There are so many skills that you require to be a successful entrepreneur. Not because you need to practice everything yourself but you do need to be conversant in some tasks especially if you are going to hand them off to someone else to do them. Such is the life of a business owner. Some of the skills you will require fall under administrative skills. Great for those who have the benefit of going to some sort of business school if the course content there sufficiently covered these matters. That is not the case for all. If you are not in that lucky group here are the administrative skills that you need to possess to get ahead in business or as an entrepreneur.
Reports and memos
Writing reports and memos are sufficiently covered in good business courses but hardly so anywhere else. And that is really a shame because they are critical to your performance in a wide variety of things that are included in the basic process of adult life. One thing that really grinds my gears when reading reports, memos and other communication written by the uninitiated is the inability to or delay in getting to the point. Reports and memos are not meant to be a casual weekend read but rather a straight to the point and matter of fact exercise. Waffling on about a matter doesn’t help anybody.
I hope you are aware of the jokes that have circulated about the true meaning of terms that are commonly used in email communication such as “noted”, “as stated”, “as agreed” and so on. If you’re not you can acquaint yourself with them here. Emailing seems like a simple enough exercise but it really isn’t because of these communication issues that pop up and this is something you need to be aware of. Business involves communicating with many different types of people on many different levels. The idea is not to be good at communicating in a certain way but rather to be able to identify and apply the right type of communication style and apply it where required.
Before you go and think I have lost the plot because emails have been replaced by letters think of job applicants who are asked to produce cover letters. What about the many opportunities that require application or motivation letters? Letters are still very much separate from the world of email so it makes sense to make writing the two separate skills. Business letter writing is still a very important skill to master. Knowing the appropriate type of language to use will go a long way. The real reason why I rate this as an important skill for entrepreneurs and business owners is that there are many situations where you will find yourself making the first contact on matters and as the saying goes you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Phone calls and verbal communication
You will (hopefully) spend a lot of time talking to people. It doesn’t matter if you are going to be customer-facing, in the background or the very public face of your business. You will spend a lot of time talking to people. I like to say if you must do something it’s a good idea to be good at it. Whether it’s private or public communication how you speak to people will matter. So you may want to invest some time and even money into learning to speak well. To be clear this is not about how you sound but how you come across. Yes, there is a very clear difference between the two.
Presentations are really important because in many cases that is how you will communicate. Presentation skills go beyond the ability to explain and interpret information. Choosing the very method that will be used to present the information is very important as well. Should we use a long copy? Short copy or lists? Graphs and other visual methods? And the state of technology also means we can throw audio and video into that mix. There’s a lot to consider and understand here. All this to say presentation skills are very important.
The administration is not just something done by specific people in an organisation. While it is not the most attractive of activities administrative tasks remain some of the most important ones in the success of any business or life pursuit.