CPD tips – Top 10 skills you need to start your own business

CPD tips – Top 10 skills you need to start your own business

15 Mar 2024

CPD News Team

News & updates from CPD News Team

View Profile

Starting a business can be an exciting path towards financial independence and personal fulfilment. By focusing on the essential skills required, this article identifies the benefits and challenges for start-up success. It is designed for those aspiring to run their own business and outlines how Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can help to launch and grow a successful one.

The benefits of starting a business

Running your own business offers many benefits, ranging from the freedom to be your own boss to the pursuit of financial independence. Below are some of the main advantages that motivate individuals to embark on an entrepreneurial journey.


Running your own business offers a level of freedom and flexibility not always found in traditional employment. This allows you to set your own schedule, make decisions that directly influence a company's direction, and potentially work from anywhere. This autonomy can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.

Be Your Own Boss

As your own boss, you have the authority to shape the business according to your vision and values. This means having the final say in decisions, from strategic direction to the day-to-day operations. It offers a unique opportunity to implement ideas and enjoy the accomplishment of seeing them come to fruition.

Follow Your Passions

Entrepreneurship enables you to turn your passion into your livelihood. Building a business around something you're passionate about not only makes the work more enjoyable and meaningful, but often leads to greater innovation and dedication. When you're passionate about your work, it can drive you to overcome challenges and achieve success.

Financial Independence

Unlike the fixed income associated with traditional employment, running a business offers the potential for earnings based on the success and growth of the enterprise. This financial advantage enables business owners to reap the benefits of their hard work and innovation directly - offering not only a stable income but also the opportunity for wealth creation.

Challenges of running your own business

Running your own business is not without its challenges. From mastering business marketing to understanding the operational skills needed to run a business successfully, entrepreneurs must navigate a complex landscape. Below are some of the core challenges individuals face when starting a business.

Diverse Skillset Requirement

Running a business demands an agile mindset, especially in the early stages when you may not have the resources to hire specialists or staff. It involves dealing with multiple tasks and challenges - sometimes simultaneously. This can be overwhelming and requires quick learning and adaptability. The breadth of skills needed not only encompasses technical abilities relevant to your product or service but also transferable skills like leadership, communication, and critical thinking.

Financial Risk

Starting and running a business can involve significant financial risk. There's the initial investment to get the business off the ground, followed by ongoing expenses. Cash flow can be uncertain, especially in the beginning or during economic downturns. Managing this financial risk requires planning, budgeting, and sometimes the courage to make tough decisions to keep the business viable.


Entrepreneurship can be lonely. Without the built-in network of colleagues that comes with traditional employment, you may find yourself working long hours in isolation. Building a support network of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, and advisors is crucial for navigating this journey.

Balancing Work and Life

With the freedom of running a business comes the challenge of setting boundaries between work and personal life. The business can consume your thoughts and time, making it difficult to disconnect and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Establishing clear boundaries and prioritising self-care are essential to prevent burnout.

Top 10 skills you need to have your own successful business

To run a successful business, small business owners are required to fulfil many roles - especially when starting out. It is therefore important to cultivate a broad range of knowledge and skills. Here are the top 10 skills you need to know when starting a business.

1. Time Management

Effective time management is crucial for anyone looking to run their own business successfully. Balancing the various tasks of daily operations requires precision and foresight, skills every small business owner must develop.

This involves prioritising tasks, setting clear objectives, and fostering a harmonious work-life balance. Mastering time management ensures that business goals are met, but also carves out time for personal endeavours. It's about making astute decisions on how to allocate your time across various activities, ensuring that critical tasks are given the priority they deserve.

2. Small businesses marketing

Understanding small business marketing and identifying the most effective ways to engage an audience are fundamental. Marketing proficiency encompasses a broad spectrum of activities including market research, brand development, digital marketing strategies, and honing communication skills.

These capabilities are fundamental in establishing a market presence, enticing customers, and cultivating brand loyalty. It's the process of reaching out to potential customers and maintaining a dialogue that resonates with their needs and preferences.

3. Leadership

Leadership is all about inspiring those around you towards a common goal. Effective leadership entails guiding team members to fulfil the business's objectives, nurturing a constructive workplace culture, and navigating conflicts. A good leader embodies the vision of the business and communicates this in a way that motivates others, driving team cohesion and productivity.

4. Negotiation

Negotiation is a critical skill in business operations, from closing contracts to finalising terms with suppliers. Proficiency in negotiation can result in significant cost savings and more advantageous business terms. It involves a delicate balance of assertiveness and empathy, understanding the needs and constraints of both parties, and creating agreements that are beneficial to all involved.

