10 Essential Skills All Successful Business Owners Need to Master

Starting and running a successful business doesn’t happen overnight. While some entrepreneurs may have an advantage with industry contacts, others start their journey from scratch. If you fall into the latter, there are certain skills and characteristics you must adopt to help you run an operation and maximize profits.

Before you leap into the business world and get started, here are some skills you should learn in advance that will set you up for success.

Excellent Communication

If you ask any business owner what key skill matters more than any other, most will reply with communication. No matter what field of business you head into, or how many people work for your company, you will need to engage with your workforce, clients, stakeholders, and customers on a regular basis.

How you conduct yourself means everything, especially for your business reputation. Keeping communication lines open will ensure that your operation stays afloat, and everyone knows where they stand.

Once you master the art of communication, this can help you to build trust and respect with employees, help your workforce feel more confident in their abilities, and ensure that any problems are addressed before they hinder your brand.

Time Management

Time management is another vital skill all business owners need to master. When working on projects and tasks, you will be set strict deadlines by clients. Therefore, you must meet them on time, otherwise, this can result in clients going elsewhere for their custom.

Time management skills will boost productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Whether you’re trying to bring new clients on board, or have established robust relationships already, knowing how to prioritize your workload is key for success.


When you launch a business, all eyes will be on you. While this may frighten some people, others thrive from being in charge and leading a team. To become a successful company, you need to take accountability for your actions and not be afraid of failure. It’s your duty to empower and inspire your team to work at their best. If you have always been a follower in life, rather than a leader, you may not be cut out for a leadership role.

All successful business owners understand the importance of leadership. Once you take charge and exude confidence, your team will put more trust in your abilities and feel happier and satisfied in the workplace. There is a fine line between being confident and cocky, however, so try not to let the power get to your head, otherwise, you could end up dealing with a high staff turnover.

Work Well Under Pressure

When working on projects in your business, inevitably, there will be times that are more stressful than others. Whether you’re running behind schedule, or you’re struggling on a task, you must keep your cool and stress levels at bay. If you let stress get the better of you, this can hinder your productivity and result in poor work output.

Knowing how to work well under pressure will help you in all areas of business. When an unexpected problem arises, you will have the skills and capabilities to navigate through them with ease. To help you stay focused, you should create a prioritization strategy, focus on the present, and break your tasks down.

Your employees need to follow suit and adopt these skills too, which will create a healthy work environment and ensure everything is completed according to plan.


As the head of the business, you have the final say on who does what within the company. When handed a project or task, it’s your responsibility to delegate roles to the right people. If you hand over tasks that an employee cannot perform, you can’t expect things to run swimmingly.

Delegation skills are a must for every business owner. To help you delegate correctly, getting to know your team on a personal and professional level is key.

Make sure you hold regular meetings with your staff. These can be a great opportunity to run through projects, identify strengths and weaknesses, and ensure everyone is given tasks within their skillset. You should also hold one-on-one meetings where you can get to know your employees further.

Once each member of the team knows where they stand, this can decrease stress levels for all, and fill you with confidence that your employees will do a good job.

Empathy and Compassion

When managing employees, you need to remember that they’re only human at the end of the day. There are only so many hours in the day, and your team can only do so much. Having empathy and compassion for employees is an important trait business owners must possess. Seeing things from their viewpoint and relating to them can mean everything for your staff.

We all had to start somewhere, so if an employee is struggling with a task, it’s your job not to judge them. Instead, offering words of encouragement and showing compassion will help build your team’s confidence.

You can never be too sure of what’s going on in an employee’s personal life, so if you believe productivity has decreased, holding a one-on-one meeting to try and understand your employee’s point of view is important.


No successful business owner got to where they are now without having determination and ambition. If you think everything will be plain sailing, it’s time to adjust your expectations. Unfortunately, 50% of startups fail within the first year. One of the causes of this is down not having the motivation to keep going. If you come up against obstacles along the way, you need to see them through and be resilient.

If you’re not passionate about your brand and what you do, you won’t have the drive to continue. Whatever comes your way, you need to face it head-on and do everything in your power to overcome challenges.

When engaging with clients, they will have more respect for you if you soldier on and don’t let anything stop you. Should you lose interest in your business, this will show in your work output. All business owners need to be great at problem-solving to run a profitable company.


No matter how great you believe your business idea is unless consumers see it, you can’t expect your brand to be a success. How you market and promote your products or services matters, so possessing marketing skills is a must. In 2021, you will need to establish a presence on social media.

Platforms like Facebook can be a great way to expand your customer base and get people on board. Unlike in the past where you would have to rely on newspaper spreads and word of mouth to gather interest, businesses need to head online to target customers.

Even if you aren’t the most tech-savvy, having some idea of how online marketing works is essential. Setting up a business website and blog is the best place to start. You can employ people to work in your marketing department to help drive sales. Hiring staff who have expertise in SEO (search engine optimization) will help your website and blog rank higher in search results.


Getting clients to work with your business is easier said than done. While some may jump at the chance of doing business, others may need more persuading to get on board. Therefore, as a business owner, you need to possess excellent negotiation skills. When finalizing a contract, you may not be happy with what is on the paper, so it’s your job to negotiate a deal that benefits all.

Good negotiation contributes significantly to your company’s success. Negotiation helps to build stronger relationships and deliver long-lasting solutions. If you aren’t happy with something, you must speak up and let your feelings be heard. Once a contract has been signed, there is no going back, so to avoid future conflicts and problems, getting the best deal possible is essential.


While some skills can be learned through experience, others require you to go back into education. An MBA (Master of Business Administration) can teach you the ins and outs of the business, which can help set you up for success.

With the COVID-19 pandemic changing the way we live our lives; you may have seen this outbreak as an opportunity to set up your own business. Suffolk University has a guide on Why Now is the Best Time to Get an Online MBA, which can broaden your skillset and help you feel more confident.

If you’re currently in full-time employment, you can study online courses that provide flexibility. Being able to earn while you learn will eliminate any financial worries you may have. Once you obtain a specialist degree, this will help clients take you more seriously, and ensure you have the skills needed to thrive in business.

Regardless of what field of business interests you most, to run a successful company, you need to possess all the key skills above first. Once you’ve obtained these mandatory attributes, the chances of you running and retaining a profitable business will increase.

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