8 Skills You Need To Succeed In Business




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One of the good things about being in business is that no one expects you to say sorry.

The default mantra when delivering disappointing news is a practised recital of that catch-all phrase, “business is business”.

This mantra is a window into other characteristics of successful people. Below are eight traits, while needed to succeed in business, would not be recommended in polite company.

Let’s take a look at them:
  1. Team building 

To build a business up to its full potential from the launch stage to a going concern, a business will sooner or later require the assembling of a team.

Building a team demands that the leader appoint people who have the best available skills to contribute to the business.

Team appointments, omissions, or dismissals are merit based and the decision is openly declared as ‘business first’.

That’s because successful people build teams to achieve a business goal rather than to collect friends.

  1. Delegation 

Having appointed a team, the business person must now relinquish control and delegate authority and responsibility to a team member.

This is the hardest thing for most entrepreneurs who are driven to set up a company to achieve business goals, their way.

Herein lies the challenge: Do they trust their own recruiting skills to have the confidence in the team members that they appointed?

On the other hand, too much delegation could mean abdication.

Responsible leadership dictates that suitable structures be put in place to review and cross-check that tasks are on course as per the goals in the business plan.


READ: 5 Skills You Need To Be A Great CEO


  1. Networking skills 

Some would suggest that business people are only charming when it suits them. Charm and committed business types are not always synonymous.

This observation should not be taken as disparaging. It is a statement of fact, that in business it is necessary to do what it takes to succeed ‒ including being charming if that is what it takes to make a sale.

  1. Financial management 

In financial matters unexpected success can breed failure.

This can happen when sales is booming with customers buying more and more, and a management team is measuring success by sales orders placed and goods delivered.

However, the true measure of a sale is when the account is paid in full.

Managing this is usually the task of the unsung heroes ‒ the accounts department.

Guarding cash as if their life depended on it earns few thanks, but if they get it wrong, the company is dead. Hence, the mantra of a successful business is always cashflow, cashflow, cashflow.

  1. Risk-taking 

Business is not for the faint-hearted. With all the skills and experience, it is still a day-to-day risk.

Even the great have bad years: Warren Buffet, one of the richest men on earth, has also made poor choices.

According to Business Insider, as of May 2017, he had lost about $800 million on IBM.

You win some you lose some, it’s just how it goes.

  1. Pragmatic 

The great unspoken in business plans is plan X. Boring as it may sound, the reality is that the ultimate goal in business is to survive.

That means stepping back from the excitement of making this current venture work and assessing whether it is really likely to work: Is this business worth the heartache? 

Is this the best opportunity that I could get?

Pragmatism is strength. Remember, retreat is not defeat, it is a strategy!

  1. Human nature 

To err is human, to overtrust is dumb.

Never underestimate human nature. Having built up a business with a personally selected team can give a false sense of self-worth. 

New ideas and refinement of current ideas are what great teams are all about.

Until of course some members of your team feel that your contribution is less than it used to be.

That disjoined collection of individuals may now know as much, if not more, than you do. Some will see an opportunity to launch a spin-off and make their own fortune.

Protect your investment from those close to you. Remember for every spin-off there is someone feeling ripped off.

  1. Acceptance 

“Business is business” is a mantra that can become an excuse for an unwanted outcome when saying goodbye to a team member, acknowledging that a friendship has ended, or even a treacherous stealing of a customer. 

It is also a motivator in that when you enter business, you need the maturity to understand that it is not a social club you are joining.

So, whether your day be good, bad, or indifferent, you can always take comfort in the knowledge that no matter what happens, someone, somewhere will declare that it all happened because business is business.

In conclusion 

The decision to go into business is as exciting as it is frightening. It is not a social club but more of a social order.

The satisfaction of setting and achieving your own business goals is all the more so because most people don’t have that privilege.

The frustration may well be that many don’t understand when someone says “business is business.”

However, someone who has dared to take the plunge and set up a business will know deep down that there is no sympathy from anyone.

After all, business is business.


Alan Manly is the founder and CEO of Group Colleges Australia, one of Australia’s largest private education institutions. He also recently launched the private MBA school, the Universal Business School Sydney. From a high-school dropout to successful entrepreneur, Alan is a true disrupter in the private education space. He the author of two books, “The Unlikely Entrepreneur” and “When There Are Too Many Lawyers There Is No Justice.” To get in touch with Alan, email us at editor@leaderonomics.com.

Prefer an e-mag reading experience? This article is also available in our 15th September 2018 digital issue. Access our digital issues here.

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