3 Essential Business Skills
Today I want to share about the 3 essential business skills every business person must learn. These skills are critical for you to perform at the highest level of modern business. Take a look at this video first then move on to the blog contents.
1. BUSINESS ENGLISH
The first skill is to use Business English. Business English is necessary because English is the tool to bridge global communication. There are various situations that you need to use Business English, although you may not be currently using English.
Here are some examples.
If you are Sales, and your clients are domestic customers, eventually you can be promoted to take in charge of export customers. If you are Procurement Manager, your material sourcing strategy can changed from domestic to import to reduce the cost of goods. These situation can happen to you at the certain stage of your career. Business English is a critical skill, if you want become one of the top tier talents in your organisation.
“Use English” not “Speak English”
Now I want you to remember that I used the word “use English”, not “speak English”.
What I mean is I want you all to have the courage to use English rather than to speak or pronounce like a native speaker.
I have one story of about using English. My client who was assigned as Managing Director of electronic components company said that his TOEIC score was 250 when he was assigned, never been outside of Japan and he had 7 country managers, who are different nationalities and directly reporting to him. Can you imagine being an MD and you have to speak English every single day with this TOEIC score? This MD did not speak English because he knew that he would not be able to speak well. What he did was he memorised 200 English words that are commonly used and he kept using the same vacabularies in different sentences. He was able to manage to use these core 200 vocabularies and make business decisions.
As a result, he has managed to even increase his organisation’s sales and the managers were satisfied working under him. He knew that simple communication is all you need in business.
65% of English Spoken Today is by Non-Native English Speakers
As most of you are aware, English is the common language spoken in an international business environment. Do you know how many people are speaking English in the world today?
There are 350 Million native speakers, and there are close to 1 Billion non-native speakers. Can you believe that? 65% of the people who speaks English are non-native English speakers. Most of the other languages are spoken only in few countries and majority are native speakers.
This is the reason why you are hesitant to use English or feel that you might be embarrassed because, in your subconscious mind, you think that you must speak English like native English speaker.
Well for a common language like English, this does not apply. I want everyone watching this video to think that you are capable of using English in business with fundamental speaking skills.Everyone is making mistakes in English meetings.
Be confident and learn from mistakes rather than being afraid of making mistakes.
2. ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE
The second essential business skill is Accounting and Finance.
When you hear the word Accounting and Finance, I am quite sure that most of you have a negative impression.
Accounting and Finance show your business performance and financial situations. Whatever business you do, you will need to deal with financial performance because that is how you communicate with investors, shareholders, customers and suppliers.
Even though you are within the company, there are many cases you will use financial performances. If you are sales, then sales amount is used to measure your performance. If you are warehouse manager, then reducing inventory or improving inventory turnover ratio is used to measure your performance. In most of the organizations, these financial indicators are used to measure your business performances.
So now that you know it is important to learn about Accounting and Finance let’s think why do we have bad experience about learning accounting and finance?
Most of the Account & Finance Training or Books are for Accountants
The main reason for this is that majority of the accounting and finance lectures or courses are intended for accountants, or I would say that it is a summarised version of the contents intended for accountants.
For non-accountants, we don not need to understand every detail of how the financial statements are created. We need to learn more about the meaning of key financial account and management indicators so that we can use them and explain why we are in these financial conditions linked with the business environment or situations.
As a business professional you need to understand why cash is necessary for your business, what are the pros and cons of holding inventory, how can you have negative cash flow even though you are making a profit? What is a fixed asset and why do we need to depreciate? Why do we need to analyse fixed and variable cost and break even point? What is the difference between operational earnings and gross profit? These are samples that you might understand what it is, but can be difficult to explain in your words.
On the other hand, it is vital that you understand the key terminologies of Finance and have the competence of using in your report or presentation to convince stakeholders to understand the situation correctly.
3. Information Technology
The third essential business skill is Information Technology.
Information technology is now a critical component of your business strategy. When you are doing any business, you will need to use particular IT solutions to support your business activities.
The speed of IT solutions are very fast, and you will need to keep up with the latest technologies. Business operation needs to utilise information technology to improve operation or add value to business. Therefore you may need IT skills although you may not work in an IT organisation.
Who would have thought that now manufacturing companies will sell solutions by gathering information from machines and analysing by big data solutions for production improvement or maintenance efficiency? New IT solutions can generate new business opportunities.
Learn Fundamental of IT to Keep Up with the Trend
Even in our daily work, IT solutions contribute how we can be more productive. Mobile solutions and cloud services have dynamically changed how we manage our digital information, and also this requires knowledge about how to prevent confidential information to be secured in our working environment.
You will need to understand the fundamental concept of network, infrastructure, application system and managing data as well as critical IT solutions such as ERP, Digital Marketing, Big Data Solutions, CRM, Business Intelligence Platforms, and Mobile Applications.
Once you understand the concept and the benefits of these IT solutions can bring to your business, you can validate the necessity of applying them to your business against the investment that is required.
The majority of the senior executives will be very sensitive to IT trends, and this can bring a tremendous amount of opportunities if you make the effort to catch up with the latest technologies available to make an innovation to your business.