Some business owners have had to pivot rapidly to adjust their business during the crisis, but others have had to stop operating altogether. We have heard from a few business owners that they are using this time to work on their businesses and their own skills so that they can come back even stronger in the future. Today, we want to highlight several important skills business owners should have and how you can develop them.
As an owner, your time is one of the most valuable assets you have and is also one that can quickly be used up. You can improve your time management by grouping tasks you need to complete into similar categories. For example, tasks that require the same type of knowledge or level of focus. You should also delineate blocks of time for when you will work on certain tasks. For example, maybe you meet with your employees in the morning and leave the afternoon open for deep work on projects. Finally, set a few times per day when you will check your email and respond. This will be a better use of time than checking and replying throughout the day because the distraction of email notifications makes it difficult to regain focus.
Organization skills are important because they increase your efficiency and can help you reduce stress. Having organized records will make it easier for you to gather important information you need to make decisions. If this is not a skill that comes naturally to you, you can work on it by putting systems in place so that even when things are hectic you are organized. Consider working off of a to-do list where all of your tasks are recorded in one place. You should also have a filing system that you and everyone who accesses the files know how to operate. In many cases, you can start storing records digitally to save space, just make sure you have a back-up.
This is a critical skill to have so that you can effectively communicate with both clients and your employees. One of the most important things you can do is communicate to people what makes your business special, this is how you attract new customers, partners, and publicity opportunities. One way you can become a better communicator is by working on active listening skills. You should ask questions and for clarification when you need it.
Solving problems is one of your critical responsibilities as a business owner. When things go wrong your team looks to you to provide the solution. One way to start improving is to learn to recognize problems when they are occurring. Look at things with a critical eye and ask your employees what could be improved. Once a problem has been found, work on keeping an open mind and exploring a variety of possible solutions. Then, use your knowledge and resources, such as research and your mentors, to choose the best one.
Failure will be a major part of your journey to success. It is not something to shy away from, but rather is something to embrace as a learning experience. Sometimes you have to do something wrong so that you can then discover the right way. Identifying when you have failed and being able to accept it without getting defensive will help you learn from your mistakes. The next step is identifying how you can pivot to improve so that you can make the best of the situation and move forward.
A little empathy can go a long way in business. Everyone in the world has their own set of circumstances and it is impossible to understand what they are. Being empathetic can help you improve your customer relations as well as your management of your employees. Take time to ask questions and really listen to the answers. It also sounds cliche, but put yourself into the other person’s shoes and try to really understand why they are feeling the way that they are. Finally, if you are feeling very emotional in a given situation give yourself a minute to calm down before responding,
Even with the best time management in the world, as your business grows you won’t be able to do it all and will be forced to delegate. This involves a lot of trust in other people, your business is your baby and you don’t want anything bad to happen to it. However, if you try to keep control over too many tasks you can stunt your growth. Start by giving away a few tasks and schedule regular check-ins to see how things are going. As you get more comfortable, you can reduce the frequency of the check-ins and let your employee take full ownership of their new task.
What do you consider to be the most important skills of a small business owner? Let us know on Twitter, @KuvioCreative. We are also looking for small business owners who would like to be profiled on our blog and share their leadership knowledge. If interested, please fill out this brief form: https://forms.gle/gyVMvSbWs2stH89D8
Kuvio Creative is a global agency that delivers creative solutions to help your business thrive. We offer web design, web development, brand, marketing, and operations consulting services that come together through our partnerships with clients that allow their dreams to become reality. Learn more: www.kuv.io.
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