12 Essential Skills You Need to Start an Online Business

Are Your Business Skills up to Scratch?

Having many perks, it’s easy to see why an online business is right for you. However, online businesses can be challenging. Fret not, the solution lies in your skills as a business owner. This article will discuss twelve business and management skills to run an online business and how to develop them. We aim to cover all the essentials, so read on.

What Are Business Skills?

Certain soft and hard management skills help you run the business more efficiently. It’s both soft and hard skills that cover multiple areas. Having the right business skills gives advantages for growth for you and the business. Here are the twelve skills to help coach you on your journey as you start to develop your new business.

1. Leadership

Leadership is about taking responsibility, sparking inspiration, and setting exemplary behaviour. This skill requires self-discipline but has plentiful benefits.

First, it creates sustainability and credibility. Second, it encourages you to initiate actions – like considering some business ideas and calculating the best one. Lastly, it helps delegate tasks to team members.

Developing leadership skills requires taking the initiative, having critical thinking, and being open to constant learning. Read books or take inspiration from others. Choose a role model as an example, but always put authenticity first.

Business people around a table discussing business contract

2. Calculated Risk-Taking

Calculated risk-taking is about taking risks to actualise challenging goals. When starting an online business, every decision can seem daunting. Having this skill overcomes doubts you may have.

This skill is about getting familiar with trial-and-error. It helps you avoid poor decisions, work smarter, and get a higher chance for rewards. Moreover, it allows you to know your business resources and capabilities.

To develop this skill, expect all possible outcomes, and be prepared for the unexpected ones. Learn by doing – meaning make more decisions to improve this skill. Base your decisions on data, to make sure your risks are based on a solid theoretical foundation.

3. Time Management

Time management works for almost every business aspect. Whether the business runs full-time or part-time, it allows you to prioritise tasks and be productive. Generally, it creates a smooth work operation.

This skill gives benefits to multiple industries. It helps with timely product shipping, keeps the project timeline on track, and delivers content according to schedule.

Practice better time management through daily activities. There are many apps to help track progress, like Toggl. Try using them for your business activities to know what to improve.

4. Communication

Communication skills include negotiating, selling, building your team and customer relationships. It’s about a connection that adds significant business value.

Communication skills work to increase self-improvement, build internal trust, and create opportunities. It also builds great relationships with partners and influencers for your marketing efforts.

Diverse millennials enjoying communication in modern office
Communication skills are an important business skill to harness.

To communicate effectively, start by knowing when to listen. Connect with people by starting conversations and set the right tone. Prioritising communication is also a great way to learn. Communication works best, when you have a common ground and values, allowing you to debate towards the same goal.

Take an example from companies like Amazon, who have explicitly defined company values that they use in internal communication.

5. Negotiation

To master this skill means to understand the problem that triggers negotiation. It trains your communication, quick-thinking, and decision-making skills.

Effective negotiation leads to obtaining the most profit with the least investment. It allows the negotiating parties to reach win-win scenarios. This skill helps when negotiating with customers, investors, or business partners.

Avoid misunderstanding in negotiation by establishing clear communication. Understand what you offer and bargain. Also, be clear on why you’re negotiating. Get to know the party you negotiate with.

6. Marketing and Sales

Online businesses revolve around digital marketing and sales. They go together because the goal of marketing is to optimise each section of the sales funnel. In practice, this skill works for online ads, social media platforms, and day-to-day customer management.

When aligned, marketing and sales help optimise the business, create better campaigns, stand out from competitors, increase sales and brand awareness. Understanding how marketing and sales work allows better measurements for ROI and KPIs.

For marketing skills, settle on your objectives and learn the basics. This includes SEO, content marketing, and copywriting. Research the online behaviour of your customers. Focus on soft-selling and the best channels to reach them.

7. Business Acumen

Business acumen develops best by learning. Having an accounting skill allows you to calculate investment, capital, and monthly spending. In short, it improves your budget allocation and total profit.

To develop this skill, grasp the basics of accounting. Do this through online courses or hire a freelance accountant for starters. Set your financial goals and strategies.

8. Customer Service

Being customer-focused allows better revenue growth, between 4% and 8%. Online-based customer service is also the most popular option among millennials.

Prioritising great customer service creates a positive brand image, better brand recognition, and improves customer retention. Therefore, focus on this skill to give stellar customer service.

Six wooden cubes with different icons on sat in front of businessman
Customer service is a core skill that should be the cornerstone of any online business.

For this skill, put customers first. It’s about connection, where you’ll learn patience and empathy. Establish a clear customer journey and connect it with your product. Use online tools to manage everything.

9. Recruitment

Every business looks for the best team. Having the skill to recruit the right people saves you time and money in the long run. So, recruit people based on their business plans and capabilities.

This skill works to find and hire the right team to overcome challenges and reach KPIs. It helps business growth and sustainability. Finding people that are the right culture fit for your company will improve internal communication and most likely easy business growth.

To develop recruitment skills, understand people. Learn it from a mentor, a business partner, or how big-name brands do it. Focus on hiring the best by using assessment tests out there.

10. Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is about quick thinking and understanding the resources you have to solve any business problem. For business owners, solving problems adds trust, respect, and competency.

For the business itself, problem-solving overcomes bottlenecks and grows the business better. It also hones your creative-thinking skills.

To learn problem-solving skills, focus on finding solutions. Don’t limit yourself, be open to any outcome, and understand the problem.

11. Strategy

Running a business means putting strategy into everything, like marketing, sales, and web design. Creating strategies minimise risks and allow you to see opportunities.

Developing the strategy skill allows careful measurement, phasing the business better, business sustainability in the long term. For marketing, a great strategy increases potential customers’ interests.

To practice this skill, understand the market and audience behaviour. Learn from how other businesses do it. Also, know when to observe and take action.

12. Perseverance

This last skill on the list is possibly the most important. Without perseverance, the other eleven skills become less effective. Perseverance is a soft skill that involves human psychology. It also shows your determination.

Woman in gym wear climbing a climbing wall
Refusing to give up is an essential business and management skill.

Perseverance works as a foundation for the other eleven skills. It helps you reach the expected goals or outcome.

It’s important to know that perseverance comes from the mind. Learn to train and improve your mental well-being. Find the motivation to keep going. If possible, find a mentor to help track your progress.

How to Develop Business Management Skills

Check out the list below to develop your business skills.

  • Set goals. Setting goals is about being flexible. Ambitious yet realistic goals are effective in developing your skills. You’re also logically phasing your learning.
  • Be consistent. Be consistent and practice as many skills daily. Consistency supports the learning curve and makes it easier to turn it into a habit.
  • Be open to learning. Understand that trial-and-error is part of the process. Adapt to the changing trends and always learn.
  • Build your network. Building your network practices communication and bargaining skills. It also widens your connection and opens the door to more opportunities.


The main point of this article is to understand that these business skills grow over time. Some skills immediately benefit your day-to-day business and management activities. Some need patience and regular practice.

Discover the best way for you to develop any of the skills. Wherever you want to start, it’s important to keep going.

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