5. Networking

Developing a strong network is invaluable for anyone starting a business. Networking opens doors to potential partnerships, sales leads, and valuable industry insights. It involves forging relationships that boost your business's growth trajectory, opening up new opportunities and resources.

6. Financial Skills

A firm grasp of financial fundamentals, such as understanding financial statements, budgeting, and financial forecasting, is vital for the sustainability of your business. These skills enable informed decision-making, efficient cash flow management, and strategic planning for future expansion.

7. Problem Solving

Encountering challenges is an inevitable part of business. Problem-solving skills are essential for identifying issues, evaluating potential solutions, and executing strategies to overcome obstacles. This skill set requires a blend of creativity, critical thinking, and resilience, enabling you to navigate through difficulties and emerge stronger.

8. Analytical Skills

The capability to analyse data, discern patterns, and make decisions grounded in evidence is invaluable. Analytical skills are key to assessing the impact of marketing initiatives, understanding customer behaviours, and refining business processes. It means extracting meaningful insights that can drive strategic decisions and enhance operational efficiency.

9. Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is about setting long-term objectives and charting a course to achieve them. It involves a holistic view of the business landscape, recognising market trends, and strategically positioning your business for sustained growth. This skill is about foresight, adaptability, and aligning business efforts with your overarching goals.

10. Customer Service

Outstanding customer service distinguishes your business in a competitive marketplace. It encompasses understanding your customers' needs, delivering quality products or services, and addressing complaints with grace. Exceptional customer service not only resolves immediate issues but also builds lasting relationships, fostering customer loyalty and advocacy.

CPD cost effective for small businesses

How can CPD help when you start a business?

Starting and growing a business is continuous and evolving. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can be the fundamental basis for entrepreneurs looking to develop their venture. A commitment to CPD can be cost effective for small businesses and allows start-ups to enhance their strategic, operational, and leadership capacities.

Bridging Skill Gaps

CPD programmes are designed to bridge the gap between an existing skill set and the dynamic demands of the entrepreneurial world. Whether it's mastering digital marketing strategies, understanding financial management, or honing negotiation skills, CPD offers a structured pathway to achieving proficiency in areas critical to business success.

Adaptability and Innovation

Running a successful business requires constant change and the need for innovation. CPD encourages a mindset of lifelong learning, equipping you with the tools to stay ahead of industry trends, adapt to new market conditions, and foster a culture of innovation within your business.

Networking and Collaboration

CPD courses and events are invaluable platforms for networking with fellow entrepreneurs, industry experts, and potential mentors. These connections can provide you with insights, partnerships, and opportunities that are pivotal for business growth and expansion.

Customised Learning Paths 

Recognising that each entrepreneur's journey is unique, CPD provides a variety of learning formats, from online courses and webinars to in-person workshops and seminars. This flexibility allows you to tailor your learning experience to fit your schedule, preferences, and specific business needs.

Measuring Success and Growth

CPD not only focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and skills but also emphasises the importance of tracking progress and outcomes. By setting clear learning objectives and reflecting on the impact of CPD on your business, you can measure success and identify areas for further growth and development.

In short, Continuing Professional Development is an indispensable resource for individuals starting a business. By committing to CPD, you ensure that you and your business are well-equipped to face the challenges of starting a business, seize opportunities for growth, and achieve long-term success.


Starting your own business offers both profound freedom and significant challenges. It offers the opportunity to pursue one’s passions, make autonomous decisions, and shape a business from the ground up, promising a deeply rewarding personal and professional experience. Yet this path demands a versatile skillset, resilience against financial and operational pressures, and the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

In essence, starting a successful business hinges on a blend of passion, adaptability, and lifelong learning. By embracing these core elements, aspiring business owners can navigate the complexities of their venture, turning obstacles into steps towards achieving their vision.

Where to find CPD Courses for growing your business

If you are interested in undertaking CPD to develop the skills and knowledge needed to start your own business, please visit the CPD Courses Catalogue. Here you will find thousands of accredited courses and events from across all industries and learning types, which would be beneficial to help you grow a successful business.

All the certified training has been reviewed and recognised as meeting the required industry standards and benchmarks. To find out more about a particular CPD course listed on our website, you can complete an enquiry form and the details will be sent directly to the relevant CPD provider.

How to become an accredited CPD provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses, workshops, eLearning or educational events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please visit the Become a CPD Provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

Related Articles

CPD News Team

For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Want to learn more?

View Profile

Get industry-related content straight to your inbox

By signing up to our site you are agreeing to our privacy policy