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Five Essential Skills for Small Business Owners

If you’re a small business owner here in the UK, you’re in good company.  Small to medium enterprises make up more than 99% of all private sector business in Britain and the majority of these (a massive 99.9%) are small or medium sized (SMEs).  Operating a small business means fulfilling several roles and functions as a business leader and it’s vital that you have the necessary skills in order to ensure success for your business.  While hard skills and knowledge of your industry are essential, there are plenty of soft skills that can make all the difference between your businesses surviving or flourishing, so today we’re going to take a look at some of the underrated skills that will benefit your business.

1.     Delegation – It’s pretty tempting to do things yourself to make sure they’re done properly but, as a small business operator, there are limits on both your time and your energy.  Any good business leader knows that delegation is an essential skill and, once you hand over a task to a member of staff, don’t be tempted to micromanage them as they work.  While it’s important that you know exactly what’s going on with the task, showing trust in your employee and the confidence that they are able to complete the task successfully will benefit your relationship with employees.

2.     Endurance – you’ll need to be willing to fail a few times in business and then learn from your mistakes to effect improvements which will lead to success.  Try to look at each failure as a stepping stone towards your eventual success.  One of the biggest small business killers is burnout, so a healthy appetite for endurance really is an essential part of running your own business.

3.     See the big picture – you’ll need to right attitude to put everything into perspective and look at your business and your situation as a whole.  This will give you the insight necessary to know when to stop and change direction or when to push ahead against all the obstacles you face.  Finessing your way past a problem by redirection is a great business skill and you’ll need a healthy dose of objectivity in order to do this.

4.     Empathy – a good sense of empathy will enable you to establish healthy, professional relationships with your employees which, in turn, will allow your business operations to run more smoothly.  Make sure that your employees find you approachable as they’ll be able to come to you with ideas, problems or to ask for guidance.  Research shows that workers in small companies (with fewer than 50 employees) are usually happier and more engaged than their counterparts who work in larger organisations.

5.     Copywriting – copywriting can encompass tasks such as technical writing, advertising, marketing and formal correspondence with customers, all of which are crucial to the success of your business.  While you may have a great idea, a sound business plan and a source for funding, this won’t count for much unless you can communicate it effectively.  If you don’t have the writing skills necessary to do this, you can hire freelance copywriters online.  Don’t make the mistake with looking for the cheapest option – you need to be serious about investing in your business and hire the best you can afford.