What Does a Business Manager Do? With Step Guide and Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Business managers are vital in helping a business reach its key developmental targets. If you're looking for leadership responsibilities you may find a lucrative career in this role. Understanding what a business manager does can help you decide whether you want to be a business manager and develop the necessary skills and experience to become one. In this article, we discuss what a business manager does, explore the different types of business managers, list steps on how to become one, discuss the necessary skills and provide the average salary of this profession.

What does a business manager do?

To answer the question 'What does a business manager do?', it's important to assess their key duties. A business manager takes primary responsibility for a company's operations, such as overseeing a team or larger department to track progress and ensure they meet deadlines, complete all tasks in projects and work to hit overall company targets. Business managers also take responsibility for identifying new business opportunities that can help them meet their business goals faster. They ensure that a company is making smart financial and strategic decisions that work to achieve its overall objectives.

Depending on the type of business managers, they perform various duties within a workday, including the following:

  • conducting one-to-one sessions with their team members

  • training new staff and consulting on redundancy processes

  • mentoring their colleagues and providing feedback

  • generating new business strategies with senior leadership

  • preparing sales and projection reports

  • working with senior leadership to work on products and services

  • lead projects and work to implement customer service feedback

Related: What Is a Business Development Manager? (With Skills)

Types of business managers

Depending on the department, there are many types of business managers. There may be several business managers within a single business that take ownership of their departmental operations and relevant teams as follows:

  • Sales: Sales managers assess the business's current success and areas of improvement in a sales department by analysing how many clients and income streams they have.

  • Operations: These professionals take ownership of recruitment processes and improve the overall functions within a business.

  • Marketing: Marketing business managers ensure that their department promotes the business positively, by leading advertising campaigns and conducting market research to inform new products and services.

  • Office: These managers oversee the overall productivity within an office environment, ensuring that all employees complete the necessary administrative tasks and remain efficient while at work.

Related: How to Become an Operations Manager (with Skills and Salary)

How to become a business manager

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a business manager:

1. Gain a degree

When considering a career as a business manager, it's important to gain the relevant credentials to ensure you possess knowledge and understanding of useful business theories. To do this, consider gaining a qualification, such as an undergraduate degree in business or a relevant subject, to gain a comprehensive understanding of business strategy, contracting and business management. Business degrees typically cover topics in customer service, operations, IT, policy-making and marketing, which are crucial to becoming a successful business manager. Gaining a qualification can also demonstrate expertise and make you a more valuable candidate in the recruitment process.

Related: 15 Common Business Degrees to Consider for a Business Career

2. Apply for entry-level roles

Business managers can work their way to more senior management roles to gain a well-rounded knowledge of multiple departments and company operations. Entry-level project roles can provide you with a good understanding of business operations and how to execute tasks directed at company development. Gaining experience in entry-level positions can provide you with opportunities to work across multiple departments and directly with senior leadership figures, which can speed up your professional development. As business management is a mid-level to a senior role, hiring managers are likely to expect relatively extensive experience in a business role before considering your application.

3. Find a business mentor

While working in an entry-level position, consider finding a professional business mentor. Mentoring is a good way to receive more in-depth feedback about your performance and learn valuable business knowledge that could make you a competitive candidate for a managerial role. Mentoring is a good opportunity to expand your professional knowledge and understand the demands of a senior position. Getting to know a mentor on a personal and professional level can also help you form more positive working relationships and foster a healthy professional environment by promoting collaborative working.

4. Find leadership opportunities

Once you have built up a positive reputation as a reliable employee, consider searching for leadership opportunities in the current business or beyond. Mid-level leadership opportunities can help you understand the basics of team management and provide you with more experience in managing multiple workloads, meeting project deadlines, delivering feedback and conducting performance reviews. This may also be a necessary step to becoming a business manager later on in your career, as hiring managers may expect a specific number of years of experience in a junior leadership role.

5. Apply for business manager roles

Once you have gained the necessary experience, you can now search for managerial roles. If there is a managerial opening at your current employer, ensure you express formal interest and speak about your aspirations and how your experience and talents make you a suitable candidate for the position.

When interviewing for or discussing the role, consider mentioning how your experience has made a difference to the business, as this could increase your chances of success. You may discuss how you could benefit the business in a managerial role by discussing any growth opportunities or ideas that could help the business meet its key development targets.

Business manager skills

Business managers require a combination of hard and soft skills to perform their work. Here is an explanation and list of both hard and soft skills:

Hard skills

Hard skills refer to industry-specific skills that are the hiring manager's typical minimum expectation for business management candidates:

  • Financial management: Depending on the type of business manager, they make take accountability for a large portion of the company's finances, including the buying and sales process. Good financial management skills ensure that managers make smarter financial decisions and ensure that their company has a good cash flow.

  • Negotiation: These professionals may negotiate business deals when acquiring new business opportunities. Negotiations skills mean business managers can find better deals that meet their business goals.

  • Strategic thinking: Managers may occasionally reassess their business model if they find new income opportunities. Strategic thinking skills can help them come up with viable business strategies that help them meet their long-term development goals.

  • Customer service: Business managers may interact regularly with customers to gain a better understanding of how a business can improve its products and services. Customer service skills enable them to absorb concerns or enquiries and effectively address them.

  • Public speaking: These professionals may take part in large company-wide conferences and give regular presentations to team members before or after projects. Confident public speaking skills allow them to remain professional under pressure and hold a crowd's attention for extended periods of time.

  • Project management: Business managers can lead a project management process when releasing new products or services. They oversee the planning, production, feedback and release stages and ensure that team members meet all deadlines.

Soft skills

Soft skills refer to general employability skills that support business managers when interacting with customers, colleagues and working with teams to generate new business strategies:

  • Communication: Business managers communicate with different professionals in their everyday tasks, meaning that excellent communication skills can help them effectively deliver feedback, guide their team, delegate tasks and work with senior leadership teams on new business strategies.

  • Attention to detail: Depending on the type of business manager, these professionals may identify areas of improvement in sales and monthly profits to help the business progress. These professionals use attention to detail to ensure they can identify trends and patterns that can inform their business strategies.

  • Collaborative working: Business managers work with different teams across a company to manage overall operations. This means they require comprehensive collaboration skills to increase productivity, give feedback and form positive working relationships with their colleagues.

  • Time management: Good time management skills ensure that business managers can fulfil all their tasks in a working day. Business managers take ownership of many responsibilities, such as team leadership, project management and managing the operations of a business, meaning that time-management skills enable them to complete these tasks efficiently.

  • Leadership: Managers primarily take on leadership responsibilities in their role. They do this by delegating tasks, overseeing project progress, working with senior leadership teams to establish new business goals and may conduct performance reviews of their team.

Related: What is Business Development?

Business manager salary

The national average salary of a business manager is $114,405 per year. Depending on the success and profit of the business they manage, this figure can also vary significantly. Business manager salaries can also vary based on location.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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