Just take a look at the structure of any medium or large commercial organisation and it will offer insights into some of the skill sets that you will need to acquire or buy if you want to successfully manager your online business.
The CEO or Chief Executive Officer in a larger organization is the head of the organization.
They generally set the strategy and direction for the organization, represent the organization in the external environment and hold the ultimate responsibility for organizational performance.
Under the CEO there are a number of specialized functional areas that support the organization. They generally include functions like Marketing, Sales (and no they are not the same thing!), Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, ICT (Information and Communication Technology), Business Support or Administration and finally, Operations where the goods or services offered by the organization are actually produced.
It is unlikely that you will have a business structure like this one when you
start your business.
Your organizational structure is more likely to have only one or two boxes on
it, representing you and your partner (if you have one).
If you are a technician (i.e., a plumber, or a hairdresser, or a business
consultant etc) you will probably be focused on the roles performed by the CEO
and Operations Manager in our 'typical organization'.
But that doesn't mean that you can avoid doing the tasks normally done by the
Marketing Manager, the Sales Manager, the Finance Manager, the ICT Manager, or
the Business Support Manager.
Unless you are an employer you can probably get away with not doing the tasks
generally done by a Human Resources Manager, but if your business is going to
succeed all of the other functions need to be done by someone. These functional areas are described as 'specialized' for a reason. In a
larger organization, people with extensive experience, and more often than not,
discipline specific qualifications manage these functions.
For example, I am a Finance Manager for a large organization. To win that
job, I had to have post graduate qualifications in accounting and business
management. I was also required to demonstrate that I had relevant 'hands on'
Can you, as an entrepreneurial small business owner, develop the same level
of knowledge, skill and experience over night?
Of Course Not: It Takes Time and Practice To Acquire the Necessary Business Management Skills
It took me at least ten years of university level study to get where I am,
and the same would apply for the Marketing and Communication Manager, ICT
Manager and Human Resource Manager in the organization that I work for. But
would-be entrepreneurs do have some other options.
If you do not possess all of the small business management skills you will
need to start your online business, you could improve your own skills in these
areas by doing a course on small business management skills, or you could buy in
the skills you need but don't have.
You still have to be the 'head' or CEO of your small business. You cannot outsource developing a business direction and strategy. You are,
and should be, the public face of your business, and you will be ultimately
responsible for your businesses performance.
You should also be the one determining the 'what', 'how' and 'who' of your
marketing strategy, but you may be able to hire in skills to implement your