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3 skills needed to be a successful business manager

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 23 September 2019

As exciting as it is, running a business is no easy task. As a business manager, you are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a company – from budgeting and sales plans to the mentorship of those beneath you. Your number one goal would be keeping the business at its most efficient, productive, and profitable state.

With the vital role they play in corporate growth, it’s no wonder they comprise a large population of workers across Australia. The industry is expecting about 15,000 job openings in the coming five years, creating about 3,000 jobs a year.

Though expertise will vary from one business manager to the next – depending on the field they belong to – each possess the common trait required to succeed in their profession. SkillsTalk delve into the three main skills needed to be a successful business manager.

What are the skills needed to succeed as a business manager?

  1. Leadership.
  2. Financial management.
  3. Communication. 

1. Leadership.

people having a work meeting

Above all traits, a business manager must first display strong, effective leadership. You will be in charge of a team (or teams) of people, after all – so knowing how to guide, motivate, and develop their skills is essential to the overall success of the company. 

The key ingredients to successful leadership include:
  • Having integrity. The best way to lead is to do so by example. When establishing business standards and expectations, ensure you’re abiding by them yourself. As the CEO of Dropbox, Drew Houston, states: “We can write down all the pretty words about our culture and our values that we want, but people pay a thousand times more attention to what you do as a leader.”
  • Fostering a collaborative environment. Good leaders know how to make everyone feel valued and heard, regardless of race, gender, age, and other menial differences. Have regular meetings and discussions in place – offering all individuals a chance to share their unique ideas and input. Steer clear of favouritism, and ensure reciprocal trust is formed among all members of the team. 
  • Being flexible. Sure, micromanagement can give you full and accurate control over company operations, though this can easily lead to employee burnout, turnover, and a damage of trust. Understand that each employee has their own style of working – one that suits them best – and learn to focus on big-picture results, rather than minutiae. 
  • Time management and delegation. Managing an entire business will naturally offer a large, daily plate of tasks, so having proper time management systems in place is essential. This can be as simple as blocking time off your calendar for certain tasks, or using productivity apps to aid in your to-do list. Unforeseen events may occur, so it’s also important to adapt and reprioritise as necessary. Of course, delegating tasks is crucial in achieving business goals; to save focus for more pressing responsibilities, learn to assign aspects of your workload to members of your team. This increases productivity and develops employee skills in the process.

2. Financial Management.

Good financial upkeep is vital to smooth business operations – as having enough in the bank ensures your employees, clients, and suppliers are paid accordingly. On top of that, sufficient capital is required to continue growing the business and achieving company goals. 

Business managers must therefore be skilled in budgeting for such needs; sourcing necessities at the lowest cost possible and controlling overall expenditure to avoid debt. This process can include the following:  
  • Project your cash flow for the coming year. This would involve estimating both future revenue and fixed costs for your business. Factors will vary for each; revenue projections will likely depend on your company goals and initiatives to spur further growth. Fixed costs, on the other hand, are constant monthly expenses that could include rent, employee salaries, and utility costs. Working this out can aid in shaping your final monthly, quarterly, or yearly budgets.
  • Hire the right people to help. With other responsibilities at bay, it pays to have the right professionals manage your business’ financial affairs. These experts can play an incredibly beneficial role in your company with their insights and accounting knowledge. Not only will they take a great weight off your shoulders, but they’ll also help conduct growth in a cost-effective and responsible fashion. 
  • Use your budget to analyse business performance. Finally, take the time to review and revise your budgets on a regular basis. Even with a hired financial manager or accountant, it helps to keep on top of your business, checking these records for accuracy and asking any necessary questions. Look for areas of overspending and develop ways of cutting costs if necessary; on the flipside, you may find areas of business growth and profit.

3. Communication. 

communication concept

Interpersonal skills are key when leading a team to success. As a business manager, excellent communication will not only help in disclosing company goals, standards, and expectations among workers; they also help in fostering employee motivation and engagement

A good manager knows how to share their ideas with confidence and clarity, and encourages their workers to do the same. Mastering the art of communication involves: 
  • Preparing if you need to. Some may have the gift of gab, but not all conversations have to be improvised. This especially applies to important meetings or one-on-ones; if it helps to plan and rehearse your main talking points, then do so. Your words will appear far more effective as a result, and you’ll give yourself a chance to prepare answers for any possible questions or objections.
  • Listening carefully. You may have important ideas to share, but actively listening to others in response does wonders for your professional relationships (and your overall knowledge of the workplace). This shows you value and respect their thoughts, effectively boosting staff morale and inviting valuable feedback on aspects of the business. It can also bring attention to any issues or conflicts when they arise, allowing you to deal with them accordingly.  
  • Being apt in all forms: phone, writing, and face-to-face. Having crystal-clear verbal communication is essential, though plenty of workplace interactions also take place on the phone or via email. As someone in contact with workers from all levels and departments, you must be flexible in your communication and comprehensive in these other forms on a professional level. 
More than just a prestigious title, being a business manager involves a high-level set of both soft and hard skills to properly run company operations. By knowing how to motivate, guide, and openly communicate with workers, and by having clear financial goals – a happy, profitable workplace is just within reach. 

Think business management is for you?

All successful business managers know the importance of constant skill development. Whether you’re looking to pursue the role, or wish to upskill in your management abilities, Upskilled has a wide variety of business and management courses to aid in your career advancement.

The best part is, each course is delivered 100% online – offering the flexibility to train in your field while juggling other commitments. Enquire today to discover the ideal course for you.
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