Top 10 Business Skills You Need as a Professional

Updated January 21, 2023

As a professional, having the right business skills and being able to apply them in real-life situations guarantees the progress of any organization. These skills set you apart as a professional because they guide the key decisions you make in tough situations.

In this article, we talk about the importance of business skills and highlight 10 of the most critical business skills that every professional needs to guarantee success in their career.

Importance of business skills

Business skills are important because almost all processes encountered in life can be viewed from a business perspective. Therefore, you need the right skills to excel in whatever you do. Everything you do as a professional has business implications and the right skill set will help you to identify and access these implications, so you can make the best decisions.

As a professional, business skills allow you to market yourself to employers as the right person to fit a particular role. If you're occupying a role already, developing these skills will help you excel and potentially earn promotions for your hard work.

10 business skills to develop as a professional

Learning and developing the following business skills will help you to excel in your professional career:

1. Negotiation tactics

You need negotiation skills throughout your professional career. They're used for negotiating salaries, contracts and project responsibilities with colleagues. To ensure progress, you must learn to negotiate effectively and come out with the best possible deals and outcomes for yourself and the business.

Negotiation is all about having discussions with other people to come to a decision that all parties can agree with. Having good negotiation skills leads to building better relationships and ultimately having business success. Specifically, you'll need to put your negotiation skills to work when making a deal for your organization or asking for salary raises with your employer.

Related: What Is a Business Negotiation? (And How Does It Work?)

2. Leadership

Leadership skills are what make it possible for any individual to motivate others to achieve a set goal—in this case, business goals. You can do this by employing different strategies that best suit you and the people you're leading.

Your leadership skills as a professional will stem from your ability to understand your and your team's strengths and weaknesses and to be decisive enough to make the right decisions based on those facts. You must also be able to use your creativity and imagination to motivate your team with a positive attitude until you achieve your goals.

Related: 10 Common Leadership Styles

3. Communication

Business thrives on information. Therefore, communication skills are crucial to your success as a professional. When making business plans and developing strategies with other professionals, communication skills are essential to deliver and understand information effectively and to achieve business goals. You must be proficient in a range of communication skills, including written, visual, verbal and non-verbal.

Employers value communication as one of the most desirable skills in the workplace, and clients love business owners who can connect with them and their needs on a different level.

Related: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

4. Resourcefulness and networking

Developing a strong network of contacts is valuable in achieving business goals as businesses thrive long-term when they have relationships built on trust. Therefore, you must make a conscious effort to cultivate valuable relationships with the right individuals. You must also support your professional network in their endeavours. You and your contacts can grow and learn from each other as you progress throughout your careers.

In business, you need to overcome challenges that arise in unpredictable situations. Having an expansive list of individuals with the skills you need in any given situation shows you to be a resourceful professional. Employers value resourcefulness, and business owners must have a good network and a wealth of resources for their company to thrive.

Related: Guidelines on How to Network

5. Business development

Business development is arguably the greatest business skill you should have as a professional because it comprises all the strategies and knowledge you need to make a business grow. This skill is all about increasing the business's value in the long term by using methods that grow its market, relationships and customers. You must have great expertise in sales, marketing, planning and budgeting to be skilled at business development.

Related: Business Development Skills: Definition and Examples

6. Research

Generally speaking, research involves systematically making inquiries about a subject to reach new conclusions, identify new opportunities and develop unique solutions. Research as a business skill involves doing the same activities to solve current business problems, identify new opportunities for the business, and develop unique business solutions.

You can use research to monitor your competitors' activities so you can always be a step ahead. Research skills also help you gain insights into what customers want so you can adjust your offerings accordingly. Developing these skills will help you ensure that you keep up to date with the current trends in your industry.

Related: A Comprehensive Guide on the Various Types of Research

7. Project management

Project management involves a series of actions carried out between the period of initiating and completing a project. During this period, you must know how to plan, execute and control different stages of the project to guarantee successful completion.

A major hard skill in project management is scheduling. You must be able to break the larger project into tasks on a timeline to guarantee accountability and adequate measurement. Scheduling also entails managing the project resources so people can complete the project on time. Task management is next to scheduling as one of the important project management skills. To ensure continuity within the project, you must be able to create, assign and manage small tasks that depend on each other and contribute to a greater business goal.

Related: What Are Project Management Basics? (With 5 Key Phases)

8. Community development

Highlighting community development in your resume shows that you're able to create a community around your business as a professional or a business owner. Some businesses spend a lot of money on marketing their products and services. If they were to make a community out of their market and customer base, then the cost and resources directed at marketing would be reduced significantly.

You must have the requisite skills to create a sense of togetherness and belonging in your business, bringing staff and customers together. Doing this requires you to care about your staff and customers' needs and opinions to help them solve their problems. Finding solutions to customers' problems makes them loyal customers.

9. Decision-making

Decision-making tests your ability to make the best choice amidst other options and alternatives to help the business achieve its goals efficiently. Making the right decision is based on adequate research and a good understanding of the goals a business set out to achieve. You must provide yourself with all the relevant facts before you can make good business decisions.

Intuition and critical thinking are also essential parts of decision-making skills. Sometimes, decisions come down to your intuition, and it's often beneficial to listen to your feelings after you've considered all the hard facts and data. When you make the right decision, you steer your organization in the right direction, culminating in business growth and development. When working with an employer, your decision-making skills are an asset that every employer wants to put to good use.


  • 5 Types of Decision Makers (With Importance and Examples)

  • What are Decision-Making Skills and How to Improve Them

  • Analytical Skills: Essential for Every Job

10. Economics skills

Having a foundational knowledge of economics contributes positively to decision-making in business. The reality is that profits run businesses. Therefore, you must have the right economic skills to choose the best course of action to make a profit for the business.

Furthermore, your knowledge and understanding of key economic concepts like demand and supply, price control, and pricing strategies will help you spot and act on business opportunities effectively. Your analytical skills, coupled with critical thinking, are key economics skills every professional needs to stand out.

As a professional, having strong business skills is essential, regardless of your industry or niche. You can use these skills to assess the overall impact of your actions and assess how they will benefit a business.

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