Core skills for your business

Grasp of finances

  • Numbers, numbers, and numbers – make number crunching a fun. You know numbers – your date of birth, anniversary, your Identity Card number, bank account, and so on
  • You need to be able to grasp balance sheets, profit and loss sheets, and do basic bookkeeping. You can’t escape numbers in business. You don’t need to be an accountant though
  • Understand business models and pricing
  • You can always get an accountant to do the fiddly stuff. However, you need to know what’s going on
  • It’s your business and you would regret to leave its most vital workings entirely in someone else’s hands. You have to be hands-on


  • Communication is the lifeline of any business – everything from negotiating to coming up with a strong PR plan for attracting people into your business or to boosting staff morale
  • Communicate effectively with suppliers, employees, customers and investors
  • When you’re starting up, you also need to communicate your business idea with passion and clarity to investors, banks, clients, customers, potential commercial partners – and anyone else you want to hear about your business
  • Be polite and persuasive, calm and controlled, likeable and enthusiastic without being angry. They avoid jargon and keep it short and simple.


  • Skills certainly help your business if you’re happy to have a bit of a barter.
  • The better at bargaining you are, the more profit you’ll make, and the better your business will grow and thrive.
  • If you’re not used to bargaining, get into the habit of asking for extra whenever you buy or order something from day-to-day – this may sounds silly, but getting into the habit now will shape your approach to business when you start up. It’ll also show you can almost always get something extra or changed to how you want it if you just ask.
  • Always Smile for the best bargaining. Charming your way to a great deal is more effective. Be polite, but be firm.


  • Managing budgets stretching years ahead takes careful planning.
  • Have a positive and efficient approach to administration.
  • Be on top of things at all times to make sure the money’s coming in and out at all the right time.
  • You also need to manage stock, invoices, day-to-day tax issues, and people – whether that’s staff, cleaners, suppliers or contact databases.


  • Most businesses aiming to grow will take on employees at some stage of their developments. Have good leadership skills. Learn to delegate.
  • Know the boundary between employer and employee – be liked but not overly friendly, maintain authority but also inspiring, encouraging and understanding.
  • Recognize people’s talent and use that to the business’ advantage.
  • Have regular assessments and progress chats (at least every six months) to make sure you employee is happy and that you’re enabling them to develop

Information Technology

  • Get a grasp of IT if you run a business. People Learn some basic skills to speed everything than plough on doing everything on paper.
  • Use spreadsheets for easy accounting and budgeting and getting more organized.
  • Have a website for your business and update it periodically – it can be an invaluable marketing tool.
  • Also, exploit social media to your advantage for gaining more customers and building your brand.

Recently, someone approached me at Pathfinders.

“I’m a born entrepreneur but I’m seriously disorganized. Can I still run a business?” This could happen to many business owners.

Suresh at Pathfinders, responded:
Yes, but you’d be wise to look into getting an assistant and an accountant. You can get administrative help part-time or get a virtual assistant to cut costs.

Another one in the same series of frequent questions – I’ve got great ideas but I’m not hot on the maths. Is running a business right for me?

Suresh at Pathfinders, advised:
You can still make a business work – you just might have to put some time into developing your numerical skills. Using spreadsheets will also make your life easier. Get your head around the financial side of things.

Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise

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