6 Skills Every Small Business Manager Needs to Succeed

In business, success is determined by the bottom line, your profits.Businesspeople are discussing the work

What is needed to increase that bottom line may not be clear-cut, but there are certain skills that go a long way to ensure any small business is on the right track and has what it takes to succeed.  If you don’t have these within you, look outside to fill any weaknesses.

Managers in any business hold the key to leading employees in the direction the business needs to go, but this is especially true in a small business. That’s because these managers wear many hats.

These six skills are essential in a small business manager:

  1. Multi-tasking. A manager must be able to oversee all the employees, keeping their abilities and weaknesses in mind while prioritizing multiple projects. I call this being up the blimp, looking at the action on the field rather than being in the game. The best managers multi-task and balance those priorities without losing productivity.
  2. Decision-making. The ability to evaluate and decide is crucial to being a successful manager in a small business. Small businesses are unique in that information often must be acted upon quickly; but making the right decision rapidly without making mistakes means evaluating information to weed through what is important and what isn’t.  Don’t look at a situation over and over without making a decision – right or wrong – or you’ll lose sleep and probably lots of opportunities.
  3. Leadership. The best managers know how to get the most out of their employees, while building them up in the process.  That means using judicious constructive criticism instead of belittling.  It means treating others with respect instead of my-way-or-the-highway.  It means leading by example instead of do as I say. These are all leadership traits that inspire employees to give their best.
  4. Motivation. This goes hand-in-hand with leadership. To be effective as a manager, being able to motivate employees is a must.  Even though I’m a motivational speaker, motivation to want to do well is internal. Either the employee is motivated to do the job or not. A successful manager is able to nurture that along with using clear performance expectations.  Setting goals will keep the employee focused on the long-term success of your company.
  5. Business Development Skills. A manager must be able to look for areas in which the company or procedures within the company can be improved.  Millennial employees are very good at seeing these things when they first start, so be open to them. Streamlining procedures and cutting costs are two ways a manager demonstrates this skill.
  6. Effective Communication. Without communication skills, managers are ineffective. Only a small percentage of communication is the spoken word. Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice all combine with words to convey a message. The best managers have developed the ability to not only communicate the points they are trying to make, but also to truly listen to those around them.  That means smartphone off, eyes looking at the person and striving to hear, rather than speak.

When a manager has the six skills listed above, they are able to receive information from multiple sources, from employees they are leading, or even from the industry around them, then use that information to benefit the bottom line.

Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor®, has helped thousands of businesses in hospitality, manufacturing, service, restaurant and retail since 1994.  His clients have ranged from multi-national luxury brands to small business mom and pops. With over thirty years experience beginning in the trenches of retail and extending to senior management positions, Phibbs has been a corporate officer, franchisor and entrepreneur. His speaking presentations are designed to provide practical information in a fun and re-memorable format. His newest product is SalesRX, his online retail sales training. No matter how long an employee works with your small business, if they can master the skills to build rapport and make a sale, they can go on to do just about anything.

Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana
Ajeet Khurana wears many hats: author, angel investor, mentor, TEDx speaker, steering committee of the NASSCOM Start-Up Warehouse, Director of Founder Institute, Venture Partner with the seed initiative of a top Venture Capital firm, and former CEO of IIT Bombay’s business incubator, among others. Before all this, he was entrepreneurial twice in the field of education and web publishing. As a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, he taught e-commerce back in 1993, when the term "e-commerce" had not yet been coined. An undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, and an MBA from the University of Texas, Ajeet is presently an active name in the startup ecosystem. From starting two ventures as a solopreneur, to helping a large number of startups with their go-to-market, he has never shied from getting his hands dirty. At the same time he has helped dozens of startups raise investment. He truly believes that small business owners are driving change in the world, and need to be facilitated as much as possible. Innumerable small businesses have gained from his attitude, vast professional networks, financial acumen and digital mindset.

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