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Want to Start a Small Business? There are 10 Skills You Need to Have.

EntrepreneurDo you dream of starting your own business? If so, you should go in with your eyes open. Half of all new businesses fail within their first five years, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA).* Reasons for failure can include lack of capitalization, superior competition, a poor location, unattractive pricing, poor spending decisions, ineffective marketing, having an inferior product or service or any combination of these.

The flip side of the SBA’s numbers is that half of all small businesses survive beyond five years. How can you make sure you’re in the successful group?

There are no guarantees, but you can improve your odds by acquiring 10 key business skills. They are:

1) Computer Skills. Today’s businesses are highly dependent on technology for everything from writing emails to running complex enterprise management systems. At a minimum, you should be able to comfortably operate the Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Access.

2) Businesses Planning Skills. As an entrepreneur, you must be able to translate your vision into an actionable plan. Learning to create a business plan will help you better figure out where you are, where you want to be and how to intend to get there.

3) Financial Skills. It takes money to make money. To make your business viable, you need to identify reliable sources of capital and how to get loans/investors at favorable terms.

4) Accounting Skills. When you start your small business, you may very well issue invoices, pay bills and maintain tax documents all by yourself. Even if your business grows to the point you’re able to hire a staff bookkeeper or accountant, you’ll still need to know how to read a financial statement to know if the person you hired is doing a good job.

5) Marketing Skills. Marketing is a very broad subject, covering every aspect of how your customers – and potential customers – see your product or service. It can involve how your product/service is designed and packaged, advertising and public relations, pricing, customer service, even using social media like Twitter and Facebook. If you’re facing stiff competition, good marketing can make the difference between success and failure.

6) Business Management Skills. To put it simply, good business management requires you to keep your eye on the future and take steps to make sure you have the resources you need when you need them.

7) Human Resource Management Skills. As you build your business, you will need to hire a staff and then manage their activities. You need to learn how to spot talent, hire good people and then assign them to the jobs that best suit their personalities and skill sets. After that, you need to regularly set performance expectations and make your people accountable for their results.

8) Communication Skills. To be an effective business owner, you need to hone your communication skills, both written and verbal. The better you can communicate – and communication involves listening as well as speaking – the more likely others are to follow your lead.

9) Negotiating Skills. A business is really just a series of negotiations, whether it’s working out favorable terms with a vendor, selling your product or service to a customer or trying to get an employee to meet a project deadline.

10) Legal Skills. Even if you’re not an attorney, you need to know the laws and regulations that govern your business and how to apply them to your operations. Failing to do so can carry serious consequences.

Earn Your Bachelor’s in Business from Everest University Online

You can develop these 10 essential skills – and more – when you earn your bachelor’s degree in business from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. In this four-year program, you’ll learn the basics of 21st-century business and the concepts behind them. You’ll also learn and get a chance to practice the skill sets employers demand through our hands-on learning approach.

As this is an online degree program, you don’t have to leave your current job or spend time away from home to earn your degree. You can learn at night, on weekends or whenever else your schedule is free.

For more information on Everest University Online’s bachelor’s degree in Business program, contact Everest today.

Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

*Source: SBA Frequently Asked Questions: http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/sbfaq.pdf

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