8 Essential Skills Every Business Owner Needs to Learn

As an entrepreneur, I make sure to educate other ladypreneurs about the importance of investing in themselves.

While investing in yourself and business might cost you a lot of money, it gives you long-term benefits such as the advantage of building valuable skills that would benefit your business and improving your strengths over time.

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Let’s face the truth- the business world has changed from the way it was operated 20 years ago. Running a business on just sheer instinct isn’t enough anymore.

You have to stay on top of growing trends if you want your business to survive and succeed.

And that’s why I have put together this list of business skills and resources that every business owner needs to boost their business.

1. Relationship Building

Building great relationships especially with customers/clients is one of the ways to differentiate your business from competitors.

As a business owner, your relationships will take various forms, as you’ll meet different people; and need to wear different hats to maintain a good relationship.

I’d advise that the major categories of relationships you need to build are with:

  • Customers/Clients;
  • Business connections/ fellow entrepreneurs who can grow and support your business; and
  • Mentors

2.  Storytelling

Let’s face it! Everyone loves stories, no matter the age or economic status.

Incorporating storytelling into your business infuses a human touch customers can’t resist. It helps customers establish a human connection with your business.

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Some of the advantages of using storytelling for your business include:

  • It captivates your customers;
  • It makes your business relatable and approachable; and
  • It makes your business credible and trust-worthy.

3. Content Creation

Content is king! Yes, that might sound cliché, but it’s true.

Please note that content doesn’t have to be restricted to words alone. It could come in other forms such as videos, infographics, pictures, podcasts, whitepapers, case studies, etc.

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Don’t just display the products or services you’re offering. Go a step ahead by also offering value to your customers.

For example, do you sell fashion items? Spice up your brand by posting style inspirations, care of the items you sell, how to rock that item for different occasions, etc.

By providing good content, you not only let your customers know that you have their best interests at heart but also assert that buying from your business is the best decision they could ever make.

4. Customer Service

How many of you never returned to buy from a brand just because of poor customer experience? Lots of you, right?

The same principle applies to your customers too. As business owners, you have to realize that your customers are king, and so, must be treated like royalty.

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Providing excellent customer experience is one of the easiest ways to make your business stand out from other businesses.

It’s also one of the easiest ways to retain customers and get referrals.  Therefore, ensure you develop your customer skills and treat your customers with respect.

5. Financial Literacy/Management

If you want to run a successful business, you must know how money works. Click To Tweet

This means having an understanding of how much you can spend and how you should spend it.

Every cent you spend and generate must be accounted for. If you don’t know how to calculate your expenditure and revenue, it’s definitely time to become financially literate.

6. Management

When your business begins to grow, it will require expansion. And expansion translates to hiring more people to support you.

Once you do this, you need to ensure that the people on your team are doing what they are supposed to do and that they’re are doing it efficiently. Therefore, don’t be just a business owner.

Add "being a good manager" to the list of skills you need to possess. Click To Tweet

7. Leadership

A good business owner needs to have good leadership skills to run a team of other people.

When you are a good leader, it becomes easy to motivate and inspire greatness in your employees.

With proper leadership, employees, contractors, and even customers will respect you.

Please note that to be a leader isn’t to be bossy to inspire fear. Rather, a good leader brings the best out of people, listens to other people, shows them respect and showing them that you’re capable of leading them to achieve victory.

8. Hiring

I see a lot of business owners make the mistake of hiring the first person that shows an interest in working with/for them or has the qualifications they are looking for.

Unfortunately, that isn’t enough.

While hiring a person with an exemplary portfolio and good work history is good, you have to consider other variables such as their personality, beliefs and whether they are a perfect fit for your business’ culture.

Running a business is very demanding. Identify your weaknesses and invest in skills that that will provide your business with solid foundations.


WEBINAR WITH BUNMI SIMOYAN: HOW TO LAND A JOB AT A GLOBAL COMPANY LIKE SHE LEADS AFRICA (FEB 27)

Have you thought about what kind of company you’d like to work at? If your dream job is a traditional 9 – 5, where you get to send out a couple of emails and scroll through your IG feed for the rest of the day, this is NOT for you! Now, if you’re wondering how you can land a job at a global organization or work with a dynamic and innovative team that’ll inspire you to learn continuously and be part of something bigger – don’t sweat it, girl, we’ve gotchu!

