Surprising Skills Every Business Owner Needs to Develop

More than half of Americans (62%) dream of owning a business. They yearn to spread their entrepreneurial wings and enjoy professional freedom, financial independence, flexibility and the opportunity to take charge of their own lives.

Entrepreneurism Requires a Paradigm Shift for Ex-Corporate Executives

Suppose you’re coming to entrepreneurship after a career in corporate America, where you’ve learned to thrive in an environment of narrowly defined roles and siloed business functions. In that case, you may need a significant mind shift. Being a business owner means shaking free of functional specialization, embracing new skills and becoming a cross-functional generalist. After all, as an owner, you are responsible for everything.

The Truth About Being the OEO (Only Executive Officer)

Business owners are a company’s most senior executives, and they wear many different hats. For example, you probably won’t have the luxury of a department for accounting, HR, operations, IT, marketing or other business functions.

This doesn’t mean you have to become an expert at everything. Still, you will need to develop a sufficient grasp of the basics of each business function so you can understand what is going on, direct your employees and make informed decisions.

Below are the top four skills you need to be a successful business owner:

  1. Management and Leadership Abilities
    As an ex-corporate executive, you likely have highly developed management skills. If you’ve managed teams, handled performance issues and developed the people you were responsible for, you’ll already know how to hire, fire and manage the people you’ll need to operate your new business.

    When reviewing franchise candidates, franchise operators find these leadership and management skills vital and give them greater weight than subject matter knowledge.
  2. Listening Skills
    If your go-to response to complaints and suggestions is “my way or the highway,” you will face a lot of unnecessary resistance as a business owner.

    Whether it comes from family, friends, experts, customers or employees, feedback is valuable. However, because people love to point out what you’re doing wrong, you’ll need to develop a thick enough skin to allow you to consider the validity of comments and figure out a solution even when you don’t like what people are telling you.
  3. Customer-Centered Mindset
    Creating a good customer experience is a leadership skill. When you create a company culture that strives to make your customers feel good about doing business with you, you’ll enjoy the kind of rave reviews, referrals and repeat business that builds ongoing success.
  4. Outsourcing for Expertise
    From CPAs to lawyers to marketers, there’s an abundance of opportunities to get expert help without hiring an expensive full-time professional.

    However, to ensure a good return on your outsourcing investment, you need a basic knowledge of the field’s fundamentals.

Corporate executives make excellent entrepreneurs and are especially suited to franchising because they know how to succeed as part of a larger entity. Those who also can see the big picture and work cross-functionally are well placed for entrepreneurial success.


David Busker is the Founder of FranchiseVision and a senior consultant with FranChoice, the premier national network of franchise consultants. David helps candidates exploring franchise ownership to set their criteria and matches them with the perfect franchise, then supports and guides them through due diligence and franchise signing. You can learn more about David at FranchiseVision.




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