Skills Needed to Excel in the Business World

See also: Avoiding Common Financial Mistakes in Business

Looking to excel in the business world? Whether you have plans to start your own business or climb the corporate ladder, it is certainly not an easy world to excel in, and it will require a wide range of skills and attributes. Many of these skills and attributes are ones that some people seem to possess naturally, and this will certainly put them in a good position. But fear not if you do not possess these skills and attributes because they can be learned and developed over time.

With this in mind, here are the main skills and attributes that are needed to excel in the world of business.

Communication Skills

It is very hard to get ahead, climb the ladder and build relationships in business without excellent communication skills. Good communication skills are not just about being able to speak your thoughts and give presentations, though, as they also involve listening to others, building relationships, understanding people, and reading the room. It is true that some people are naturally better communicators than others, but it is possible to improve different aspects of your communication and interpersonal skills. This can be achieved with your own research, courses and qualifications and, vitally, a lot of practice. Additionally, online MBA programs can help to develop the communication skills needed to excel in business.

Managerial and Leadership Skills

Managerial and leadership skills are essential if you want to reach the top in the business world. Whether you want to start your own business or reach a managerial position, you need to know how to lead and manage a team of people effectively. Online MBA programs will be the best way to develop these skills as online MBA programs will develop the specific managerial and leadership skills that are required for success in a business setting.

Online MBA programs can also be completed entirely online, which means that, hopefully, it will be easier to fit into your schedule if you are working or starting a new business. Online MBA programs can also help bolster your resume and help develop your confidence, so they are certainly worthwhile.

Strategic Skills

Leading on from this, it is also vital that anyone looking to excel in the business world is able to develop and execute corporate strategy. Clearly, this is not the type of skill that people will naturally possess, but it is something that is developed with online MBA programs, and this is just one other reason why online MBA programs are so worthwhile for aspiring entrepreneurs, business leaders, and executives.


Leading on from this, you must also have self-confidence in order to find success in the business world. When you are confident, you will naturally be a better communicator, be able to build relationships, and develop trust. On top of this, when you are confident, you will be more willing to take chances, stand out from the crowd and seek new opportunities. But, crucially, you need to avoid being arrogant as this can be even more damaging than having low self-confidence, so you need to find the right balance. Improving self-confidence is tough and something that many people aspire to and, although it can be tough, it is possible, and this will enrich many other aspects of your life too.

Work Ethic

While there are some people that seem to coast by and fall upwards, for the vast majority, you need to have a stronger-than-average work ethic. A strong work ethic will allow you to excel in your role, make you a valuable asset to any company and demonstrate your commitment to your work. Those in higher positions will always look out for those that have a strong work ethic as opposed to those that seem to coast on their natural abilities as many skills and abilities can be developed, but it can be hard to find someone with an above-average work ethic. This does mean that it is hard to develop a hard work ethic, but you should be able to find out how to motivate yourself, set yourself regular goals, and find inspiration. While you need to have a strong work ethic, you must also know when to take a break and how to look after yourself to prevent burnout.

Independence and Initiative

Those that stand out and climb the ladder are the ones that show independence in the workplace and are able to work without supervision. On the other hand, if you constantly need guidance, support, and supervision in your daily roles, it shows a lack of confidence and/or understanding that will make it very hard to succeed in higher positions. Similarly, showing initiative is helpful as it shows that you have a strong understanding of the business, you possess leadership skills and the self-confidence that is needed to make the big decisions.

Willingness to Step Out of Comfort Zone

Following on from this, you also need to have a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, and this is also one of the best ways to develop your self-confidence. Growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone, and things will rarely change if you do not take the occasional risk. As an example, there might be a position that opens up at a different company, but if you are not willing to step out of your comfort zone, then you will be holding yourself back and not capitalising on the opportunity when it presents itself (which is not often).


It is a long journey to the top, which means that those that are impatient often struggle and end up making decisions that stunt their progress. For example, you might dream of the flash car and huge house, but this does not happen quickly, and instead, you need to be patient, understand that it is a journey and focus on the now while keeping an eye on the future. It is helpful to map out your journey to your end goal and then break this down into much smaller goals so that you can constantly be moving in the right direction while keeping yourself motivated and happy with your progress.


