Random Thoughts on Business Skills

I have been reading a lot of articles and blog posts lately. I’m not sure what I’m trying to learn or if this is worth doing, but I am doing it. We are so inundated with links to information – as we search for things, check our twitter, wander around facebook, stumble upon things, etc. It’s hard to resist clicking and looking and reading and then clicking a reference link … you know how this goes.
It seems to me that I am not reading much new stuff anymore. Maybe info about new technology that makes getting business info easier or is the new rage in Marketing – but whatever happened to good old fashioned business management talk. It may be out there, but it’s buried in a sea of social media thoughts and discussion.
So, I thought I would put together my thoughts. Here is my list of top things that a good business person should know – in no particular order:
1. Understand how to deal with people. Whether inside the company or out, good people skills mean good business.
2. Understand that Quality is a philosophy, not a department. If I need to explain this, you are not on board with this one.
3. Cash flow – understanding that cash is king. You can’t keep a business (especially a small one) afloat if you can’t pay the bills.
4. You cannot do it alone – but you especially can’t do it without good people. The emphasis here is on “good”. Do not tolerate inept or lazy employees – they can ruin everything you work hard to build. Hire good people.
5. Lead by example. You cannot demand that employees, or customers for that matter, do the right thing if you do not make decisions and support people who do the right thing – even when that gets hard.
6. Find your value proposition and build your story around that. Stay focused enough to move forward, but not so stuck in your ways that you can’t make adjustments as things change around you.
7. Communicate, communicate, communicate. People cannot achieve unknown goals or meet vague expectations. Praise good work and discuss how to improve anything that does not meet expectations.
8. Make decisions. Don’t be afraid to make the wrong one and don’t let things happen by default. You loose control when this happens. Gather information that you need, understand whose advice you can trust, weigh the options and decide. This is key to getting things done. If it turns out to be a bad decision, make a decision to try something else.
9. Lead with respect and others will follow.
10. Measure. Find useful ways to measure progress – of the business, of your employees and your own improvement.
Finally, always look to improve. Never sit back and feed off the status quo – this is the kiss of death. Everyone can improve upon something. Make it a mission.

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