Business & Finance

9 Essential Skills for Entrepreneurs

Operating a successful tourism business requires certain skills. Test your own proficiency against these nine skill sets. By Thys Buitendag CA (SA).

Being an entrepreneur is a demanding but mostly rewarding job. In a large corporate environment there are probably managers or department heads looking after the various aspects of a business, but in a small or medium business these aspects are often looked after by the owner.

Based on my consulting experience, a successful entrepreneur requires a certain level of proficiancy in the these nine essential skills:

1. NUMERICAL – the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide; calculate percentages (e.g. calculate a selling price for a product or service).

2. ACCOUNTING – understand what is income, expense, asset, liability; what is gross profit, net profit and cash flow.

3. ADMINISTRATIVE – be able to issue an invoice, deposit money, make payments, payroll, recordkeeping, procedures, systems and controls.

4. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT – a basic understanding of financial statements (be able to interpret it); calculate basic ratios to help you manage your business (e.g. profit %, return on investment).

5. MARKETING & SELLING – how to market your business and sell your products; build your brand.

6. PEOPLE MANAGEMENT – how to manage your employees so they perform at their best, motivation, disciplinary measures, performance management.

7. BUDGETING – understand what a budget is, why it is necessary, how to do one and measure your performance against the budget.

8. BUSINESS & LEADERSHIP SKILLS – strategic planning, positioning, market trends, personal life balance, set business vision and goals, outperform your competitors.

9. LEGAL – know of the various statutory Acts applicable to your business and basic knowledge of these Acts (for information on Statutory Regulations for businesses in SA, read the May edition).

Now rate your skill in each of the above nine aspects.

Use a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. Now work out a plan of action to improve those skills where you rated yourself 3 or under.

There are various ways that you can increase your skill level. Some examples would be to search the internet for articles; read books, attend a course or seminar or contract the services of a specialist e.g. an accountant, lawyer or labour specialist. Set yourself goals and learn something new every day, week or month.

The words of Henry David Thoreau are worth keeping in mind: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” (Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resistrar, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist).

“Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse.” African Proverb.

Business-1-Thys-PicAbout the Author: Thys Buitendag is the principle value contributor at SYNC Accounting & Business Services. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant after studies at the University of the Free State. He has over 25 years of experience ranging from being an auditor for a few years to being part of the senior management of large corporations and operating his own business, mostly in the manufacturing (feed, FMCG, agriculture related) and IT industries, driving efficiencies in production, logistics, treasury, administration, finance and sales.
For advice or assistance telephone +27 (0)11 475 8422 or for more information visit: You can also send an mail to [email protected].

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