If you’re anything like me, when you hear the term business management, you think of a college degree and big corporations. But the truth is that anyone who runs their own business, no matter how big or small, needs business management skills if they want to succeed. But what is business management?
Let’s find out.
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Business management is the art of managing a business at every level in order to achieve its goals and objectives. But to do this, business managers have to focus on more than just employees and the products or services the business offers.
A business manager looks at the business as a whole and needs to have an understanding of the organization’s goals, its definition of success, and a grasp of the available resources to reach those goals.
For example, business managers are sometimes responsible for implementing new products or services. To do it successfully, they need to understand the goal of the new product, the available funding for designing and launching it, and how the organization can best support the staff responsible for the project.
Sometimes business managers have to make decisions based on incomplete data or information. They need serious analytical skills to make wise decisions. In addition, they need the ability to motivate and encourage employees to carry out the project in a productive and cost-effective way.
You’ve likely heard the old cliché that entrepreneurs wear a lot of hats. It’s true. Working for yourself means you won’t have just one job as you do in a regular 9 to 5. Instead, you are responsible for everything that happens in the business.
In other words, you need to manage every aspect of a business. When asking what is business management, think of a jack-of-all-trades, and you will begin to get the picture.
Without business management skills, you will find it challenging to manage all aspects of your business, not to mention your employees.
You need some fundamental business management skills to pull this off effectively.
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What are the business management skills you need to succeed? Here are 13 non-negotiable skills that every business manager (and entrepreneur) needs.
1. Make up your mind
When you run a business, you need the ability to make decisions — and fast. You may not have all of the information you need, or you may be asked to make a quick decision about something important when you would rather think about it overnight.
But when asking what is business management, decision making comes in high on the list. Why? Because unless you can make fast, smart decisions, you could lose out on excellent opportunities that could have grown your business.
To be effective in your role, you need to quickly evaluate the situation, identify your options, and take action based on your insights.
2. Leaders lead
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A business manager’s job is to make decisions that are best for the company and its employees. To do this, you need the ability to make your employees both productive and happy with their jobs.
It’s a balancing act that every entrepreneur and business manager must learn.
3. Do it all — at once
As a successful business manager in your company, you can’t afford to concentrate on one area of your organization without taking the others into consideration. For example, if you’re assigning a task to a team, you will need to analyze each team member’s weaknesses and strengths. And at the same time, you will have to keep the budget and time constraints in mind.
Business managers have the ability to look at the business as a whole, and then break it down into departments and functions — all while keeping their eye on the big picture.
4. Listen up
You can’t be an effective business manager unless you know how to communicate your needs to employees, business partners, clients, and suppliers. And as the acting business manager in your company, you will have to do this effectively.
For example, imagine an employee listening to your instructions about a project while you’re texting someone else. Your lack of attention will send the message that the project isn’t that important.
Instead, you should develop interpersonal and communication skills that help you not only get your point across but do it in a way that makes the listener feel valued and heard.
5. Streamline it
When asking, what is business management, one of the most common answers you’ll hear is business development. A business manager needs the ability to look at an organization and pinpoint areas where they can streamline it for greater productivity and profitability.
If you run a business, you need an understanding of what your employees do and how they contribute to your business. If an area has too many employees and you spot it, you can save your company thousands of dollars by assigning the employee or cutting staff.
Another area this skill set comes in to play is with the organization of your procedures. For instance, if you realize that certain steps are unnecessary in a procedure, you will save the company money by cutting them out.
6. Get them excited
Motivation is another skill that effective business managers possess. When an employee is motivated, they are better at their job. And it’s up to the business manager to make them feel that way. Your first step is to earn the respect of your employees. Do this by leading by example and always treating your staff with respect and humility.
You should also nurture your employees by giving them clear performance expectations and goals. And once they reach them successfully, let them know how much you appreciate them.
7. Put it all in place
When you act as the business manager for your company, you will need some serious organizational skills. Remember, you need the ability to look at your business as a whole, and that means thinking about the big picture. Included in this picture is all of the individual departments that make your business run.
You will always work toward goals, but you need the ability to look at all of the goals at once and determine a plan to meet them.
Here are some of the events you need to plan as a business manager.
- Hire, schedule, train, and if necessary, terminate employees
- Resource management
- Strategic planning
- Multiple projects planning events
- Outsourcing management plans
- Event coordination
- Financial reporting planning
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When you’re in charge of a project, it’s up to you to set up the tech that will contribute to the project. And that’s why when asking what is business management, you need to include tech skills in the mix.
You need tech to communicate with your team, clients, and suppliers. That means you’ll need to understand how to use virtual meeting software and smartphone apps. And if you want to keep track of your employee’s progress on projects, you’ll have to use project management software.
Other techie things that business managers need to use are accounting software, customer relationship management systems, and inventory control systems.
That’s a lot of business management skills to master. But we’re not finished yet. You’ll have to possess or learn these skills, too.
9. Crunch it
As a business manager and the owner of your own company, numbers are everything. Your financials can make or break your business, and as the overseer of them, you’ve got to get it right.
That’s why when people ask, what is business management, often the first thing they hear is the word “budgeting.”
You are responsible for ensuring projects are completed within budget, your staffing budget is appropriately set, your profit margins are sustainable, and your accounts receivables don’t get out of control.
In other words, you are the manager of the organization’s money. And unless you do the job right, your business could suffer.
10. Walk the tightrope
When you manage a business, you will often face conflicting priorities, and you will have to decide which ones to give more emphasis to. For example, you may realize that you need to hire another employee because your existing employees work too many hours. But at the same time, you realize that you’re over budget with your staff.
Which priority do you choose?
That’s just one example of why the ability to balance conflicting priorities is one of the key factors when asking what is business management.
No matter what type of business you run, you will face conflicting priorities. The key is to know how to prioritize them so that it makes the most sense for your business
11. Mix it up
Today’s work environment doesn’t look like it did just a few generations ago. That’s because people embrace diversity and uniqueness whereas, in past generations, most people strove to be the same.
And as a business manager, you will need to support all ethnic groups, genders, and generations so that everyone feels like an essential part of your organization.
You may run into sticky situations as your employees interact with each other, and you will have to put some guidelines in place so everyone understands the rules. This is another area where excellent communication skills play an essential role.
12. Not always in the know
Another important trait for business managers is that they are always learning. If you already think you know everything, you may not make a great business manager.
You should stay up-to-date on all the things that affect your business. Whether it’s a software update for a program you manage or a new way of doing a task, the more you learn, the better you can manage your business.
13. Character counts
Finally, to be an effective business manager — or business owner — you need to have a strict sense of ethics that people can count on. For example, as you manage employees, they need to rely on the fact that you will always do what you say.
And your clients and suppliers also need to know that you abide by the rules and won’t try to squeak by on the important things.
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As you can see, business management is an essential aspect of running a company. If you don’t already have all of these skills you need, it might be wise to take some classes or even get a business management degree. The more of these skills that you possess, the more effective you will be in running your business.
Do you own a business and use any of these business management skills in your day-to-day operations? We’d love to hear about some of your experiences in the comments below!
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