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5 Core Characteristics Every Business Owner Needs to Master

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Core Characteristics|5 Core Characteristics Every Business Owner Needs to MasterWhen you own a business, you must take on many day-to-day duties yourself, especially in the beginning. Over time, you may employ others to fulfill these roles. However, you need to learn and master a whole set of skills before you can taste success.
Successful business owners know the importance of developing their skillset before they can reap profits. With that in mind, here are some core characteristics you must learn first.

Effective Communication

Whether it’s staff, clients, stakeholders, or customers, business owners need to engage with a wide spectrum of people on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, mastering the art of effective communication is crucial to success. Even if you think you’ve got communication down to a tee, it’s worth checking out the communication skills test on the ZandaX website, which is carefully designed and thoroughly researched to identify aspects of how you communicate in just three or four minutes. Brushing up on your skills can make it easier to converse and build long-lasting relationships – which can have real benefits in every aspect of your life.

Leadership

As a business owner, you should already be a natural-born leader. After all, you’re the one who has the final say so and controls what happens underneath your power. You must be confident in your abilities and know when to take charge. While you may have managers who fulfill certain roles, you must show you’re a force to be reckoned with in your own right. Having strong leadership skills can help to build a successful business reputation.


Time Management

Organization is a must for all business owners. You’ll be required to wear many hats throughout your operation to keep everything ticking along nicely. Therefore, learning time management skills and implementing them into your company can help you stay on track and meet deadlines. Time management skills will show that you value your business and know how to manage your workload effectively.

Negotiation

Negotiation forms a large part of deals to be made in business. To negotiate successfully, you need to hold your own and never say yes to the first offer on the table. When meeting with clients, you’ll need to put your negotiation skills to the test to get people on board and have trust in your company. Patience and perseverance can go a long way and help you secure fantastic deals for your business.

Sales and Marketing

You may think you have a great business, but if customers aren’t flocking through the door or to your website, how do you expect to make any money? Spreading brand awareness is paramount for success. Therefore, learning sales and marketing skills can help get people talking and interested in your brand. This may include setting up a professional website, using social media, and utilizing email marketing techniques.
Without mastering the skills listed above, you’ll have a tough time proving your worth in business and getting customers onside. If you have a passion and want to turn it into a profitable venture, taking the time to build your skillset is essential.

4 Educational Courses That Are Useful for Entrepreneurs

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Educational Courses|4 Educational Courses That Are Useful for EntrepreneursWhen you decide to open a business, it’s a good idea to have some previous experience in the industry that your company fits into. This will mean that you have a reasonable, if not excellent, understanding of how things work in that industry and what your customers will expect and demand from you. While this kind of background is key, if you have never managed or owned a business before, there will still be gaps in your knowledge that could impact the overall success of your company. It is important to develop skills in business administration and management if you are going to become a business owner, and below are a few examples of the types of educational courses that could be beneficial to you.

1. Accounting

If you want your business to keep its head above water and be profitable, understanding how to manage the company finances correctly is going to play a huge role in this. Working out monthly, quarterly, and annual budgets are all essential steps, but if you have no previous background in accounting or working with finances in any way, you might not be as well-equipped to do this as you thought. You don’t have to become a fully qualified accountant, and you could always hire one if you wanted some professional help, but taking even a short course in accounting basics could help you understand how to file your company accounts correctly and even how to manage your money better.

2. Marketing

Marketing is another key ingredient to making a business a success, but creating strategies and campaigns, as well as carrying out all the necessary research, can be more complex than you think. It is recommended that you hire a professional marketing agency to help your business if you have limited experience in this, but learning about marketing can be beneficial to you as a business owner. You could even enroll in an online course similar to this master in digital marketing program to help develop your understanding of this field and how to implement marketing strategies in your company.

3. Human Resources

Looking at courses that discuss some or all topics under the HR banner is also worthwhile. You will need to make sure you are creating a safe environment for your employees and that you are adhering to employment laws when you start your company, and if you are a small start-up, you might be taking on the HR duties yourself. Make sure that you understand the complexities of these laws and the different responsibilities of HR to help keep your staff and your company safe.

4. Leadership Skills and Team Management

Another course that you might find useful covers leadership skills and team management. You might be working solo at first, but as your business expands, you will eventually need to hire more employees to help out, and understanding how to manage a team of people effectively will be essential. Being a strong leader that your teams can respect can be more challenging than you think, so understanding how to do this effectively will be invaluable.
If you are planning on starting a business, or have recently done so, consider looking into educational courses that cover these topics to help you develop your entrepreneurial skills.