Join us on Tuesday, 27th February, as we host a Webinar with Bunmi Simoyan, who will be sharing exclusive advice on how to land a job at a global company like She Leads Africa.

Bunmi is the Head, People Operations at She Leads Africa. She is passionate about building successful careers and connecting the right people with the right jobs.

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Creative ways to get a recruiter’s attention with your job application
  • Traits global recruiters look for in candidates
  • How to slay the interview process
  • How to demonstrate that you are capable of doing a kickass job
  • Do’s and don’ts of securing a job at such companies
Register below to have access to this opportunity and submit questions that you would like Bunmi to answer.

Webinar Details:

Date: Tuesday, February 27th, 2018 Time: Lagos 4pm // Johannesburg 5pm // Nairobi 6pm Place: We’ll send you the link to watch once you register

Watch here:

About Bunmi

Bunmi Simoyan currently works as the Head of People Operations with SheLeadsAfrica.org, where she adopts innovative HR solutions to drive and promote leading-edge people strategies. She is also an independent HR Consultant for various small to medium-sized companies. Prior to joining SheLeadsAfrica.org, Bunmi spent the first 8 years of her career at Ecobank Limited Nigeria, where she worked in e-business, transactional banking and operations before pursuing a career in Human Resources. Born in France, raised in Nigeria, Bunmi is a trained HR professional who is passionate about providing innovative HR solutions. She is convinced that her purpose is connecting the right talent to businesses and providing solutions that can help businesses succeed. Bunmi graduated with a Distinction in Human Resources and Knowledge Management from Lancaster University – UK. She also holds a Post-Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Laval University, Quebec, Canada.

Effective ways to ensure a successful job interview

You have managed to leap off the pages of your curriculum vitae and cover letter and have been invited to a job interview for a prospective job role.

Of course, you are stressing out, yes you are one step closer to grabbing that dream but the pressure is mounting and you have to prove yourself one more time (and now there is no paper to hide behind!).

How do you ensure that you are successful in your next job interview?

Prepare and prepare and prepare

Preparation is your friend and is going to ensure your success. One of the first steps should be to find out from your future employer if there is anything you can prepare ahead of the interview.

If they are obliging, you could go further to find out the format of the interview and who will be on the interview panel. This is something you can (and should) also find out from current employees.

Read over your curriculum vitae and cover letter, be familiar enough with them so that you can address any questions on them. Know why you included specific details – what were you trying to get across about yourself?

If this is the first time you are applying for a job, make sure you are able to highlight how your background has equipped you for this position. The same goes for a position you are applying for within the same sector as you are currently employed.

If you are looking at branching out from what you have previously done then it is necessary to be able to illustrate how your skills are transferable.

For example, if you all your experience is limited to corporate and now you intend on moving to a government department, detail skills you acquired during your corporate experience and how these could be applied in your new setting.

Preparing for this pre-empts the inevitable question about why you are making a change and goes one step further in showing that you have thought about how your past experience, although different, translates.

Practice

You could go about practicing by either going through a mock interview or even more informally just chatting through some questions. This is a must in ensuring that the actual interview is not daunting.

Work through some basic questions such as personal background to start off with. Then move on to specific experience and education. Make sure you can also address questions about the new position and company.

Would you be able to answer why you are leaving your current position? Or some of the more sticky questions such as what makes you different; what is the biggest challenge you have faced and what is one quality you would change about yourself.

Make sure that you do not over-practice, you do not want to come across as rehearsed during the actual interview. So walk that fine line between practicing and coming across as rehearsed!

Questions

During the latter part of an interview, it is inevitable that you will be asked whether you have any questions for your prospective employers. It is imperative to ask questions and in order to be able to do so, you need to factor this into your preparation.

Questions can relate to the working environment; the type of clients and if you are aware of who the interview panel will be ahead of time – questions can then be addressed to specific people.

For example, if you know the head of the department will be part of the interview, try to research some of the work she or he has recently been a part of so you can ask a more detailed question.

Remember, inasmuch as an interview is about you being judged, it is also your opportunity to assess whether this position is the best fit for you. So if work/life balance is integral to your happiness then be sure to ask about this in the interview.

Current Employees

Try to connect with current employees. They can assist in shedding light on what the work environment is like and what the position you are applying for entails. A good starting point for connecting is LinkedIn.

