9 Essential Skills You Need to Start a Business

Table of Contents

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, you might be wondering if you have all the skills you need.

Let’s have a look at the nine essential skills you need to start a business. And if you don’t have all of them – don’t worry. You can always learn and gain them!


Should you start a business if you don’t have a passion for what you do? The answer is simple – no. If you’re trying to escape your usual 9-5 and create a better life for yourself, you need to enjoy what you do. Otherwise, you’ll still be miserable, only doing something different.

Having passion also gives you motivation. If you ever find yourself struggling, remember the reason you started and how excited you were. This will inspire you to find solutions and fix those problems.

Financial literacy

As a business owner, you need to understand your numbers. Money is a big part of running a business and you need to know how much things cost as well as be able to forecast cash flow and sales. And if that wasn’t enough, you also need to know how tax works and when to pay it!

When you understand those things, you can make better financial decisions that will let you maximise your profits. 

If you want to learn more about financing your business, join EMS: University – we’ve got a course for you here

Communication skills

The ability to communicate effectively is essential for anyone running a business. Every day you need to communicate with suppliers, customers and employees. 

However, not every situation is easy or positive. You might need to negotiate or respond to complaints. When you know how to convey your message in the right way as well as how to handle negative feedback, you can build good working relationships. 

When you have great communication skills, it’s easier to provide excellent customer service, which is extremely important when trying to retain both new and existing customers and exceed your customer’s expectation.

Marketing and sales

To have a successful business, it is essential to establish good sales and marketing strategies. 

You need to identify your unique selling point and know how to sell yourself and your product or service as well as how to overcome objections your potential customers might have. 

The best way to start is by analysing your competitors. Find out what sales and marketing methods they use, what works well and what can be improved. This will give you a better understanding of what you need to focus on.

Leadership skills

Even if you start a sole trader, when your business grows, you are likely to need some help and hire staff. 

Being a boss is easy – you tell your employees what they need to do and if they don’t do it or do it wrong, you get angry! However, no one wants to work for someone like that. People want to work for true leaders that can mentor and coach the team as well as motivate them to work towards common goals. 


Entrepreneurs love being in control. Sometimes, a little bit too much. However, when things get really busy, it’s very important to have the ability to delegate or outsource the tasks. 

Delegating or outsourcing can reduce stress as it gives you more time to focus on things you’re the best at. For example, if you’re passionate about making your products and speaking to customers but have a hard time managing your finances, hiring an accountant (either in-house, agency or freelance) will take that weight off your shoulders.

Time management skills

People who have great time management skills are able to achieve more in less time. When you run a business, you have an endless to-do list, so being able to plan your time effectively is a must. 

Fortunately, time management can be learnt and you don’t have to be born with it. If you want to learn how to create good planning habits and maximise your efficiency, watch videos here and here

Ability to analyse yourself and your business

When you’re a business owner, sometimes you need to step back and look at yourself and your business from a different perspective. This will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, what in your business is working well and what you need to improve. 

Imagine that you’re your potential customer. Do you offer what they actually want? Can they find you easily? Are your marketing materials interesting to someone who doesn’t know much about you? Imagine you’re your employee. Have you been a great leader? Have you asked how you can support your employees’ well-being? 

Problem-solving skills

As a business owner, no matter how much you plan and prepare, you still face problem after problem. When situations like this occur, it’s essential you know how to deal with them. Sometimes, to solve a problem you need to make good decisions quickly and sometimes you need to think outside the box. Dealing with problems can be stressful, so it’s very important you don’t lose your head and face the situation as calmly as possible.

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