4 SMART Skills You Need to Take Your Career to the Next Level

By David S. Chang

Photo – CC0 License

There will come a time when you are ready to take your career to the next level. It takes more than just a desire to progress forward onto bigger and better things, you need to also have the necessary skills. Here are SMART tips that can help you take the next step in your career.

SMART Education and Training

One big factor that could be holding you back in your search for a better job is your lack of education or training. Every year new courses are released with up to date information and evolved learning techniques. So if the last time you went to school was over 10 years ago, then you have to make an effort to catch up with the times.

By studying online, for example, you can obtain additional qualifications while still working. This enables you to maintain your income and prevents you from having to take time off in order to study. From medical assisting test prep to online prep classes for the Bar exam; there are endless study options available. By finding the right course and provider, you can begin modifying your career path straight away.

The benefits can help you find new opportunities. Whether you decide to set your sights on a degree or a specific training course that you can take over at Sustained Agility, each choice will provide you with the platform that you need to start moving forward in your career. You may even request new training at your current job, as your boss may be willing to offer courses to encourage staff to stay in-house. 


Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Nothing can have such a positive effect on your reputation than having a vast network. Opportunities are tied to people, so if you are looking for an opportunity, you are looking for a person.

Head out to relevant conferences, meetings, and social events to ensure that you get the chance to mingle with those who have laid the foundations of your industry, and get your name out there so that you are always the first person that comes to mind in any situation. You never know, you might just be taken under the wing of a successful entrepreneur and shown the ropes! It’s really worth the time and effort that you put in.

When networking, make sure you aren’t only focusing on what you will get out of a relationship. When joining any organization or networking event, first find out how you can add value without expecting anything in return. By genuinely focusing on helping others, people will eventually want to help you.

Time Management

Any business leader, from a new entrepreneur to seasoned CEO needs to learn how to properly manage their time. You can always get more people and get more money, but you can’t get more time. The key is to manage time so you focus on doing the high priority tasks that have the most impact.

Effective time management also means “doing the right things right.” You need to work as efficiently as possible with the time you have on the most effective tasks. Time-management apps can help, but you need to work on the skills of prioritizing different tasks, managing your day, and ensuring you stick to deadlines and appointments. No-one wants to do business with someone who cannot prioritize properly or manage their time efficiently.

Financial Skills

One of the most important roles you need as you climb the ladder is understanding business finances. This involves having the financial skills needed to analyze different investment returns and opportunity costs. While having a degree can help you better understand balance sheets and profit and loss statements, anyone can learn the basics.

A business owner must be able to manage their cash flow well. Cash flow problems are one of the top reasons businesses fail. Managing your budget and cash flow properly can mean the difference between success and failure. Even if you’re not handling the finances directly, it’s essential that you have a general idea of how it all works. Otherwise, it’s way too easy to lose track and control of your business’ finances.


These skills are different in application, but they all revolve around one thing: excellent communication. The ability to sell your business is key. But listening is just as important. You must be able to listen to your customer’s pain points and needs. Without listening to them, it’s all too easy to end up trying to sell them something they don’t want.

You have to learn how to communicate in both directions when running a business. This will help you expand your brand, help market and increase sales for your business.

Naturally, depending on the type of business you’re running, you may need to pick up a few other skills than the ones mentioned above. However, as far as the core skills of any business leader are concerned, you need to strive to master and develop these four critical skills.

David S. Chang

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Wealth Manager and CEO | Chief Editor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant ArtofThinkingSmart.com | Political Consultant | Army Officer National Guard | Living To Fulfill Needs, Solve Problems, and Live Passionately!


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