Business Skills Checklist for Entrepreneurs

  1. Take a Generalist Approach

Be a generalist. Although some people like to just focus on certain areas of running a business, having an all round general knowledge in various subjects empowers you as it enables you to be flexible. This is because it is essential to: comprehend the fundamental rudiments of the way a business operates, and to have a knowledge on how all the independent elements operate in unison to make it successful.

  1. Become an Apprentice

Think of your day job as a type of apprenticeship to becoming a successful entrepreneur. You have plenty of time to gain experience and expertise, and have the opportunity to learn about how people in different industries operate to make their company a success. You can apply your knowledge to determine which strategies could work well, and which ones should be avoided. Be sure to learn as much as possible about the best ways to drive profits and sales, and continually update your knowledge by following leaders in the business. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What facets could you learn about that will help you later on?
  • Is there anything you do not know about your current company’s operations in regard to

accounting, marketing or sales that you could increase your knowledge of business generally?   

  1. Be a Numbers Expert

Have an excellent knowledge of numbers, both your company’s and everyone else’s. Being in the know in this area can strongly motivate you to reach unimaginable levels of success. The language used in businesses throughout the UK and the rest of the world, is also based on numbers, so being familiar and fluent with main benchmarks and various formulas can be a strong asset for your path to success. So ensure you:

  • determine the size of your target market
  • find out how many companies are competing for the same space
  • work out the types of revenues these companies are producing
  • research the profit margins they are currently achieving

If you have recently made a company registration via a company formation agent, and calculated the costs for the business, review them, and be mindful of the fact that when you first start out, your anticipated revenues are not usually met, and your expenses are normally 30-35% higher than you planned. So again, it is down to numbers. You need to have a constant overview of your companies numbers, and if they do not add up the way you need them to, then you will have to make adjustments to your business strategy.

  1. Understand the Value of Systems

Systems are the key to success and the gateway to generating more lucrative and better businesses. So whether you are an employee, or running your own business, it is essential to understand how to systemise fundamental processes. This can involve aspects such as marketing procedures, overall sales, and answering the phone scripts. In addition to this, it is crucial to ensure that you are well acquainted with  technical systems and hard systems such as internet configurations, IT configurations, and phone systems.

  1. Be First-Class at Closing Sales

Without success at sales, there is no business, so it stands to reason that this is something you must excel at. As a company owner, you have to generate sales in the beginning, and even if you employ professional sales staff as they company grows, it is crucial that you understand the fundamentals of sales skills yourself. When you are involved in big business, it is you that the other party will want to meet with.

  1. Concentrate on the Most Important Things First

Being able to focus and remain focused, are essential skills for all great entrepreneurs. Steve Jobs is a great example of this. If you can master this, then you will be able to control what you say, think and do. Moreover, you will be a hundred percent present and centered on important matters, and whatever you are working on.

  1. Have a General Understanding of Every Job

Being the head of a company means understanding the duties carried out by employees in every job role. This knowledge is essential, as the more understanding you have, the more successful you will be. Furthermore, it will allow you to assess whether or not your employees are doing an effective and efficient job, and if you need to make changes to your staff. When you start your own company, you may fulfill some of these roles yourself. If this is not the case, and you employ others, make a point of learning about the basics of their job role by getting a book on the subject, or looking at an internet site and saving the contents. For example, it could be about the duties of a receptionist or telesales specialist. You should also look over what they do, and make notes, so that if you are short staffed you can explain what has to be done to someone else. That way, everything runs smoothly.

  1. Be a Great Team Player and Team Leader

Being a successful entrepreneur means that you should not just be an excellent team leader, but a first-class team player as well. Remember that others will look up to you, so you should exude confidence and optimism. Think Richard Branson! Always lead by example, and show innovation and determination. Strive to excel at communicating, and if you have formed a company, clearly explain what it is you’re  striving for, and what its goals are. Arrange incentives, and talk about them to drive everyone’s enthusiasm, and have regular staff meetings either once a day, or once a week.

Ask others for their take on things, brain storm, and be a good listener. You will be surprised at some of the good suggestions you may be given. Remember that some of your staff and other people you connect with in your business may have had many years of experience in top companies and organisations.

  1. Be Familiar with the Regulations

As any good solicitor or accountant will tell you after you have made a company registration, it is crucial to understand the basic legal aspects of running business. The responsibility of  keeping your accounting records and tax submissions up to date, filing your confirmation statement and attending to  other director’s responsibilities, and so on, are serious, and all matters have to be attended to efficiently and on time. To that end, it is preferable to put these matters in the hands of an experienced reputable company.

  1. Building on the Intellectual Capital of Others

The easiest way to do this, is to scout out books written by entrepreneurs in the field you are interested in, as well as leaders in other industries, Richard Branson, Simon Cowell, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs come to mind. These kinds of individuals enjoy sharing their immense business knowledge, and they all started in a very humble way, which makes their stories all the more intriguing. So develop and grow on the intellectual capital of these geniuses who shine a beacon of light to those who have the determination to succeed by giving a hundred and ten percent to all that they do. Most business people with a success story will tell you that at the beginning, it was not easy, and that there are many pitfalls along the way. And this is why it is so important to learn from those who have already been there and made mistakes. By reading about their entrepreneurial journeys, you can make sure that you do not succumb to the same.

  1. Build a Dynamic Network

Although it will take time, step by step, you can build up an incredible network. Thanks to the internet and platforms such as Linkedin, you can establish business relationships with people in your field. You can also follow leading entrepreneurs, and even attend conventions and trade shows etc., that they are attending, and you may have the opportunity to meet them. Successful entrepreneurs invest energy and time into their networks, and you would be wise to follow their lead.

  1. Think Outside the Box

World-class entrepreneurs always think outside the box. They embrace new and innovative ideas, and go into uncharted territory. Just look at the high tech advances of today, driver-less cars, drones, AI bots, and the list goes on and on. If these inventors and entrepreneurs were not broad minded when other people thought that they being unrealistic, these things would have never come about. These days more than ever before in our history, entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas are making waves, so if you have any, see how far you can go with them.

In summary, would be entrepreneurs need to learn as much as they can about everything connected to the industry and business they are interested in, if they truly want to achieve greatness. And although it must be said that the road to being a successful entrepreneur involves many things including luck, and choosing the right business at just the right time, if you cover these 12 points, they will go a long way to helping on your mission. So the very best of luck!


Arnel Ariate is the webmaster of Money Soldiers.

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