It can be tough running a business when you are doing everything alone. Most entrepreneurs are not masters of all the skills necessary to be successful, yet this very lack could be hurting their business the most. If you are starting or running your own business, take an honest inventory of your skill set to see if it includes the following. If you are lacking in some areas, you might need to take classes, hire somebody, or find a partner who can help.
• Are you a good communicator? Some people go into business for themselves because they think they won’t have to deal with as many people. Then they are surprised at just how much communicating they have to do with customers, vendors, and members of the community. Take stock of your communication skills, and make sure you have the ability to talk, listen, and make strong presentations. You might even need to speak in public more than you ever did before. The local college might have classes on public speaking that can help you get over this fear so you can effectively present your business to potential customers.
• Can you communicate online? You might think that your particular business does not need any online presence but you couldn’t be more wrong. In today’s digital age, the first place potential customers look for new business relationships is online. This is especially true for retail or service businesses, but applies even if you’re a plumber, handyman, or artist. If people can’t find you online, it’s likely they won’t try to find you at all.
• Can you manage money? Your business will fail without money of course, but there is more to money management than just taking in cash. You must be able to accurately track cost-of-goods sold against sales prices to make sure you are making a reasonable profit on your efforts. You need to have enough money in reserve to cover any cyclical or downtimes, and to make major purchases that will help improve your business. And you have to comply with local and state tax and insurance regulations. If you can’t do this yourself, you need to look at outsourcing it to someone who can.
• Can you cope? They say that it is lonely at the top, but it is lonely being alone, too. Some entrepreneurs find themselves isolated, or realize that they cannot cope with the stress of running a solo business. In this case you need to have or find a strong support network that can help you through the worst of times. Find a supportive partner, a mentor, or a local business group to lean on so you won’t become overly stressed.
If you are smart enough to start your own business, be smart enough to know the skills you do and don’t have. If you don’t have a particular skill yourself, find an alternative way to get it in your business