Here we are going to discuss the basics of business in simpler terms; what do we mean by business? What are the skills required for a businessman and the types of business?
So, what do we mean by the term business? The etymological meaning of the term “Business” is to be busy. Business is also known as a company, a firm, an organization or an enterprise that is involved in transfer of goods and services in exchange of money.
Thus, anyone selling or buying things to and from others is doing a business if he or she is getting profit in return. Business is of different types depending on the owner who is involved in doing business viz. private, public, not-for-profit organization or may be an individual.
2. Business Skills
To succeed in business, adequate business skills, business acumen, business plans and business strategies are required. Although business skills vary depending on the type of business and other factors, the basic business skills required are: Communication Skills, Planning, Productivity and other personality traits like Motivation, Enthusiasm, Leadership skills etc.
The foremost important skill for a businessman is to have good oral and written communication skills. And here, we mean, business communication skill as it is required to interact with customers and clients. The skill is broad and covers a wide range of topics like interacting via emails, phones etc. Written communication may include contacting via email, making proposals, memorandums, sending notices etc. while oral communication includes contacting by phones, video conferencing, face to face interaction etc. The communication is further of formal and informal type.
In today’s world of social media, it is important to know the informal ways of communication as well, for example, one may need to interact with a remotely located client via chat messenger. And when we are in face to face interaction with the clients and customers, behavioural traits, tone, mannerism, non-verbal communication etc. play important roles.
Apart from this, selling, marketing and presentation skills come also under this skill type. One may need to conduct business meetings that involve presenting the business models, progress and analysis reports etc. Group discussion skills are very essential in such meetings. Also, one requires to negotiate on prices, so good negotiation skills are beneficial to get a cost effective business.
Before execution there should be a plan, then only it gets successful. Planning is a frequent process and not a onetime task. Planning starts from the day the idea for setting up a business prompts in one’s mind. Business plans are prepared for the detailed execution of the business processes including the financial, distribution and marketing details also. Planning is done on project to project basis also or even for a single day.
Planning has wide perspectives, actually consisting of financial management, strategic management and risk management skills as well. Financing according to the budget is always good for business, a good strategy leads to a better output and the plan ignoring the likely risks can be a failure. Strategy also includes staffing and recruitment of employees in business.
Inputs would surely lead to some or the other outputs in a business but how far the outputs are beneficial for the business. How profitable these outputs have been? To deal with such questions, one needs to increase the productivity keeping in account the quantitative aspects. A better manageable product would surely lead to better results.
Management of various operations include time management as the most critical factor. For example, being on time for meetings saves others’ time and leads to finishing the tasks at the specified time. Increasing the skill level of employees is also an effective method of increasing productivity.
Other Personality Traits
Among the other skills required include soft skills or behavioural skills. Since these are not technical skills, these skills come from the person’s minds. It includes strong leadership skills, judgemental skills, motivational skills, creativity, problem solving, enthusiasm and passion for the job. These skills may be inherited or can be acquired with practice and experience.
3. Functional Areas of Business
A business firm is organised into different departments that deal with specific functions required to run a business. Different types of functionalities in a business include: Sales & Marketing, Finance, Human Resource, Research and Development, Production and Operations, Customer Services and IT & Support.
Sales & Marketing
Sales and marketing though look similar but actually are different in business perspective. While sale deals with selling the goods and services in return for money, marketing involves selling and providing after sales services as well. The department of Sales and marketing management in a business involves advertising, social media marketing, promotional activities etc. both via online and offline mode.
Finance is the area dealing with managing the money of a business firm. The finance department is responsible for providing funds for project investments according to the budget. It also includes financial risk management where risks associated with investing the money are taken into account.
Finance is required for all the business activities including marketing and promotional activities, staffing and recruitment, R & D services and others. Thus, managing the flow of money throughout the services of business is very essential. It also includes budget forecasting and making financial reports that help the organization to take better business decisions.
Also abbreviated as HR, it deals with recruiting, on-boarding, training, compensating and promoting the employees of a business including their performance appraisal. Human resource is the best resource for a business firm. Thus, the department managing all the activities related to employees of an organization is the human resource department. All the organizations have employee portal to manage services related to them.
Research and Development
R & D department of a business is the place where innovations, quality and research activities take place. This department is dedicated to create new products using the scientific and technical skills. The whole process of research and development proceeds in a cycle; starting from theoretical concepts, hypothesizing, designing and developing, implementing and reviewing the process. After the effectiveness study of the product, new theoretical principles are developed and the cycle goes on.
Production and Operations
This department of a business firm deals with analysing the manufacturing of products. The flow of raw materials from input to the final output is managed by this functional area of business. Production involves a number of steps and manufacturing quality products depend on a number of factors like machines and equipments used, use of good manufacturing practices, performance of employees and workers in the production area etc.
Since customers are the sources of all the business that an organization makes profit from, customer’s satisfaction from the products and services are very important. Customer services make a great impact on the business and the image of the business firm.
IT & Support
The Administrative services within an organization support functioning of all the departments of the firm. All the documentation work like making files and documents, sending mails, making power point reports, messaging by phone, fax etc. are involved in the department’s work.
4. Basic Business Structures
Business is basically of four types in terms of structure: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation and Cooperative. Depending on what suits us the most, one can choose one of the business types. The type of business one does has a big impact on profits, taxes, risks and liabilities etc. Each of the business types has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Sole Proprietorship is a business which is owned by a single person. He or she may employ others or run the business himself or herself. And he or she is liable for any of the debts incurred in the business but he or she enjoys all the profits earned from the business as he or she doesn’t have to divide them to other partners.
Partnership is a type of business which is owned by two or more than two persons. Mostly, each of the partners has unlimited liability over the debts. It is of further 3 types viz. General, Limited, and Limited Liability. The advantage of having partnership is that one can share the responsibilities with other partners and get other’s ideas on making the business succeed.
Corporation is a kind of business where there is a legal personality apart from other members of the business firm. It can be of two types; private and public. A private company may be for–profit or not-for-profit organization. The cooperation business has limited liability, means the members are less liable for the debts of the organization as they are liable only for the investments they made. The disadvantage of this business is that double taxation is paid; one by the corporation and the other by the members or shareholders.
Cooperative is that business where members of the business have authorities to make decisions and they have limited liability. The cooperative business can be of private or public type organization. The advantage of this business is that the formation of cooperative business is easy and requires few legal formalities.
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