Business skills allow businesspeople to use their understanding of human behavior in the consumer and organizational sector to promote a product or service. These skills are essential to develop as early and intentionally as you can if you plan on majoring in Business in college. The exact business skills you’ll use in your career will vary depending on your position, industry, and type of company—but some skills are universal to most business careers. Here’s a list of six specific business skills you should consider developing as soon as possible.
1. Strategic thinking
Strategic thinking is when you train your thinking to process in the context of achieving a goal or success in a certain project, service, or product. Being able to make decisions on the spot, weigh potential positive and negative outcomes, and consider variables all factor into your strategic thinking abilities. Strategic thinking taps into other skills of analytical thinking, innovation, communication, leadership, problem-solving, and decisiveness. In the business world, strategic thinking is necessary for market forces, resourcing, and economic realities. Company leaders gather, examine, and combine their business's internal data and ideas to develop a strategic narrative.
2. Market awareness
Market awareness is the ability to assess your entire industry from a macro level, allowing companies to optimize good business plans. This knowledge is broken down into sector awareness, fear awareness, and participant awareness. It’s a clear understanding of what exists in the market and what needs to exist in the market, and how you can fill that gap. It involves being aware of market trends, market size, and market shares as well as standards of the market.
3. Organizing and planning
Effective planning and organizing involve the ability to use logical and systematic methods to achieve your goals and track progress. It’s necessary in business to visualize your steps, organize, and modify as necessary. This requires estimating the time and effort required to achieve something, identifying and organizing resources, maintaining good time management in completing tasks, developing schedules and timetables, and establishing how to measure results. Delegation is also a part of effective planning and organizational skills; it’s important to distribute work throughout a team according to everyone's skill sets to maximize productivity.
4. Team building
Teamwork is a skill taught to us from a very young age, and team building is an essential skill in the workplace for many reasons. Being part of a successful team creates a positive work environment and builds company culture and trust. Employees can better their skills in other areas by learning effective teamwork. It helps employees be more accepting and understanding of people of different backgrounds. Team building can also foster healthy competition, which helps productivity. The better you are at learning to effectively work with and communicate with others, the more able you’ll be to contribute to a harmonious work environment.
5. Goal setting
Goal setting means deciding what to accomplish, knowing when you want to accomplish it, and devising a plan to achieve the goal. Goal setting and planning work cohesively with the aforementioned skills because working in business means seeing both the big details as well as the minute. When setting goals, you should follow the SMART acronym: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Goals are powerful tools that allow your business to focus on its priorities and experience success.
Businesses are run by people, for people. Communication directly correlates to how a business is run. It’s an important tool in a business both internally and externally. Communication skills are useful for negotiating disputes, composing emails, speaking one-on-one and in large groups, and talking with employees. Working on your communication skills means you’ll learn how to be persuasive and a key factor in your business’s success.
These six skills are fundamental in establishing, coordinating, managing, and executing a successful business. They’ll ensure your business is able to produce high-quality products, maintain excellent customer service, maximize profits and productivity, preserve a sustainable company culture, and more. To further your business skills, try taking on leadership roles, finding a mentor, volunteering to participate in extra projects, reading books, and furthering your education in college.
Want to learn more about what to expect from your business education? Check out the articles and advice in our Business section.