How to Become a Better Manager

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Become a Better Manager|How to Become a Better ManagerOne of the most important aspects of business is management, yet this can be one of the most tricky and stressful responsibilities for entrepreneurs. Leadership isn’t a trait that comes naturally to everyone, and it may need to be worked on to succeed if you’re going to be undertaking a managerial role. However, failing to show good management traits can have a profound impact on the productivity of the workforce, leading to poor results and lower profits. In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the key ways you can become a better manager and improve your company’s performance:

Motivate your team

One of the most important traits that any leader should have is the ability to motivate their team. Keeping your employees driven and on task is key to your business’s future success. Failing to motivate your employees could lead to tasks being left incomplete and efficiency levels significantly reduced. It can be difficult to know exactly what needs to be done to motivate your team as every individual is different, however, many aspects should be considered. Firstly, allow your employees to voice their opinions freely without judgment. This gives them an insight into the fact that they have a sense of power within the workplace, as opposed to being micromanaged and shut down when they wish to express their concerns.

Secondly, allow your employees to take on additional responsibilities should they wish to. You may not realize it, but if your employees have been working on the same tasks day in and day out, they may be bored to tears and on the lookout for new opportunities. With this in mind, consider how and where they may be able to utilize their skills in other aspects of the business.

Thirdly, being generous with employee benefits is sure to make your employees feel appreciated and are rewarded for their efforts. Due to the high demands for skilled workers in a variety of sectors, it is easy for your employees to job hop when offered a new opportunity elsewhere, so always ensure you’re offering your workforce the very best benefits to retain your very best talent.

Create a positive work environment

A miserable workplace can make going to work a chore for employees so your responsibility as a manager is to create a more positive environment to keep your staff happy and less stressed. Employees can become completely dispirited if there is friction or negativity in the air. Therefore, whenever you notice any drama or issues occurring, it would be in your best interests to resolve them as soon as possible.

As a manager, you should ensure that you are checking in with your employees frequently to address any problems or concerns they may have. You could introduce an ‘open door’ policy through which employees have the freedom to knock on your office door and have a chat whenever they require. These steps for putting your employees’ happiness as a priority will not only improve productivity on a day-to-day basis but could also improve your bottom line.

Give and receive feedback

Many professionals want to get the best out of their employees, but fail to communicate their thoughts concerning their performance, simply out of concern of causing upset or damaging their professional relationship. However, ignoring the fact that things are going wrong and declining the chance to inform your employees can be a detrimental mistake. All employees need regular feedback to understand what they are doing well and where there is room for improvement and should give them a sense of direction on where to focus their efforts during the working day.

When giving feedback, ensure your comments are direct and are backed up with solid evidence. In doing so, your employees will understand exactly how to improve and in which areas they have surpassed expectations.

In addition to providing feedback, it would also be a good idea to allow your employees to have their say on your position as the manager. In doing so, it can help you gain a clearer understanding of how your team perceive you, as well as which management strategies need to be adapted to suit their needs.

Demonstrate effective leadership

It goes without saying that any good manager should have the ability to lead their team by offering support and advice where they see fit. Motivating your workforce to achieve is one thing, but if you aren’t providing any sense of direction, your team will be unaware of how to make use of their time.

Your main role should be overseeing your team’s duties using your leadership qualities without accidentally micromanaging. Employees feel more in control and confident when they have a manager nearby to turn to for assistance. Leadership skills don’t come naturally to every individual, so you may need to learn the basics of what it takes to be a good leader. You can boost your leadership skills by enrolling on a business masters course at Saint Bonaventure University.

Get to know your team on a personal level

How well do you really know your team? Many managers make the mistake of hiring their employees without really getting to know their staff on a more personal level. Whether you have hundreds of employees or just a handful in your organization, you must show interest and aim to understand them both in the workplace and when it comes to their personal needs.

While socializing has been proven difficult over the past 12 months as a result of COVID-19, it has become the norm to have a face-to-face meeting with new employees working remotely, even if it’s simply over Zoom. In doing so, it proves that you’re keen to get to know them much more closely as opposed to a simple email or phone call.

Although you have to remain professional as the manager, there’s nothing wrong with aiming to become friends with your staff; providing everyone is treated in the same manner so that you cannot be reprimanded for showing favoritism.

Be consistent with strategies

In order for your team to constantly perform and deliver, there needs to be the element of consistency from you, by following a certain amount of set processes. Employees take direction from your instructions to ensure tasks are completed by the deadlines, so everyone within the workforce should take this stance when it comes to guidelines.
Be appreciative of their efforts

When you’re trying to become a better manager, you need to pay more attention to how you treat your employees. While your job is to ensure that everyone is on task, you should never take your team’s efforts for granted. When managing a large group, it’s common for individual efforts to go unnoticed – especially if they are more subdued and unconfident individual.