More often than not you will have connections in common, which makes connecting a lot easier.

They can also help you figure out if the position advertised is really what is described or in substance is something else. Current employees can be a great resource for understanding our potential work environment and role.

Outcome of the Interview

Before you leave the interview, be sure to find out how the communication following the interview will go and who you can contact if you would like feedback.

Whether you secure the position or not, feedback is key. You have an idea of how you would like to come across but did that materialize and is there anything you could have done better?

Of course, these are more critical to know if you did not secure the position. So often when we fail we want to forget about the experience entirely. But knowing what did not work will put you one step ahead in terms of preparing for the next interview.

Do not read notes up until the last moment before you enter the interview. Take some time before to try to relax! It is really difficult to do, especially when you know you need to ace the interview, but having that sense of calm will translate when you go into the interview.

Small things like speaking slowly are also important and are sure to ask for a minute to think something over if you are unsure – there is no need to answer immediately!

And lastly but most importantly, be yourself and do your best.


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How Hobbies Can Help You Connect With Employers

Sometimes a hobby is more than a hobby

Do you like long walks on the beach and kittens? Yes, of course, you do. But what does that have to do with getting a job?

Sharing your interests on a resume is a way to build a connection and show off your personality. The tricky part is knowing what hobbies to put on your resume to give off a good impression and let the hiring manager know that you will be a good fit for their company.

When to list hobbies on your resume?

Listing hobbies on your resume is a much-contested matter. To some, a Hobbies and Interests section is a relic of the nineties — something generation X started doing to prove they aren’t just corporate drones, but actual people.

Nowadays, many hiring managers hate it when employees waste valuable space on their resumes to talk about their love of books and socializing.

But work culture is increasingly changing. Many companies are refocusing on personality-based hiring and finding employees that would be a good fit for their work culture.

Adding a hobbies section might just do the trick!

Work culture is changing. Many companies are refocusing on personality-based hiring Click To Tweet

How to match the company’s work culture?

Trying to figure out whether you should put a Hobbies and Interests section on your resume?

First off, you need to understand the company’s work culture:

    • Go to their website and have a look around. Read up on the company values and what        perks they provide their employees with. What events they organize.
    • Then, have a look at employee profiles to see if they mention hobbies.
    • Next, check employee profiles on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. Employees are        more likely to put some hobbies on a LinkedIn profile than elsewhere.
    • Finish up with any general press to get a feel for how others perceive the company’s            work culture.
  • If you know who is responsible for hiring new talent, look them up, too. Interests are          great way to break the ice and create rapport with the interviewer.

What hobbies should you put on your resume?

Let’s say you want to work for a professional wedding planner. You did your online research. You checked out the company site and browsed employee LinkedIn profiles.

Perhaps you found out the company is looking for outgoing, playful, yet business-savvy employees with a basic understanding of social media.

You noticed the recruitment page even points to some specific hobbies that their employees engage in, such as, say, dance, cooking, and mixology (all these evidence from their Instagram profiles!)

How are you going to show those dream wedding planners that you’re playful yet business-savvy?

That’s right. You add your hobbies that mirror the general vibe you’re getting from that company.

Pro Tip: Don’t lie about your hobbies and interests. Assuming that adding them does the trick and you get a face-to-face with the recruiter, you’ll want to be able to leverage your hobbies and not stutter and stammer once you get asked about them.

 Don’t lie about your hobbies and interests Click To Tweet

How to fit in hobbies on your Resume

Once you’ve pinpointed a company’s work culture, there are a couple of ways you can flesh out your hobbies section.

Leverage your hobbies to signal cultural fit:

According to research on what employers look for on a resume, cultural fit comes in a close second right after work experience. And that makes perfect sense. According to this comprehensive study, good cultural fit makes for happier, more motivated employees who stay longer on the team.

If you think using hobbies as evidence of your value as an employee this is what you should do:

    • Choose a hobby that requires you to use a skill set that would compliment the skills               you need for the position you are seeking.
    • For example, if you’re applying for a creative job, go for a couple of creative hobbies.            Want to become a journalist? Photography might come in handy.
  • Another approach is to add hobbies that require the use of a skill set that the hiring              manager may have a hard time finding in other candidates because of a skill gap in the        market. Want to work for a travel agency and you happen to run a travel blog?                      Mention this hobby as proof of your interest as well as niche grasp of skills such as              wordpress and basic HTML.

