12 Essential Skills Business Owners Need to Succeed


There isn’t just one factor that can take sole responsibility for a business’s success. Many people would say it’s the strength of the product or service line coupled with market need. Others would say it’s how well a business scales and the financial backing it has. 

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t discount how important the person running the business is to its success. Your personal skillset is incredibly influential in whether your company thrives long-term. So prioritizing sharpening particular skills is a must.

Wondering what specific skills to develop to ensure your company flourishes? We’ve got you covered with 12 skills you need to help your business succeed.


One of the biggest mistakes a new business owner can make is not adapting and rethinking their direction when necessary. If there’s one thing we can count on in business, it’s change. Change in your industry. Change in technology. Change in your customer base. Lots and lots of change.

Failing to adapt to changes in your business could result in a hit to your reputation, becoming irrelevant to your target audience, and diminishing sales.

You won’t be able to plan for everything, so it’s essential to learn to embrace change. When things shift, view it as a learning opportunity and experiment with different solutions.   

Saying No

Starting a business requires a lot of time, energy, and effort. You’ll also have to wear many hats. And as your business gains momentum, new projects and opportunities roll in. It’s tempting to take them all on, but it’s important not to.

Learning to say “no” is essential if you want your business to succeed. Saying “no” can be difficult at first, especially if you’re one to open your arms to everything. However, learning to do so can help you maintain a work-life balance and run your business from a whole, happy, and healthy place.

When you feel like something will step all over your boundaries, ethics, or current workload, just say no.

Literacy in Technology

We’re living in a technology-driven world. Your competition will use technology to their advantage. Your customer base and potential partners will too. So, if you don’t grow your literacy in technology, you’re risking being a step behind your competition and not as valuable to your customers and partners as you should be.

Don’t feel like you have to learn every piece of technology all at the same time. Instead, start with one tech tool, app, or software. Then, designate time each day to grow your knowledge and comfortability with it. 


This one may be a given, but business owners need leadership skills to succeed. Whether you have one now or in the future, your team needs someone to guide them. In addition, to truly achieve your business vision, you’ve got to be in charge of getting there.

The best way to grow your leadership skills is by working on what makes you a leader. For instance, practice active listening in every conversation to strengthen your communication. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and actively work on both. Your leadership will also grow each time you step out of your comfort zone

Accepting Feedback

Becoming a business owner is a huge accomplishment. However, it doesn’t mean you know everything. It doesn’t mean you’re a master at everything. Nor doesn’t it mean you’re above the advice and perspective of the people around you.

Accepting feedback is essential to your business’s success. Solicit it whenever possible, especially from customers, stakeholders, and other business owners. You can always learn from others, and what you learn can catapult your business to the next level. 

Taking Reasonable Risks

Business ownership requires risk. But unfortunately, many people who start a business aren’t prepared for the emotional toll risk-taking can have on them. Mainly because if the risk doesn’t pan out, it can close a business’s doors for good and take the owner down with them.

Still, taking reasonable risks is critical to evolving your business. Don’t be afraid of failure. Instead, learn from it. Thoroughly assess what doesn’t end up working in your business. After each assessment, create an action plan for how you will move forward in a better direction and execute it.


To run a successful business, you must learn to put yourself in other people’s shoes. In other words, you must learn empathy.

When you can put yourself in your customers’ shoes, you can develop better products, services, and content for them. Empathy can help you lead your team better. It can also lead to authentic business partnerships and professional relationships.

Always consider others’ perspectives, feelings, and experiences before making any moves for your business.

Marketing Savvy

Marketing savvy is another crucial skill to develop as a business owner. Lack of marketing is one of the most significant reasons businesses fail. If you can’t connect with your customers and effectively promote your products or services, your business doesn’t have a chance.

You may not be able to hire a marketing team right off the bat, so it’s crucial you grow your marketing savvy in the meantime. Self-educating on marketing through free courses online is an excellent way to expand your marketing skills. 

Social Media Skills

Millions of people use social media daily, your customers included. So, if you don’t know how to use social media effectively for your business, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to boost your marketing efforts.

Start by exploring the functions and features of your personal social media accounts in more detail. Then, turn to the business functions on these platforms to see how you can use them to grow your brand.

Project Management

Focusing on one thing at a time in a business is a luxury that most business owners have yet to experience. More realistically, there will always be multiple projects going on at once, needs to address, and things to do.

Project management skills help ensure those projects get done. They also help your team work together effectively and keep your operation organized. Adopting project management software can get you started learning to effectively manage multiple tasks at once.


Self-motivation is one of the most important skills you can have as a business owner. Entrepreneurship is an adventure. An emotionally-charged, sometimes lonely, uncertain adventure at that.

You must be able to push yourself through rough times in business. You’ve got to get up and run your company even when you don’t feel like it. And you must keep striving toward your business vision even when others don’t understand it.

When things get tough, remind yourself why you started a business in the first place. Then, stay focused on that why and let it motivate you when you get overwhelmed.

Financial Literacy

Don’t let lousy money management be why your business doesn’t reach the level of success you want it to. Instead, become financially literate and start your business financial planning.

Sit down with a financial planner to learn critical aspects of business finances. They can show how to do general accounting like cash flow and profitability, how to read a balance sheet, and properly document your business’s financials.


Business owners need many other essential skills to succeed, but this list is great to start with. Prioritize growing these particular skills to enhance your business and prompt its swift success.


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