Failing to recognize your employees’ achievements can be a major disaster long-term. Not only will they put their foot on the brake when it comes to efficiency, but they may also look for job roles elsewhere if they believe they’re not valued.

Don’t be afraid of new approaches and techniques

The way businesses are being run is changing by the day, therefore, managers must always stay in the loop when it comes to new trends and working styles. Some managers tend to take the cautious route in fear that the risk will flop; after all, if this were to happen, they will be the ones suffering the consequences. Yet, failing to carry out new approaches means that your business will stay stuck as opposed to progressing.

Taking controlled risks is the only way your business can reach its full potential and is how some of the biggest brand names in the world have got to their position today. Don’t overlook the ideas of your staff when it comes to your business’ development. They are the ones ultimately working on the front line and have a clear understanding of how things are going and what should be done better. Listening to your employees and taking a leap of faith with their ideas may not only work in your favor but is also a proven factor in employee retention.

Being the manager of a business is no easy task. Unless you have been a manager previously, it can take time to adjust to the responsibility of the position and be one of most difficult professional roles you will ever experience. Nevertheless, once you notice that your efforts are delivering impressive results, it will certainly give you that feel-good factor and perhaps strive to do even better. If you have never managed a team before, knowing how to conduct yourself and the policies to introduce to your team can be a challenge, yet it is simply a learning curve that will develop and improve over time. Hopefully this blog has given you some helpful hints to take on board as a new manager and give your team the very best chance of success.

11 Personal Factors That Determine Business Success

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Determine Business Success|11 Personal Factors That Determine Business SuccessThere’s no shortage of things that influence how successful a business will be. Much of it has to do with the strength of the idea and the execution of those ideas. However, it’s also important to remember that they’re not the only things that influence business success. It’s a complicated aspect of life that everything from politics to world events can influence. One of the biggest influences is personal. It’s about the person who’s leading the company.

In this blog, we’re going to run through a bunch of personal factors that you should keep an eye on because they might just impact the future of your business.

Your Routine

It’s not just what you do while you’re at the office that counts, but what you do outside of the office too. You’ll likely be pretty good at coming up with routines for when you’re at work. But it’s also important that you have a routine outside of work, too. If your routine isn’t well established, or it’s damaging, then you’ll be unlikely to arrive at work ready to hit the ground running. A chaotic schedule outside the office will create chaos inside the office!

Where You Work

It’s not just how you work that’ll guide the future of your company, but also where you work. There’s a big difference between working at a cramped kitchen table and working in a beautiful office. This is something that we all intuitively know, but it’s actually been backed up by research in recent years. People work better when they like their surroundings! If you’re currently uninspired by your working environment, then it could be time to upgrade your office space. You’ll find that, by doing this, you don’t just work better, but that you also raise your company’s standards.

Soft Skills

You may have a vision for where you want to take your business. But you won’t be the only person involved in that process — there’ll be plenty of others, from staff to contractors to customers and beyond. As such, it’s vitally important that any leader develops the soft skills they need to get where they want to go. Everything becomes much easier when you’re effortlessly able to talk with other people in a friendly manner, for example. Don’t worry if this isn’t something that comes naturally to you — as with most things, it’s something that you can learn.

Energy Levels

It takes a lot of time, effort, and energy to build a successful company. If you lack any of those things, then you’ll find things difficult. So let’s think about energy. Are you continually getting tired and finding it difficult to work at a high level throughout the day? Then it’s likely that something needs to change. There are plenty of tried and tested methods for boosting energy levels. For example, you can improve your sleep, begin exercising (which boosts endurance), and rethink your relationship with coffee; that caffeine hit will be beneficial at first but may cause an energy crash later in the day.

Optimism

There are times when we make our own reality. If you go into things with an optimistic, positive attitude, then you’ll be much more likely to succeed than if you went into it with a negative attitude. Your attitude might seem like a small influencer, but it’s not — especially not when you expand the timeframe over the course of a lifetime. A person with a positive attitude will see and do things that the negative person would not. Of course, you can’t be positive all the time, but if you find yourself slipping into negativity a little, then it’ll be important to rein things back in a little.

Leadership Skills

Business owners learn, at some point or another, that they won’t just be in charge of their own work. They’ll also be in charge of other people’s work. And that means that they’ll need to call upon their leadership skills if everything’s going to run smoothly! There’s a big difference between being a boss and being a leader. Anyone can be a boss. It takes work to become a leader. But it’s work that’s worthwhile conducting because of the massive impact it can have on a business — and, indeed, the impact it can have on the lives of the workforce.

