The workplace is always changing, which means that the business skills that were once good enough probably don’t cut it any longer. Employers now look for a good mix of business, technical, and soft skills in new hires. Whether you want to brush up on old skills, acquire new ones, or someday run a business, here are the top business skills you want to hone now:
1. Business Fundamentals
You can’t expect to have a great business career without a grasp of the fundamentals. You need to understand some basics about accounting, budgeting, financial planning, and overall economics. You should be able to use spreadsheets to track your expenses, sales, and overhead. You should also know how to analyze data to track goals, make strategic decisions, and forecast the financial health of your organization.
2. Digital Literacy
You don’t need to be an IT wiz, but you do need to know how to use a computer, relevant software, and the internet. You should be proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite and the programs your organization relies on. For example, if you work in healthcare, you’ll need to know about Electronic Medical Records. If you work in business administration, you’ll need to know about data entry and word processing.
3. Project Management
It doesn’t matter if you run a project or are only part of the team, you need to understand how projects are started, developed, run, and completed. The more you know the more you can contribute. For example, as an office assistant, you might be assigned a project to track inventory or develop mailing lists. You should understand why it matters and be able to break each project down into smaller pieces and complete them in a timely manner. Even if your title isn’t project manager, you should be familiar with the process and be capable of helping with any part of it.
Teamwork keeps the business running smoothly. You can divide work among a team to get a project completed more quickly, or you can use a team to brainstorm ideas. Now that remote working has become an option for some employees, this skill is more important than ever. It’s crucial that you remain connected with your team whether you work remotely, hybrid, or in the office full time.
Ask any hiring manager what the most important qualities they look for in new employees and they’ll always include the ability to communicate at the top of the list. Being able to clearly express your thoughts and ideas to your team, both verbally and in writing, is critical to any industry. Equally important is the ability to listen and understand what’s being asked of you or what your coworkers contribute to conversations and projects.
6. Problem Solving
Problems—big and small—arise every day. When you’re the one who can rise to a challenge and solve the issue, you become invaluable to your coworkers, your boss, and your organization. Sometimes the problems are simple. Your boss is double-booked and you need to reschedule a meeting. Sometimes the problems are more complicated. Your software starts to glitch, and you can’t create the reports you need. That’s when you troubleshoot the technology or get the IT experts in to help. Knowing when to ask for help is also a problem-solving capability.
You lose time and productivity when you can’t locate the tools, equipment, and documents you need to complete a project. Your workspace should be neat and orderly and so should the areas you oversee, such as the reception area or the supply room. And you should also be able to organize systems and processes to make them more efficient.
8. Time Management
Good organization extends to how you organize the tasks of your day. Whether you use a written to-do list, project management tools, or a mental checklist, you need to get your work done on time, every time. Look for shortcuts that don’t cut back on quality and use the best resources for the job—whether it’s a piece of software or another team member. When you manage your time effectively, you’ll find that you can get a lot done—and maybe have enough time to help a co-worker.
The work environment constantly changes. New employees are hired while others leave. Maybe you’re asked to take on more responsibility or maybe the company has to completely update its technology. Whatever changes come your way, adapt with a can-do attitude and you’ll be appreciated by everyone in the organization.
Even if you aren’t a manager, you still need leadership skills to succeed in business. Leadership enables you to assume responsibility for your work and to think like a leader would. Maybe you found new software that tracks projects or a new tool that would allow your team to collaborate better. With leadership skills, you can pitch your idea to the boss, receive feedback, and perhaps help implement the new changes you initiated.
If you’re ready to be a leader in your career, contact Charter College today. We offer a variety of Business programs that can help you develop these skills and more. Our dedicated faculty and staff want to help you succeed and can prepare you for an entry-level career in the field. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.