Pro Tip: The hobbies section might be better for recent graduates rather than professionals with years of experience.

Now, coming back to signaling cultural fit.

Say you want to work for a travel agent specializing in crazy adventure vacations. Your love of whitewater rafting might just come in handy! Want to be a server at a restaurant and you have a knack for cooking?

Go ahead and list that on your resume. It’s relevant, plus, who knows, the employer might need a competent backup for the kitchen, too!

What hobbies should you avoid on your resume?

Are there any hobbies you should not mention on your resume?

Those include any hobbies that are of a religious, political, or sexual persuasion. You also might want to avoid hobbies that others might consider strange or awkward (taxidermy anyone?)

Or, if they are too general to make sense — like reading books and watching movies. C’mon, it’s like saying you are special because you breathe air!

Remember that the whole point of sharing your interests is a way for a hiring manager to get a fuller image of you, to connect with you. And, perhaps, to see what skill sets you have apart from those you developed in a work environment.

Sometimes a Hobby Is More Than a Hobby

If you’ve taken part in conferences, expos, and industry events, you might want to create a separate section like Conferences. Especially, if you were a speaker. Did you volunteer at an NGO? You might want to move that to a Volunteer Work section.

Although it’s not typical work experience, it does imply you can navigate the work environment.

And finally, command of foreign languages warrants a mention in the skills section. Don’t hide it among semi-relevant hobbies. You’re a superstar, show that off!

Will adding hobbies to your CV help you beat the applicant tracking system? Not really, but... Click To Tweet

Key Takeaways

Adding a hobbies and interests section is the fun part of resume writing. You get to write about things that interest you. Plus, you can show off your sparkling personality.

Just remember to research the prospective employer. You want to match their expectations and make sure they are a good fit for you, too.

Will adding hobbies help you beat the applicant tracking system? Not really. But that isn’t the goal here. You want to show your human side and prove to the employer that you get them.


P.S. There are many more ways to come up with the perfect resume for the job. You can read up on everything you need to know online.

Then again, if you want to save time, you might as well just use a resume builder. Here’s a handy list of the best online resume builders. Just make sure the creator you choose will provide you with expert guidance and tips!


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5 ways to Enjoy Your Wack Contract Job

Quit thinking the reason you’re not doing well right now is that you don’t get so much pay Click To Tweet

The most common jobs in Nigeria right now are ones gotten from a third-party company that is signed to provide employees for various employers.

While I worked at one, I found that the reason employer companies choose the option of contract staffs is to reduce its expenses and improve profitability.

A full-time employee may get a 50% raise from your salary, including HMO(Health) benefits. This is even more annoying for contract staffs because they do more of the work but have fewer benefits, up until the length of days to go on leave.

However, there’s always a way to have the life you want regardless of the situation presented to you.

The vision you have for yourself should drive your passion for what you do now Click To Tweet

Know who you are

This is nothing about your desires or visions  – at least not for the purpose of this article.

What makes you tick? Deep down your heart, what’s the core of your strength? The real test to enjoying your job, and your life, is to know who you are.

Although the search of identity may be an ongoing process, there’s a core of you that reveals your truth in whatever situation you find yourself. Everything you believe yourself to be should not be dependent on anything else but you.

Once you can identify who you are, it would facilitate the emergence of what you’d like to experience.

The true value of your job is not dependent on your position, but your personality. Click To Tweet

Change your cognitive experience

The natural cognitive of man is attracted to negative situations that appeal to his senses.

So for example, you get to find out the extra benefits due to full-time staffs in your company and it freaks you out (it should), it is only normal that you begin to take it out on your daily routine, colleagues and even your line managers.

Two years after my experience as a contract staff in a financial institution, I was appraised and suggested to be converted into a full-time staff.

I was excited when my line manager hinted me on this new development and was waiting for the big announcement. To my greatest disappointment, when my appraisal form got to the office in charge, my group head was summoned and asked, “Who would you like to be retrenched in order to approve Adesewa’s conversion?” Confused, she responded, “nobody”.

“Well, because the company cannot afford the cost for another full-time employee,” they disclosed. It was a great consolation to have known that the reason for the default was a lack of the company’s capacity, not mine.

If this happened to you, I know you would freak out, and probably drop your resignation notice to go somewhere you’ll be ‘celebrated, not tolerated’.

