At GoForth, we created our small business skills training after surveying 200 successful Canadian entrepreneurs. We asked them which business skills made the difference between success and failure.
Here are six of the top skills Canadian entrepreneurs told us are vital to know, and which ones they were surprised they didn’t know.
1) How to manage a small business
Successfully managing a small business involves a lot of factors, but learning them can make all the difference. Good business leaders are teachers, learners and visionaries. Your team will look to you for motivation and guidance both direct and modeled. Everything you do as a leader should focus on strengthening and improving your team. According to Bond Street Newsletter, the five essential skills for effective small business are: 1) Empathy; 2) Decisiveness; 3) Collaboration; 4) Planning; and 5) Support.
2) Developing a business branding strategy
It’s important to develop a strong small business brand. This includes brand experience, identity, image, pillars, equity and delivery. Brand pillars are your business’ most important values and characteristics that you want to communicate with your branding. The brand experience should be engaging, welcoming, and encourage people to take action. Make sure your client’s brand experience is consistent, positive, and consistently positive!
3) The importance of customer experience
Customer experience (CX) measures all experiences a client has with your business, whether it’s one transaction or several. Research shows, unsurprisingly, that customers do business with companies they like! I’s important that you know what your customers want and need.
4) How to build a small business financial plan
You don’t have to be a financial expert, but as the lead entrepreneur you really should know your important numbers inside and out. If you don’t know simple facts about your business’ profit, costs, or break-even, then others will lose confidence in your ability as an entrepreneur. This process should begin before you even start your business. While your business is running, keeping an eye on your financial plan will help you tweak your business model canvas, which will raise your confidence that you’ll run a profitable company.
5) Why creativity is important in business
Creativity is the ability to view the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things and to find solutions. This conceptual combination is seen often in the history of some of today’s most unique product innovations. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking creativity = artistic talent – it’s more of a way of thinking than anything else. And it’s one that can mean success in your business!
6) Government compliance for small businesses in Canada
Staying on top of the Canadian government’s compliance can greatly improve your small business’ odds of success. There are income tax requirements, GST/HST requirements, rules for working with self-employed contractors, and documents and policies required if you become an employer. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Government compliance can lead to benefits for you as an entrepreneur. For example, there are many tax deductions that self-employed entrepreneurs can make, as well as employees and commissioned sales employees.
Are there small business skills you wished you knew before starting your entrepreneurship journey? To learn these, plus dozens of other vital small business skills, check out our online small business training!