There is a long list of responsibilities that come with being a successful business owner, and you need to be ready for it. Not only do you need to be knowledgeable of the specific industry you’re involved in, but you’ll also need to learn multiple skills in order to get your business off the ground. But what does it really take to have a successful career in business? What are the opportunities available, and what kind of income can you expect to make? 

Here’s another thing to think about: what if you don’t want to be a business owner? Is there a way for you to bring value to a business in a way that’s separate from an employee? The answer is yes, and we’ll discuss how that’s possible.

10 soft skills you need to succeed in business 

Being in business is just as much about soft skills as it is about understanding the technical aspects. You’ll need to know how to manage people, personalities, along with understanding nuances like how to network. 

Consider these soft skills as essential to being in business: 

  1. Problem-solving skills 
  2. Management skills 
  3. Leadership skills
  4. Interest in emerging technology 
  5. Interest in marketing and sales 
  6. Account management/relationship management skills 
  7. Perseverance and motivation
  8. Ability to work under pressure
  9. Networking skills 
  10. Project Management and Planning skills 

Courses and degrees best suited for a career in business 

There are different routes you can take to get into the business world. Your base of knowledge is what will eventually sprout into the field you wish to pursue, but you can be more flexible than you may think when it comes to educating yourself for a career as a business owner. 

Consider these courses and degrees for a business career: 

  • Business Administration
  • International Business
  • Marketing  
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Investment and Securities
  • Human Resource Management
  • Supply Chain Management

Career tip: Interested in pursuing a career in Marketing? Check out CMA NXT, an online resource for up and coming marketers! They have resources available free of charge to help you start your career in Marketing

Entry-level salary expectations 

You don’t have to start as an entrepreneur right out of college. You can find the right company where you have the opportunity to learn and grow. 

This list outlines starting salaries for positions that are aligned with entrepreneurship: 

  • Marketing Coordinator – $43k
  • Business Analyst – $40k
  • Customer Service Representative – $16.90 per hour 
  • Administrative Assistant – $42k
  • Retail Associate – $32k
  • Business Development – $47k
  • Human Resources – $60k
  • Staff Accountant – $39k

Bringing value to a business without being an owner 

The very hard truth is that not everyone is built to be a business owner. Not in the traditional sense of running the day-to-day operations of being a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and navigating the ship. What you can do is offer your knowledge, skills and expertise in a manner that would provide value to a business looking to grow. How can you do that?

Business Consultant 

Being a business consultant means you provide strategies for businesses to succeed. You don’t own that business, but you’re working directly with the decision-makers in formulating systems and strategies that lead to positive outcomes. Organizations like Deloitte specialize in these kinds of services. You get the rush of helping to lead a business without the full-commitment.

Executive Assistant (EA) 

If you’re ever looking for a crash course on what it means to run a business, try being an EA for a year or two. You’re the right hand of the executives of the company and are privy to all of their communication. You understand their deadlines, know who they meet and what needs to be done, along with the stress they endure to make sure things run smoothly. Being an EA is a great way to get insights into the business that just aren’t possible in any other position.   


Chief Financial Officer (CFO) 

Businesses can’t accomplish their goals without proper money management. As a CFO, that responsibility falls on your shoulders, and it’s a heavy load to bear. Financial decisions are often what makes or breaks a business. Where and how they invest their money, the partnerships they build and the general outlook of the company’s future are all within the scope of being a CFO. 


Is a career in business and entrepreneurship right for you? 

Becoming a business owner is one of those things you need to try before you fully understand if it’s something you truly want to do. This is when interning and volunteering become so important. If you want to know what the day-to-day is like as a business owner, apply for an intern at a small business and let the owner know your intentions. Better yet, one of your mentors should be a business owner. That way, you get full insight into the process, strategies and responsibilities of an owner. 


Thinking of starting your own business? 

Check out these resources to help get you started: 

Along with these resources, don’t forget to keep investing in yourself. Outside of formal education, look for online courses that can give you some of the training you’ll need to succeed in the ways we’ve described above. Skillshare and Study.com are great places to start.  

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Don’t forget about our entrepreneur plan summer contest

Our entrepreneur plan summer contest ends on August 31, 2020. Contestants have a chance to win the perfect entrepreneurial starter package! Log in to your Prepped account and complete the exclusive entrepreneurial plans under the My Plan section. Every goal you complete enters you into a draw for a chance to win* the following six prizes:

Grand Prize:

Secondary Prize:

  • One-Year subscription to Learn@Forbes
  • One business incorporation from Ownr

+4 separate prizes to win a business incorporation from Ownr

 


This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.
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