It can be cut-throat in the business world, and this is why it is important that you are resilient. At times in your career, you are likely to be shouted at, double-crossed, and rejected, and this is all, unfortunately, part of the game. This is why you need to develop resilience and understand that it is hard to rise to the top in the business world, people are competitive, and sometimes people will play dirty to win. The key is to not take things too personally and instead simply focus on yourself and make sure that you can develop, improve, and see the big picture.

Ability to See the Big Picture

Leading on from this, you must all be able to see the big picture when it comes to business if you want to rise to leadership roles. When people can only see the company through their role, it severely limits their scope, whereas those that can see how their role is a small part of a larger wheel will show that you can strategise and see the larger implications. Typically, this is something that is developed with online MBA programs, but you can also educate yourself on how businesses work and how each cog is an important part of a larger wheel, and how each most operate efficiently in order to find business success.

Time Management

Those that have good time management skills will be able to excel in their own role, take on additional responsibilities and also manage their time off effectively. When you start to climb the corporate ladder, you will begin to find that time management becomes increasingly important as you will have greater and more time-consuming responsibilities. Therefore, you need to be able to break everything down, prioritise your workload and ensure that each task is completed to the best of your ability. It is also important to make the most out of your free time in order to reduce stress and look after your overall wellbeing.

Stress Management

Speaking of stress, it is hugely important that you have good stress management skills if you are to exceed in the business world. The business world can be incredibly fast-paced, cut-throat, and stressful, but too much stress can impact your performance as well as your physical and mental health. So, how can you lower stress when you have a stressful and time-consuming job? There are many effective ways to do this, including:

  1. Meditation
  2. Yoga
  3. Hobbies
  4. Exercise
  5. Socialising
  6. Getting sufficient sleep

Financial Management

You will never make it in the business world if you are not good with money, as this is something that every entrepreneur or manager needs in order to find success. Ultimately, success in business is about making as much money as possible, so you need to have good financial management skills that will help you to help the company to make as much money as possible. On top of this, you also need to be able to look after your own finances so that you can build and maintain an enjoyable and relaxing lifestyle for yourself (obviously, this becomes easier as you climb the ladder and start earning more).


Technology has always played a major role in the business world, but never more so than it does today. These days, technology can be used in just about every area of the business and be used in many different ways, whether this is automating tasks and making work easier for staff, providing new insights, reducing costs, improving the customer experience or improving the quality of the product/service that you provide. It is important to be tech-savvy so that you can find the best ways to use tech to improve your own performance, as well as identify the best ways to help the company and use the best and latest tech in your role.

World Knowledge

As a business leader, you need to look beyond your business and even industry and understand what is happening in the world at the time. Global events, the economy, consumer trends, technological developments, and culture can all have an impact on your industry and business, and those that find the highest levels of success are the ones that have a strong world knowledge and understand how it can impact the market. This means that you need to stay current with news, trends, and issues around the globe and consider the impact that these can have. For example, those who were aware of the coronavirus from an early stage and could see what was going to happen next may have been able to act early to reduce the impact felt.


Finally, you need to have ambition, and it is hard to get anywhere in life without this. Unfortunately, opportunity does not present itself too often, which means that you are the one that usually has to make the effort and find new opportunities. If you want to reach the top in the business world, you will have to carve out your own path and make opportunities for yourself. This might involve making big decisions such as leaving a business that you enjoy working at and possibly even moving to another part of the country or even the world. When you have ambition, you will be driven to succeed, and this will always help you to get ahead and stand out from the crowd.

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.

Hopefully, this article will help anyone with aspirations of excelling in the business world to develop the skills and attributes needed to succeed. Sometimes this will involve large steps like taking online MBA programs, but sometimes it is smaller steps simply like making sure that you are managing your stress effectively. Additionally, do not worry too much if you do not possess many of these skills, as they are all things that can be developed over time.

About the Author

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.