Small and Medium Enterprises sector is known to have high potential to drive the industrial transformation and development of the nation’s economy just as it has done in other developed countries.
As a result, several incentives in terms of subsidised equipment and low interest funds are being provided to support them.
However, experts stress the importance of managerial skills when it comes to establishing businesses and growing them.
Although, the acquisition of technical skill has been described as the driving force behind SME’s success, the effective application skills as well as business management expertise are equally important.
It has been discovered that millions of people are focusing on acquiring the skills necessary to establish a business on a daily basis only to find themselves at a loss when it comes to effectively utilising the skills.
Although young business people complain of inadequate start-up capital and funds for business expansion, most investors opine that the lack of passion and expertise to manage a business, especially in a challenging economy like Nigeria, is a major survival determinant.
In order to increase profit margin, attract and retain customers and build a strong business brand, experts have highlighted some skills that business managers cannot do without. These are:
As much as possible, entrepreneurs need to work closely with other people, even if it is an owner-manager business.
According to business consultants, even if the entrepreneur is unable to employ anyone, the suppliers, short-term or long-term contractors, the distributors and clients should be viewed as team members.
A business consultant, Mr. Sola Aderibigbe, says that business managers are expected to work closely with people in their team, solve their problems so that the business can be managed better.
For entrepreneurs who have employees working with them, Aderibigbe says that such employees should be regarded as partners and given appropriate training where there are skills gap.
He says, “Keep your employees motivated and let them play some managerial role from time to time. Engage them in conversations and seek their ideas in moving the business forward.
“In order to do all of this, managers must be approachable, compassionate and diplomatic, and have good communication skills to listen to and reward their staff. Business managers are responsible for keeping everybody informed of changes and reasons for such changes should be communicated.”
Time management and organisation
Experts say that entrepreneurs should understand that the time they invest in their business is essential to its survival and profitability.
Aderibigbe says entrepreneurs can achieve effective time management by committing to specific tasks daily and ensure that is completed.
He adds, “Regardless of distractions that you encounter daily, make a commitment to do at least one productive thing every day. This means that the task should result in income for the business immediately or in the future.
“This could be an email to your list of prospective clients to attend training, or introduce a new product or it could be writing an article for your blog or website to be shared to your followers.
He says that business managers should be able to organise and prioritise tasks because this will contribute to a speedy growth for the business.
Financial management skills
People who are unable to manage finances appropriately have no business doing business, experts say.
Aderibigbe says, “If you are unable to manage money, then you can’t manage a business. Because you have to monitor what the funds are spent on every month. You should be able to manage the business’s daily cash flow to ensure that the financial requirements or obligations are met.
“Entrepreneurs need to learn how to delay gratification, be disciplined, learn to prioritise and separate personal expenses from business expenses. Have a savings plan for your business.”
Information Technology skills
In the world of technology, new skills are constantly required and for entrepreneurs who work with other corporate organisations through proffering IT solutions, experts advise upgrade of these skills on a regular basis.
An IT expert, Mr. Segun Banire, says data analytics information is also important, as it allows business leaders to know what forces that affect the market at every point in time.
According to him, knowing how to work with big data platforms will help IT workers gain stronger reputations from their work without needing to worry about other pressing skills.
Problem solving skills
Experts say in establishing a business, the entrepreneur must be able to meet the immediate needs of the target market by solving their problems. They say the ability to do this will stand them out because most start-ups emulate their competitors without creating their own niche.
While citing the example of online shops in the country, an entrepreneur, Mr. Tunde Babatope, says these companies have been able to satisfy the need for convenience in shopping by providing a platform where goods can be bought online and delivered to a clients’ doorstep.
He adds that the present trend in e-commerce is a revolution that other entrepreneurs have taken up and added more value to. Babatope concludes by saying that all successful companies, products, or services enhance the lives of their customers by eliminating a problem.