Adaptability

There are some things in life that you can control and some things that you can’t. When you’re running a business, you can do a lot to ensure that your company can work well. But then, you never know what’s going to happen. Any number of external factors could play a role. And when they do, it’ll be the company’s adaptability that determines how well they’re able to continue moving forward. It’s a good idea not to get too locked into one way of doing things. If you’re open and adaptable, then you’ll be able to roll with the punches and find success in a new environment.

Ability to Spot Problems

There’s value in valuing the good things that you do. But in many cases, it’s identifying the things you’re not doing correctly that can have the biggest impact on a company. The good aspects of the organization will naturally reveal themselves. The bad ones can stay lurking in the corner until at some point they reveal themselves — and at that point, it may be much more difficult to undo the damage. It’s a good idea to perform periodic reviews of your company’s operations to check that there’s not some fundamental error that could cause major problems.

Outside of Work

It’s impossible to have a frantic personal life and run a successful business, at least on a long-term basis. They say that you should keep your public and personal lives separate, but that’s never as easy as they make out. There’s a lot of value in working to ensure that you’re physically, mentally, and spiritually well – as well as making life more enjoyable, it’ll allow you to work better. Of course, most people don’t need to radically change their overall health. But even small improvements can make a big difference. For instance, if you’re drinking alcohol a little too regularly, then a short break can do wonders.

Willingness to Learn

You’ll begin your company knowing some things about what it takes to be successful. But the majority of what you know should be learned when you’re running the business. If you make time for — and have a willingness for — learning, then you’ll be putting yourself in a good position for success. There are plenty of highly valuable business blogs, books, podcasts and more out there that can give you the inside scoop on what it takes to find success. However, while all that information is there, it’s up to you to seek out and absorb that information!

The Grind

Finally, let’s talk about the grind. You could know everything about building a successful company, but if you don’t have the capacity to work for long hours and chip away at all the tasks you need to do, then you won’t be successful. The grind is something that you can’t think about or read about in books — you just have to do it. There’ll be times when your business has to be your whole life. Make it so!

Conclusion

And there we have it. The above won’t guarantee success, of course, because there are so many other elements involved. But they will be important steps along your journey towards building a successful company that make everything easier.

4 Tips to Help You Overcome Imposter Syndrome

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Imposter Syndrome|4 Tips to Help You Overcome Imposter SyndromeThe period after accepting a job is filled with a range of emotions. You are excited for what the future holds, but you may also feel overwhelmed by the stress of expectation. This can cause you to experience imposter syndrome, where you believe you aren’t as capable as everyone thinks you are and, sooner rather than later, you will get found out. This can be a debilitating experience that could impact your performance. So how can you overcome imposter syndrome and thrive? Here are four tips to help you.

Gain Experience

Inexperienced professionals are often most prone to experience imposter syndrome, and one of the easiest ways to beat this is to gain experience. Internships, courses, and programs like the HBS 2+2 can all help you prepare for a new role or position and help you understand what a professional environment is like. This approach can settle your nerves and enables you to get a feel for appropriate behavior and decorum within the office. Depending on the type of experience you seek, you can also learn key teamwork skills and improve your presentations to prevent nerves.

Use Positive Self Talk

If you’re someone who uses self-deprecating humor as a defense mechanism, it’s time to make changes and overcome imposter syndrome. Understanding the benefits of using positive self-talk will help you believe in yourself more. Although you might not think self-deprecation is doing any harm, it can eventually rewire your brain to doubt yourself at every turn. Replacing this talk with a positive attitude will alter your entire way of thinking, which will give you the confidence you need to succeed.

Recognize Your Strengths

Similarly, it’s easy to highlight your faults and know what you can’t do, which is one of the major issues with imposter syndrome. But, identifying things you are good at and having the confidence to show these skills off is a great way to overcome any feelings that you’re not good enough for the role. It can be even more effective to write these skills down and use them as a ‘Brag Sheet’ that you can reference whenever you’re feeling low on confidence as it can help you refocus.

Have Someone to Talk To

You don’t need to deal with imposter syndrome alone, and having someone to talk to will give you the emotional support you need to cope with any doubts you might have. This support network, whether it be your partner, friends, fellow professionals, or even strangers, is crucial for gaining a different perspective and helps you approach your problems from a new angle. It’s easy to gain tunnel vision when you feel overwhelmed with imposter syndrome, but getting advice from others will broaden your scope and give you positive reinforcement.

Overcome

Often, your biggest enemy is yourself, but it doesn’t need to be. It is natural to feel you are not good enough, but knowing there is a reason you were hired and reminding yourself that you are good enough will help you overcome imposter syndrome and excel in your career.