At the heart of every successful business is a single strong idea. It’s exciting to develop that idea, to work towards monetising it and seeing where it can go. However, far too many people start up in business thinking that ideas are enough, and lacking the skills necessary to build and sustain a company. Most important among these are the leadership skills needed to inspire other people and persuade them to commit to making the business work. This article looks at what those skills are and how you can obtain them. 

Key leadership skills 

Which skills are most important in a business leader? These are widely considered to be the big five:

  • Strategic thinking – the ability to understand the marketplace, evaluate opportunities, measure risk, plan ahead and make good decisions.
  • Identifying talent – the ability to work out what the business needs, recruit the right employees and contractors, support employee development and maintain positive working relationships.
  • Communication – the ability to negotiate effectively, persuade people of the value of your ideas, inspire loyalty in your employees and listen to their input.
  • Organisation – the ability to keep track of everything that your business is doing and everything that it needs to be doing, and to make sure that tasks are appropriately assigned and completed on time.
  • Delegation – the ability to recognise your own limitations and know when to ask for help, and to give the right amounts of work to the right people in the right order. 

Developing leadership skills

The simplest way to ensure that you have the full set of leadership skills necessary for your business is to study at an institute that specialises in business education. The LSBF LinkedIn profile has useful information about the London School of Business and Finance. While doing a full degree in business is the most thorough option, there are many different types of course available, so you can find something that fits in with your lifestyle and complements the education that you already have.

  • Postgraduate degrees – if you already have a degree in another subject, then you’ll already have useful research and organisational skills. A master’s degree in a business-related subject will help you build on these skills to develop what you need.
  • Short courses – often available as evening classes or in week-long intensive formats that can be fitted into holiday time if you’re working, these can be ideal if there are just one or two areas where you need extra help.
  • Correspondence courses are a great option if an existing job or domestic commitments make it difficult for you to study in a traditional institution, and can also help you sharpen up your skills if you’ve already started up your business before realising that you need help.

Getting an education like this won’t just help you directly but will also come in useful when you’re applying for funding or trying to set up partnerships by helping you to make a better impression on other businesspeople. Just don’t forget the sixth important rule of leadership: carry on learning throughout your career.

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