Just calm down! LOL!

The quality of the delivery of your duties should be influenced by positivity. Contract jobs hardly come with motivations. Thus, you must always find a way around it. While you have a plan to quit, be deliberately positive about your daily dealings.

The more positivity you exude, the greater the attraction for more. If it doesn’t happen for you in this job, it would somewhere else.

Create value for your personality

One of the many reasons people want to be in the full-staff cadre is so that the company can place value on them. The true value of your job is not dependent on your position, but your personality.

Quit thinking the reason you’re not doing well right now is that you don’t get so much pay. Your pay may not equal your plan, but it does not necessarily influence the core of you, except you want it to.

So, during a knowledge sharing session at your company or a proposal pitch, you have the platform to ‘show yourself’. Yes! Flaunt the stuff you’re made of! This is not PRIDE; it is PURPOSE-ON-DELIVERY.

Always look for opportunities to reveal who you are asides from being the “front desk officer” or “cashier”. Profer solutions to problems. That’s what employers want to see.

Even though it may likely not buy your conversion as a staff, it would increase your value as a person. You are first a person before being someone’s staff. Work at it!

Work experience is in phases, enjoy this one

A young entrepreneur who also works as an employee reached out to me one day. She shared all her frustrations as to how she was not getting fulfilments with her job. She mentioned how she knew this was not what she signed up for her life and all.

The truth is, at every point in life, we get bored. This is not just a contract thing, stop blaming it on the job. Because guess what, even if you were full time, you would still get bored.

All days are not the same, and all work experiences are in phases. You have to learn the art of enjoying the phases by creating systems that work for you.

At the financial job experience I told you about, every week became annoying because there had to be something new to do – things that were way out of the initial job description(JD).

Whichever way I felt did not matter to the company, the job had to be done anyway. And the only way to be happy with your job is to be happy with you, knowing that this is only a phase. You would get involved in better things and greater opportunities, so if you want to make your life count, you have to do it right.

Always work with the end in view

You know, many times, we are motivated in the present by having a vision of what’s to come. Doing your job with the end in mind is one sure way to enjoy what you’re doing currently.

So, pending the time you find something more ‘ghen-ghen’ (out of this world), let that ‘ghen-ghen’ thing inspire the not-so ‘ghen-ghen’ one.

The vision you have for yourself should drive your passion for what you do now. You may not like what you do now, but when you look at the experience later from the inside in, you’ll see it was necessary for your journey.

See the end in mind, Live the present, Create your future.

Webinar with Odunayo (PushCV): Writing your cv and cover letter for your dream job (July 13)

What do the first six seconds of your CV say to a recruiter?

If you’re attending many job interviews but never get a call back from employers, we’re about to solve your job hunt misery.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much skills you possess, having a bad CV and NO cover letter can end your chances for a job in no time.

Learn all you need to know from @OdunEweniyi about rewriting your CV and cover letter. (July 13) Click To Tweet

Now, whether you’re planning to write your CV yourself or get a professional writer, you also need to understand the difference between your CV and cover letter and know how to construct and present both to potential employers.

We’ll be chatting with tech founder and Chief Operations Officer of PushCV – Odunayo Eweniyi on Thursday, July 13th, about how to get the attention of recruiters, through your CV and cover letter.

Odunayo launched PushCV for both employers and job seekers – to fully harness the power of technology in the search for the perfect candidate or the perfect job.

Register for this webinar below.

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Techniques for Job application
  • Rewriting your CV and cover letter
  • How to get the attention of a recruiter in 6 seconds (Presentation)
  • Interviewing processes every job seeker must know of

Webinar Details:

Date: Thursday, July 13th, 2017

Time: Lagos 1pm // Joburg 2pm // Nairobi 3pm

Place: We’ll send you the link to watch once you register

Watch here:

About Odunayo

Odunayo Eweniyi is the Chief Operations Officer of Sharphire Global Limited – which owns subsidiary companies like PushCV, Piggybank.ng and FrontDesk.

Odun, as she is called, is very passionate about education, employment and most importantly, female empowerment, which enabled her to work with her team to build products to achieve that goal over the past 4 years.

She graduated with a first class degree in Computer Engineering from Covenant University. She loves to write a lot, and when she’s not working or eating, she’s watching TV shows.