15 Top Business Skills and How To Develop Them for Your Career

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 26 November 2022 | Published 27 September 2021

Updated 26 November 2022

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Business acumen is a significant component of managing a profitable company. Whether you work in a leadership or entry-level role, it can be important for you to maintain workplace connections and meet the organisation's objectives. Recognising the abilities that experienced professionals commonly use can help you prepare for a career in the industry. In this article, we define the types of business skills and explain how to develop them to make you eligible for relevant positions.

Related: Angel Investors: Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

15 business skills

Here are 15 examples of abilities relevant to running a business:

1. Decision-making

Informed decision-making can empower you to select a course of action that best benefits a company. In leadership positions, your staff members may contact you for guidance on how to proceed with a task. You can analyse your options, compare their advantages and disadvantages, and contemplate the steps the decision requires you to take. The skill involves making a choice with the organisation and employees' interests in mind.

Related: Decision-Making Skills: Definition and Examples for Leaders

2. Communication

Competent communication means spreading awareness and clarifying workplace activities. It can be essential for employees regardless of their organisational rank. For example, managers communicate effectively when they set clear expectations and explain changes in the company. Entry-level employees can be good communicators when they recommend fresh perspectives. The aptitude can involve verbal communication, which refers to conversations in the office, and written communication, which can entail emails and internal newsletters.

Related: 4 Types of Communication

3. Leadership

The quality of business leadership can influence the company's success. One of a business leader's responsibilities is to create a pleasant work atmosphere for employees and be available when their team needs help. As a leader, you can also promote organisational goals to motivate employees to work hard and overcome challenges. Contemplate how to boost the daily operations of the business and develop strategic growth plans.

Related: What Does a Business Development Manager Do? (With Salary)

4. Financial management

As a business leader, having financial literacy can enable you to manage a company's monetary resources effectively. When you launch a new project, you can design a budget that preserves and allocates funds. The skill can also include making smart investment decisions, where you can identify potentially lucrative partnerships and establish financial goals.

Related: A Complete Guide To Business Partnerships

5. Project management

Project management is the ability to lead a team of employees on a special assignment, such as new product development or building construction. It entails designing expectations for the project, building a budget and assigning tasks to members of the team. The project manager also tracks the group's progress and conducts quality assurance. Business employees may practise project management to expand a company or fulfil contractual agreements with clients.

6. Task delegation

Business managers perform task delegation to distribute work to their staff, which can help them maintain productivity in the workplace. The assignments often relate to the employee's expertise. For example, if an associate has a background in computer science, then it may be their responsibility to repair technology. Leaders also hold employees accountable for their performance by delivering clear expectations.

7. Team-building

Team-building is the ability to appoint team members that can collaborate seamlessly. As a project manager, for example, you may understand how to apply the business objectives to your recruitment strategies. Task delegation relates to team-building, where you can recognise the skill set of one employee that can complement the knowledge of their peer. You can also coordinate team-building exercises that encourage associates to connect with one another before the project begins.

Related: 11 Team-Building Activities for Companies (With Tips)

8. Emotional intelligence

Emotionally intelligent business managers can empathise with their associates and provide mental and emotional support. For example, when the team doesn't accomplish its goals, the manager acknowledges the disappointment employees feel and delivers encouragement that inspires them to perform better in the future. Emotional intelligence can enhance your workplace relationships, where your coworkers can feel that you care about them and their well-being.

Related: Emotional Management Skills: Definition and Examples

9. Relationship-building

The growth of your business can rely on the relationships you share with clients, stakeholders and vendors. Networking effectively can help you establish connections with professionals in your industry. You can learn about employment opportunities, market trends and prospective business partners. Consider how you communicate with professionals in and outside of the workplace to ensure you're representing the company well.

Related: What Is a Code of Ethics in Business?

10. Data analysis

Collecting and analysing data enables professionals to evaluate the success of their business. They can monitor activities from their competitors and anticipate how fluctuations in the market can impact their operations. During a research project, associates may review data from methodologies, such as surveys, focus groups and interviews, and make conclusions on what it means. Data analysis can also occur after a task's completion, where analysts use the metrics to identify ways to increase business growth.

11. Persuasion

Persuasive tactics are essential for business dealings, such as negotiating the terms of a contract or making a sales pitch to a prospective buyer. Employees understand how to tailor their messages to the recipient's interests and convince them to decide in their favour. For example, to secure funding for a research endeavour, an associate may persuade upper management by discussing the benefits of the project.

12. Organisation

Organised business professionals can handle their work tasks with precision. They know how to prioritise urgent tasks to meet deadlines and maintain order in their workspace. When the company changes its operations, being organised helps employees adapt to the changes without disrupting the efficiency of their workflow.

13. Customer service

Customer service involves providing efficient help to customers and rating their satisfaction levels. It can be an essential skill for employees who work in companies that sell products or services. You can answer their questions and resolve their grievances, which can encourage them to continue to support your business. Customer service tasks may include developing a list of frequently asked questions on the organisational website or reciting a script that promotes the inventory when potential buyers contact the store.

14. Marketing

Being proficient in marketing can allow you to promote business activities to interested parties, such as consumers and prospective clients. You can develop campaigns that raise awareness about the company's brand, empowering it to maintain a positive reputation. Marketing skills can also include researching fluctuations in the market and building a presence on social media platforms.

Related: 34 Marketing Associate Interview Questions (With Examples)

15. Adaptability

Highly adaptable business associates can perform well in fast-paced environments. The operations of a company can frequently change with the hiring of personnel, advances in technology and edits to organisational policies. As an employee, you can exhibit adaptability to modify your workplace activities while still accomplishing your professional goals. For example, if the company requires you to learn how to navigate a new software application, you can switch your schedule to leave time for watching tutorials and practising the steps.

Related: Adaptability Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

What are the best skills to have for a business career?

The best business abilities to acquire can depend on your occupation and its responsibilities. For example, if you're the chief executive officer (CEO) of an organisation, then relationship-building, communication and decision-making may be your key abilities. As an employee who works in the advertising division, customer service, marketing and data analysis may be the most important skills. Consider reviewing the job description of your coveted role to learn the characteristics employers prefer among candidates. Recognise trends in your research to develop a skill set that you can transfer among multiple organisations.

Related: Marketing Skill Examples: With Definitions and Steps to Develop

How to improve skills for a business career

Improving your business acumen can boost your qualifications for jobs in the industry and enable you to lead a company to success. Follow these steps to become a more efficient business professional:

  1. Gain professional experience. Search for opportunities to practise your abilities in the workplace. For example, to build your leadership potential, you can volunteer to host a presentation or coordinate a team-building exercise.

  2. Find a mentor. With specialised knowledge of your industry, a mentor can deliver feedback and recommendations on how you can strengthen your skills. Seek mentorship among former professors, for example, or high-ranking officers at your current employer.

  3. Read business books. Educational material can provide tips on building your business savviness. Search for publications that concentrate on your desired position, or purchase the items on the reading list of students pursuing business degrees.

  4. Enrol in a business course. As a student in a business class, you can learn about the field and participate in activities that can help you apply your skill set. For instance, you can practise communicating with your classmates and deciding on how to handle collaborative projects.

Explore more articles