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What makes a person successful is a question that academics have studied in great depth. A major research piece by Harvard University found that successful people share many attributes and the top ten are:
How many do you feel you have truly mastered?
I’d argue that these are what I would call threshold values, which are the basic life skills for anyone running their own business. However, as our world evolves, there are other areas that everyone regardless of the sector they operate in, need to develop or enhance to reach their full potential.
Here are six soft skills the modern business owner needs to master:
When many business owners started out, social media as we know it didn’t exist. Now with the plethora of smart phones, tablets and online activity it’s difficult to imagine life without it. You may not use social media in your business but your competitors may do and your customers certainly will.
As the way we interact and communicate evolves, if a business is not part of their clients digital lives then they risk of not being involved in their future.
One of the most important aspects of Social Media has been the opportunity for businesses of any size, in any location, and any industry to reach an audience of consumers. So an understanding of Social Media and a plan has become a necessity for businesses, but remember, having a social media presence without an appropriate strategy and plan, can be just as damaging for your business as no plan at all.
Let’s be honest, most small business owners and entrepreneurs started their business because they were passionate about their service, message, product, or opportunity. I was the same way. I started my business because I loved to coach and help people plan for the future.
As business owners, we spend so much effort mastering our craft, we sometimes forget to tell people how good we are at what we do.
But when you step into entrepreneurship, BUSINESS also becomes your craft. Your number one job is to create business growth. And you simply cannot grow your business without understanding how marketing works and the benefits it can provide. You might not want to do it yourself, but you should at least know what you want from others before you pay them to do it for you!
Business Networking is a really valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business.
Business networking is establishing links with individuals that ensure you build trust and cooperation, where in time, you become advocates for each other and even provide support, ideas and ongoing business alliances.
Obtaining quality referrals is probably the most obvious benefit and the reason most business owners decide to participate in networking activities and join networking groups.
Do the alliances you have in place enhance your business and provide you with the network you need for the future?
Business alliances have become an increasingly powerful weapon in the war to gain and sustain a competitive edge. When two companies align themselves, their synergistic strengths seem more apparent, their individual weaknesses somehow less noticeable. Joining forces with another business can give your company deeper pockets and greater access to new technologies.
It can also increase brand awareness, enlarge your customer base, and enhance your product or service offering. Yet, in spite of all of these wonderful benefits, if you aren't careful, there can be some major bumps and pitfalls along the way.
I would however urge you to think carefully about the alliances you establish. Before you approach a new potential partner it’s wise to do some thinking about the gaps in your current offering to see if you really need to formulate a strategic alliances strategy.
An old boss of mine once said, ‘If you’re afraid of change, don’t run your own business.’
The last year has seen probably the biggest changes I can remember in my 32 years in business. If that wasn’t enough, we’re also seeing the strains of an ageing population, the fourth Industrial revolution, driven by new technology and social media and uncertainty in Europe.
Business owners and leaders have to understand the cycle of change and how it can impact not only on them but their staff and customers. Far too many people look at the events that change and ignore or forget the human element. Change management is a science and a skill in itself and applying change management enables organizations to deliver results on each change more effectively and build competencies that grow the organization’s capacity to tackle more changes at one time.
You may think you can do without planning for the future, but businesses in our profession now need to be on the lookout for what today’s rapidly changing landscape means to them and the clients they deal with. No business can afford to stop learning and planning for change. How much time do you set aside to plan for the future?
I know it’s a business cliché, but we all must make sure that we devote some time in our busy schedules to work on our businesses and not just in them.
Time is a valuable commodity, but the investment you make in defining the strategic direction of your business will be some of the most rewarding hours you will spend this year.
Soft skills are so often overlooked as we rely on the DNA that has taken us to where we are now. I’d urge you all to audit your soft skills strength and over the next few months I will be exploring each of these softer skills in more depth and highlighting how Panacea can help you become even more successful in the future.
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting May 2018