One of the first things you learn as an entrepreneur is how much you don’t know. Here’s why entrepreneurs need to learn about all areas of business – not just the ones you enjoy!

  • Customer service
  • Accounting, Tax & Cashflow Management
  • IT
  • HR & Recruitment
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Systems & Processes
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Commercial Law
  • Invoicing & Debt Collection
  • Social Media
  • Inventory Management & Logistics

Aside from being able to deliver a product or service that the market wants, at a profitable price point, these are just some of the things an entrepreneur must learn about to build a business, as a weakness or failure in any of these areas can be enough to bring a business down.

As an entrepreneur you don’t need to be an expert in all of them, but you need to know enough about each of them for you to:

a) get your business started, and
b) to be able to delegate, monitor and enforce accountability in each area as your business grows.

As employees we usually specialise in just one skill and our value to employers increases with our expertise and specialisation in that skill eg sales, accounting, management, logistics.

But as entrepreneurs we need to be generalists.

If you’re not prepared to become sufficiently knowledgeable in all areas of business, then maybe entrepreneurship is not for you. As at the end of the day, even though you may delegate responsibility for each area to other team members, you as the leader are still accountable for the successful execution of each area by your team.

Your sales manager failed to deliver on their annual sales target? You should have been on top of that before it became a problem.

Your accountant let debtors get to 90 days and now you can’t pay your bills? You should have been on top of that before it became a problem.

Your GM says team morale is flagging and people are leaving left, right and centre? You should have been on top of that before it became a problem.

Handing responsibility for an area of your business blindly over to another team member and then pointing the finger at them when it goes wrong, is called management by abdication. And there’s a world of difference between abdication and delegation!

Richard Liew is the founder and editor of NZ Entrepreneur

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