Improving your business management skills should be a constant goal for the small or home business owner. As your business continues to grow and expand, so do your management responsibilities. There are 6 areas that are commonly referred to under the umbrella of business management skills: planning, organizing, staffing, leading, controlling and motivating.
If you're already a business owner, you probably have a business plan. You need to be able to set goals for several months and years down the road. A simplified business plan will be one that can be easily reworked and edited as your business adapts to new trends. Stay familiar with what's in your own business plan, and study the plans of other successful business owners for ideas on how to improve yours.
Once you have your plan in place, you need to organize your business. What resources do you have available, and how will they be used to carry out your business plan? Find a mentor who runs a more successful company than yours, and learn how they put their resources to work in creative ways.
For those working from home, this can be less of a challenge. When your workload is getting to be too much, you need to be able to recognize that it's time to expand by adding more employees or outsourcing some of your work. Expansion should also be part of your overall business strategy. If you don't know how to outsource projects effectively, search job websites in your field. They can offer advice on everything from contracts to telecommuting strategies. Another important skill to develop is the interviewing and hiring process itself. You can develop interviewing and hiring skills by asking a mentor for help, or joining a trade association in your field and attending relevant seminars or webinars. Many times, you'll learn through trial and error.
The unexpected happens on almost a daily basis when you're in business. You need to be able to quickly determine how to handle the unexpected, and get your staff to carry a plan out. Leadership is one of the key skills to learn in a business, and therefore there are many classes, courses and even support groups to help you. Check out your local university or community college for classes on leadership and management. Also, join your local chamber of commerce and attend their luncheons when they have speakers on leadership. For a more in depth study, you might enroll in a distant learning program or get a Master's Degree in Business Administration.
You need to check the progress that your business is making against your original business plan. Can you recognize when things are getting off track? Can you listen to your employees' concerns and modify things when needed?
Once you have employees working for you, you'll find yourself having to motivate them at times. You must have the persuasive skills necessary to get your workers to carry out required tasks. Make a list of the things that motivate you as a business owner. Do you rely on any motivational techniques for yourself that you could use with your employees?
It takes time and hard work to develop your business management skills. You need to invest time in improving them, and it's a process that continues for the entire course of your career. If you find yourself struggling, consider taking a management training course to jumpstart your efforts. There are also many books and seminars that are geared toward the business owner who's serious about improving her managerial skills.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.