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Competency in business encompasses many diverse topics. No one is really ready for all the differing aspects of assuming a leadership role or becoming an intrapreneur or entrepreneur. Experiential learning, along with selected formal educational courses, can often be a winning combination. It is wise to proactively learn about the aspects of business before launching a new business. Attempting to learn along the way can result in a number of unnecessary mistakes.

“Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.”

–Laurence J. Peter


Whether you’re an entrepreneur in a small business or an intrapreneur in a larger organization, one of the most important things is to know your limits of competency. A great deal of expertise in numerous areas is required to legally, efficiently, and successfully run any type of business. Passion goes a long way, but business-related ignorance can produce a plethora of problems. Many intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs aren’t sure when and how to get help.

Schreiner (2016) describes business competency as a set of skills that allow for success in the world of business. Without these skills, leaders and/or business owners may find their experience more difficult than it needs to be. Schreiner (2016) says some competencies are innate, whereas others can be learned or developed with a concerted effort and provides the following list of five suggested areas of competency for business owners or leaders (Schreiner, 2016):

  • Organizational comprehension: Understanding the structure and hierarchy within and around the chosen business environment is crucial.

  • Financial understanding: Because the true nature of business is about making money, financial acumen is vital for sustainability.

  • Management skills: Communication, relationship skills, and leadership skills are essential for success.

  • Technical competencies: One example is being proficient in information technology, which is pervasive in today’s world.

  • Personal characteristics: Rejection is common in business. Charisma, self-confidence, and high self-esteem can enhance resilience in the face of this rejection.

All business leaders must know their strengths, identify what they are good at, and focus on what they like to do. Ultimately, all other business-related tasks can be insourced (that is, delegated to someone else in the organization) or outsourced (sent to outside professionals).

  • Insourcing: Insourcing works best when you build an in-house team of committed experts. When their incentives are aligned, these individuals can share a similar passion and overall vision for work.

  • Outsourcing: Some business ventures may require outsourcing, or collecting a team of external professionals with specific expertise who can be retained for specific situations in which their type of expertise is necessary.

Often, large organizations are filled with employees with untapped expertise. For effective teamwork, you must get to know co-workers to identify strengths and potentially gain access to their network of resources.


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