, and detail. You will need to be able to talk to your staff, your banker, your accountant, your legal team, your staff, your customers, your suppliers and any third-party providers. How well you communicate will determine the success of your business, so you will need to ensure that you work on your communications skills and build them to an exceptional level.
Small business success is dependent on your ability to negotiate. To negotiate conflicts with customers and staff; contracts with suppliers; and deals with third-party providers. The better your ability to negotiate the more likely you will be able to navigate difficulties which will occur through the life of your business. Also the better the deals you are able to negotiate on behalf of your business, the faster your business will grow.
As a busy small business operator, wearing a multitude of hats and working long hours, you need to be able to manage both your motivation and your stress levels. Working yourself into the ground, especially for solo operators, is effectively working your business into the ground. You need to know when it is time to take a break and when you do, you need to be able to put all thoughts of the business side, so you can relax and recharge your batteries so you can get your productivity levels back to where they need to be.
The foundation of all of the core management skills needed to own and operate a successful small business are self-management skills. Quite simply, if you can not manage yourself, you will have difficulty managing a small business. Work to make those core self-management skills exceptional and you will have built a strong foundation for your small business.