10 Challenging Business Skills You Need to Master

The business world is a realm of vaguely defined borders. Business is a place where having the right skills is important. Knowing what those skills are and when to use them isn’t always apparent. Here are 10 challenging business skills to master to stay competitive in your industry. In addition, you’ll find information on where these skills prove most useful so that you can apply them most effectively.

1. Negotiating

Business often entails communicating with people whose interests are dramatically different from your own. Having solid negotiating skills means you can identify common ground and make proposals that are mutually beneficial.

The ability to negotiate properly is an important part of building relationships that ensure your negotiations create long-term business partnerships. Learning the art of negotiation, for example, by attending a respected negotiation seminar, gives you the advantage in your future business dealings.

2. Problem Solving

Learning how to overcome obstacles is important to making progress. While true in most fields, it is particularly important in business.In business, failure to solve a problem can result in both monetary and customer losses. You can improve your problem solving skills with simple everyday tasks like crosswords and sudoku. Logic-based puzzles keep your mind sharp, meaning you won’t be caught unprepared when challenging issues arise in the workplace.

3. Good Judgment

Successful entrepreneurs know how to make tough choices. During business ventures, you may find yourself at a crucial decision point—for example, you may be in a position where you need to choose between two or more manufacturers for your product.

In cases where your judgment matters, gathering the relevant information and weighing up the facts is key. Possessing the right information allows you to negotiate the pros and cons of each option and to make the right judgment call.

4. Research

When making a decision, you should always have as many relevant facts at your disposal as possible. Remember, it’s not always wise to automatically trust third-party sources. For example, some information online could be from a layman who hasn’t fact-checked. Alternatively, the information might also come from a professor or trainer who specializes in the subject and speaks on that subject at seminars across the world.  

Knowing how to verify a claim means you can distill the information you have and refine what’s relevant and accurate. Being able to research effectively means that you can stand firmly behind the data on which you base your decisions.

5. Risk Management

Even if your decisions are rooted in a solid foundation based on reliable data, eliminating all risks isn’t always possible. In many cases, progress demands putting something on the line and having to decide what’s worth risking.

6. Organization

No matter what’s at stake in a business venture, you’re less vulnerable if you’re prepared. Keep track of your assets, including your staff, products, expenses, and revenues. Saving all of your contracts is also important, as record-keeping prevents people from taking advantage of you down the road.

7. Time Management

If you plan on implementing anything new into your business routine, it’s important to know how your new routines fit into your schedule. Scheduling is where another important skill comes into play: time management. Many organizations offer time management courses designed to help you get specific about your priorities. If you choose wisely, you might find that a time management class becomes one of your most valuable resources.

8. Leadership

If you employ staff, you’ll know the importance of making sure the workforce stays productive, motivated, and loyal. Maintaining healthy work relationships requires careful leadership. Having the balance of approachability and authoritarianism can be difficult to strike. Especially so when you consider different employees respond to different leadership styles.

Training yourself in your leadership by enrolling in online courses or attending seminars is a worthwhile consideration. So too is considering investing in training for your employees, such as in classes on time management, communications, and negotiations. Investing in employees is the mark of a strong leader who has faith in their workforce.

9. Communication

Communication in your workplace is an essential part of ensuring that collaboration is taking place in the workplace. While division of labor is a productive way to complete large tasks, details can get lost without proper communication. Implement strategies from your and your employees’ training courses to make sure employers and employees alike stay on the same page. Ineffective correspondence wastes time—and money.

10. Networking

Last but not least, the importance of socializing with people from your industry is worth a mention. While socializing is often seen as a “soft skill,” it’s important to note that soft skills are becoming more and more important to the new generation of negotiators. Knowing when to lighten the mood and when to get serious during negotiations could be exactly what you need to close a deal.

Final Word

Success can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember the essential skills listed above, and you may find that your business dealings become a little less mysterious and a little more manageable.