Merchant Must-Have Skills
to Keep the Business Afloat

See also: What Sort of Leader are You?

Starting a merchant business is one thing, but keeping the business afloat is another. Just like any other business, you need to possess the right skills when running a business for it to not only remain afloat but also to succeed.

Some of these skills, such as soft skills, comprise our personal behaviors that make it easy for us to engage and interact with other people. In a merchant business, it means communicating effectively and working and interacting with advisors, teammates, vendors, and clients without any problems.

These skills are essential not only in the merchant business but also in any other business setting. They make it possible for one to listen better, deliver desirable results, be persuasive, and work hard.

Here are some of the merchant must-have skills that are needed to keep a business afloat:

Businessmen shaking hands.


Running a merchant business requires strong leadership skills. Being the business owner or manager, you need to be and act as the leader to show your juniors the way and direct them towards achieving the business goals.

Being a leader comes with a higher paycheck as well as prestige. This means that it is one of the most attractive merchant skills anyone in the merchant business can possess. Unfortunately, most people do not know that leadership involves more than just what they think.

Leaders need to provide the best workflows possible for their businesses. They also need to set an example to their juniors and get involved in the day-to-day running of the business. Without leadership skills, your merchant business is going to fail.

Problem Solving

Any business, including a merchant business, is going to run into problems from time to time. Sometimes, some of these problems are not even expected. Possessing problem-solving skills is vital in helping your merchant business remain afloat.

Being good at problem-solving requires one to first accept that there is a problem and then find the right solutions that can produce the best positive outcome. Sometimes, some of these solutions might not help, requiring merchants to think outside the box for better solutions.

Fortunately, a good problem solver does not have to be a visionary person. All you need to do is to be able to eye different challenges and consult your teammates and stakeholders outside your team to come up with an effective solution.

Time Management

Time management is a crucial skill when it comes to the productivity of a merchant business. If you can manage time effectively, then you will find it easy to efficiently complete tasks and meet your deadlines.

This is vital in keeping a merchant business afloat. The best time managers in businesses employ a proactive approach when running their business operations. This helps them identify the processes that consume unnecessary time.

For instance, you might find that an element of your operations is consuming more time than it is supposed to. When this happens, you can offer a solution or consult with your teammates to build a better solution that saves time.

Chargeback Management

A merchant business deals with customers from different places across the globe. This means that the most preferred modes of payment are online transfers as well as credit/debit card transfers.

However, did you know that reports indicate that chargeback costs might hit the $117 billion mark by 2023? Merchants might find themselves spending close to $3 for every $1 that is lost through chargebacks. This is a lot of money that can drain a business.

Fortunately, chargebacks can be managed. Merchants need to ensure that they have chargeback management skills. These skills are vital when implementing strategies to help solve problems caused by chargebacks.

Team Building

A good team is not composed of people with the most experience or the sharpest skills. This is a mistake most merchants make. Instead, it is composed of people whose strengths complement each other.

A strong team is going to work efficiently together when there is a purpose behind its motivation. You, therefore, need to possess team-building skills for you to assemble the best team for your merchant business.

In addition, you need to be able to look at different members of your team and nurture the talents that might help grow your business. This is going to keep your merchant business afloat.


The benefits of effective communication in a merchant business cannot be measured. To start with, effective communication helps merchants get clients, connect with their teammates, and articulate the goals that they want to meet.

Your body language, the grammar you use, and your speaking style are very vital when it comes to creating a positive impression for your merchant business. They also affect your message’s efficacy and relationship with key stakeholders.

Communication skills do not revolve around speaking and relationships only. Writing is also an important aspect of strengthening communication in your merchant business. You need good communication skills when it comes to writing financial reports, project proposals, and business plans.


Flexibility is an important skill for those running merchant businesses. This is because of the changing nature of the businesses, especially those operating in different parts of the globe or serving clients in different parts of the world.

In addition to flexibility, merchants need to be agile and adaptable. The three are cousins that work together. You need these skills to make sure that your business remains flexible to any changes that might negatively affect its operations.

In addition, flexibility helps merchants adapt to different teams and business dynamics. For instance, you are going to hire new people or appoint a new manager. If these people come with different operational techniques, you need to be flexible to adapt to the changes.


Collaboration helps nurture each person’s idea and make every team member feel like an appreciated and involved part of a business. However, not every other person possesses collaboration skills.

For your merchant business to remain afloat, you need to be able to identify the best collaborative tools that you can use with the members of your team. In addition, these tools should support the operations of your business.

You also need to make sure that you have set a positive tone when criticizing ideas. For instance, why not start with the positive side of an idea instead of just saying no? All ideas need to be discussed with the team before implementation.

Possessing the skills discussed above is going to help you keep your merchant business afloat. Even though you do not have to possess all of them, try to work towards being conversant with most of them.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.

About the Author

Cristina Par is a content specialist with a passion for writing articles that bridge the gap between brands and their audiences. She believes that high-quality content plus the right link building strategies can turn the tables for businesses small and large.