How Your Skill Set Must Adapt to Sustain Growth in Your Business

When starting a business, most entrepreneurs excel at the specific technical skills they need in order to deliver their services and products to customers. It may seem like an obvious example, but a bike shop owner probably opened their store because they had an expertise in bicycles. If you own a law firm, you are probably good at practicing law (or at least smart enough to pass the bar exam). In either case, your core skill is closely aligned with the services your business provides.

But starting a business means putting on hats you wouldn’t normally wear at first, like marketer, bookkeeper, or administrator. And while you might outsource these tasks to new team members as your business grows, you’ll also need to develop new skills beyond your core strengths in order to thrive. That new skill depends on the type of business model you want to succeed at. Below, we’ll discuss the biggest strengths you’ll need to master in order to continue your business’s growth and become outrageously successful.

People-Based Business Model = Leadership

If your business is one of the 25 percent of small businesses that have employees and you have a team that serves customers, then you most likely have a people-based business model. The revenue you earn is dependent on how your people perform and serve customers.

Some examples would be a mid-sized law firm, a nail salon, a marketing agency, and a mid-sized plumbing company. Each one has a team of people that generate revenue.

These people need to be hired, trained, and motivated, and that is where the skill comes in. If you have a business model like this, you need to excel at leadership, which includes managing people as well as hiring and firing. You need to be great at developing a productive, happy team in order to reach your highest pinnacle of success. Your core skill is still needed, but without leadership skills, you won’t grow as much as you could.

Acquisition-Based Business Model = Negotiation

Some companies grow through the acquisition of other companies. In this case, your top skill should be negotiation; you will need to execute great deals to keep your business growing.

Project-Based Business Model = Project Management

If your job revolves around delivering large projects, such as construction, then your business model might be project-based. While knowing how to be a general contractor might be your core skill, your top skill should become project management.

How well you manage the project timeline, delivery of materials, and oversee the management of the right number of people with the right skill at the right time are all factors required to complete the project as quickly and profitably as possible, with the quality needed so you can move to the next one.

Volume-Based Business Model = Merchandising 

If moving high quantities of products or services is your business model (think: grocery store, software company, certain retailers and wholesalers), then your revenue depends on volume and how much you can sell. How you display and market your products will affect how many customers you can get in the door and how fast you can sell. Your top skill should become merchandising and all things marketing.

Your Top Skill Is No Longer Your Core Skill

These four types of business models serve as a sampling to show that once you achieve some level of success, your core skill may no longer be the keystone to further success. Developing professional skills beyond your core skill will take you farther than you ever imagined you could go with your business.