Start-ups are lively and exhilarating places to work – and even more so if you’re the entrepreneur behind the business idea. Managing such an enterprise means hands-on, pedal to the metal work, and the sound management not only of your fledgling business and brand, but also the skills that you possess within your team. This article looks at the six areas of expertise you are going to need in any start-up venture to get it off the ground and to provide the perfect basis for a profitable and healthy business moving forward into the future.
First thing’s first: you cannot run a business without sound financial management skills. It’s not enough to be skilled with a calculator or to have achieved high grades in math; you also need to be familiar with spreadsheets, financial models, predictive analysis, sales forecasting and more.
Because these skills are hard to come by, many start-ups head off on their journey into their first year without sound financial planning and forecasting guiding their activity. And it’s because of this that the majority of start-ups fail – more often than not, because they run out of cash. Running out of cash is not inevitable and should, in fact, be seen as entirely avoidable. But you’re going to need the skills in finances in order to proceed with safety into the dog-eat-dog world of business.
Legal Cover and Insurance
Having someone on your team, either in an advisory role or as a permanent member of your team, who knows about business law and contractual law is an absolute must for your business. Without such advice, you’re going to stumble from customer to client without the correct business protection should you fail your customer in some way.
While legal advice is one thing, you can take some steps to ensure that you’re not left high and dry if business mishaps come to destabilize your business. Take a look online at business insurance quotes in order to understand what you can be covered for, and how that’ll ensure that you’re covered for the most common mishaps that can befall any company. Nothing can be worse than going bankrupt because of a lack of insurance, so this point’s particularly important for small businesses.
Clearly, digital skills encompass a wide variety of job roles. From the start, you’re going to need someone who’s well-versed with the internet and is able to set up both your social media pages and your website. It’s not difficult to do, but digital skills are required to do it. Meanwhile, you’ll need other digital skills within your team in order to crunch data – one of the world’s most precious resources.
You’ll finally need individuals who’re able to onboard the most useful software solutions to help your business automate some of those essential processes that you would otherwise have to delegate to staff. With digital skills at your disposal, you’ll be able to adapt and change to the differing requirements of any business set up in the digital age.
Marketing is one of the most important stages of any small business’ new life. It’s how you will be able to drum up the custom that generates your first sales and builds your business from the unknown entity that it began as to the high-quality and personable brand that you want to be seen as by your target consumers.
All of this is achieved through a marketing professional; someone who is able to take your products to consumers online, with innovative sales-driving campaigns, is one of your most useful assets in the first two years of your business’ life. Without such an individual, you won’t generate the increasing business that leads to exponential growth and business longevity. Digital marketing is of course the key skill here – so ensure you onboard such skills into your business from the get-go.
Perhaps it should go without saying that management skills are important when you’re setting up a new business that you hope will grow to thrive and rival some of the incumbents in your market at present. But it’s still worth pointing out that start-ups are driven by their manager’s and founder’s zeal and enthusiasm, and that if you’re not pulling your weight and leading by example, you cannot expect you staff to follow suit.
It’s your business idea, after all, so you should be excellent at the ‘lead by example’ management style. But what about other forms of management prowess? Well, you’re going to need to make snappy and well-informed decisions regarding the future path of your business. You’re going to need to choose the right time to scale, and you’re going to have to sign off on the creative work of your staff. All of these responsibilities need to be performed by a manager who’s confident and assertive and in full control of their company.
Communication skills can be roughly delineated into two sets of communication: oral and written. Oral communication encompasses everything from talking with your colleagues and regular suppliers to customer service provision, over the phone or in person, to your loyal and respected customers. Without the correct skills in oral communication, you can leave people feeling uncomfortable and poorly handled, which can quickly wreak havoc with your business’ reputation. Be careful to speak slowly, clearly and with respect – or bring in a salesperson and extrovert to do your oral communication for you.
Written communication is subtler, but can go a long way in terms of gaining your company the respect and exposure it deserves. For instance, with a talented writer on board in your company, you’ll have someone to write promotional material and brand guidelines to an incredibly high standard. They can also work on social media posts and blog posts on your company’s website. And, finally, they can compile press releases in order to get your brand, business and products out there into the press.
The six essential skills listed above are absolutely key for the success of businesses in the twenty-first century. However large or small you expect your business to be, make sure you have all six areas listed above covered in order to guarantee the best-possible future for your start-up enterprise.