7 Essential Skills For Your Business (Or Your Career)

Posted: 11th July 2016

Whether you’re self-employed or working for someone else, self-confidence is essential. There’s no way around it; you need self-confidence to have a successful business or career. Sorry; that’s just the way it is!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re just embarking on your career journey or you’ve been running your own business for years… the rules are the same. You need the following combination of skills wherever you are in your career or business journey. Although I’ve already mentioned self-confidence it’s also in my top seven essential skills:

  1.  Communication
  2. Collaboration
  3. Confidence
  4. Consistency
  5. Commitment
  6. Competency
  7. Caring

    1. Communication

Good communication skills are not just a nice to have. Whether you communicate verbally, in writing or through your body language, this is one skill you really need to nail. Your ability to communicate effectively is one of the most valuable skills you will ever learn. Good communication can make the difference between a successful business/career and failure. What are you waiting for? Start honing your communication skills today!

  1. Collaboration

Collaboration doesn’t have to have a price tag attached to it. Collaboration can be the sharing of skills, knowledge or resources. Of course you don’t want to give away secrets that may harm your chances of success. It’s important to objectively see the bigger picture and decide how you can work collaboratively with others. Effective collaboration always creates win/win outcomes

  1. Confidence

Confidence is an absolutely essential ingredient in your personal and professional life. Your chances of success are absolutely improved if you feel genuinely confident. This is something you have to do for yourself. Professional confidence coaches (like me) have a useful role to play in helping you, but we can only make a difference when you’re ready to accept it. Until you decide that you’re ready to welcome self-confidence into your life, nothing will change

  1. Consistency

Consistency is absolutely essential when it comes to running your own business. This might sound strange, but your clients would rather have a consistently poor service than a mixed bag from you. Of course your clients would prefer a consistently good service. The important thing is they know what to expect from you (good or bad) and they work around this. Obviously I recommend that you opt for a consistently good service as you and your clients will benefit more from this

  1. Commitment

If you want  successful business or career you need to be committed to this outcome. You can’t simply have some airy fairy idea and expect it all to turn out alright. Equally, you can’t let your level of commitment drop just because things are going the way you want them to. Successful businesses and careers are the result of your commitment. If you don’t have the tenacity to commit to this goal don’t waste your time. Go and do something else instead

  1. Competency

Competency comes from learning and further developing your skills. These days we’re all expected to demonstrate a level of IT knowledge and skill, but it doesn’t stop there. The more senior you are the greater people’s expectations of you are. These days you need to have a good grasp of writing and punctuation. They will also expect you to be a confident presenter. It’s important to recognise your weaknesses and work on these skills. They will be important to your business or career (whichever route you go down)

  1. Caring

If you have no passion for your business it will be obvious to your clients and colleagues. There’s no disguising it. Lack of professional passion shines from you like a beacon. I’m not suggesting you have to morph into someone you’re not and suddenly become gushing about your business. If you’re genuinely passionate about what you do it will be obvious to your customers. Trey will then follow your lead. That’s pretty powerful!

So, how do you move forward from here? I believe the answer is to deploy ‘intellectual self-confidence’. Here’s what I mean:

  1. Do an honest skills audit

No one is excellent at everything they do. Your skills audit will identify your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and get others to do the tasks that you don’t do well. You can pay others to do the tasks you don’t do well or trade skills instead

  1. Hone your problem solving skills

Learn to view problems creatively and flexibly. If necessary, use others as a sounding board. This creates win/win outcomes. You learn from other view points and others gain self-confidence by sharing their skills or knowledge

  1. Learn to speak your customers’ language

This requires honing your listening skills. Adapt your style and choice of words for each individual customer. Speak to them in their language (words and terms they use), not yours. Trust me, it will do wonders for your business/career

  1. Demonstrate gratitude

Whether it’s thanking your customers for their business or thanking others for sharing their knowledge, demonstrate your gratitude. This is a sign of strength not weakness. It tells the other person that you’re comfortable in your own skin and value them equally. Another win/win outcome!

  1. Keep on growing

Keep on growing – whether this is your business or your personal skills. Successful businesses and careers keep on evolving. Don’t get left behind in this fast-moving world. Izzy Warren-Smith founded WiRE in 1996 and it’s still going strong. This is testament to the need to adapt to a changing business world

  1. Voluntary work

Volunteering is one of the best ways to develop, self-confidence, a sense of gratitude and self-worth. Every volunteer I’ve ever met has said they benefit personally from volunteering. Don’t make excuses like “I don’t have the time”. We can all make a little time for the things we want to  do. Even a couple of hours a month will do wonders for your sense of self-worth. The added bonus is you don’t know what other doors this might open

  1. Keep expanding your horizons

Whether you’re running your own business or developing your career, be open to expanding  your horizons. The most successful careers and businesses are forged by those with the skills to spot new opportunities. Think of Sarah Tremellen (who set up Bravissimo in 1995). In Sarah’s own words she was appalled by the lack of choice in her size. She was fed up being offered enormous matronly contraptions more suitable for landing parachutes.

Of course there’s lots more I could say about the essential skills for your successful business. With a combination of good communication, collaboration, confidence, consistency, commitment, competency and caring you too can have a successful small business. I hope I’ve given you food for thought. With a little imagination and a lot of commitment the world really is your oyster.

May your business and self-confidence grow simultaneously.  Good luck!

If you need a little help with developing your self-confidence please visit my website www.shepherdcreativelearning.co.uk. There you will find details of my self-confidence books, home-study programme and self-confidence coaching programme.

Liz Tucker (Self-confidence Coach)