9 skills you need to succeed in business

Whether you fancy yourself as the next big thing in business, are looking to boost your career, or want to start a new venture - in this post you’ll find the skills you need for succeeding in business, and courses to help you learn them.

Whether you fancy yourself as the next big thing in business, are looking to boost your career or want to start a new venture, in this post you’ll find the skills you need for succeeding in business, and courses to help you learn them.

 9 key business skills FutureLearn

1. Goal-setting

Let’s start with the basics, if you’re starting a business you need to know what you want to achieve. Is it selling 1,000 pairs of shoes? Opening a bistro? Beating your number one competitor? You need to know how to set a feasible goal. This goal can be critical in helping steer your business as it grows so it needs to be sensible but ambitious.

Learn how to set goals effectively with Starting a Business 1: Vision and Opportunity.

2. Self-promotion

Knowing how to promote yourself is crucial for your career, but mastering how to do it without sounding too modest or too arrogant is no easy task. Almost nobody likes talking about themselves.

Learn the art of self-promotion with:
How to Succeed at: Writing Applications
How to Succeed at: Interviews
Net that Job: How to Write a CV Online.

3. Literacy

Sometimes talking the talk is exactly what you need to do. The English language is used in workplaces and organisations all over the world – communicating clearly and carefully is vital to projects running smoothly and building international relationships. And if those things weren’t enough, sometimes you simply can’t afford poor English skills – you don’t want to run up international phone bills repeating things.

Get your English skills up to scratch with English for the Workplace.

4. Numeracy

Whether it’s wrestling with Excel or balancing the books, having an eye for numbers can come in useful in lots of different ways. You don’t need to speak fluent algebra to succeed in business, but having an appreciation of things like percentages, ratios and averages – how to interpret data and understand statistics – will be invaluable.

Improve your numeracy with Numeracy Skills for Employability and the Workplace.

5. Legal 

A working knowledge of basic law can help you resolve conflicts, improve your analytical thinking and avoid hefty legal bills – your boss and your bank balance will thank you.

Understand the basics of law with Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law.

6. Project Management

One of the most valuable skills in any career is knowing how to manage your workload; effective project management can save you time, stress and money.

Learn the basics with Business Fundamentals: Project Management

7. Brand Development

What is it that sets you or your business apart? What do you stand for? What tone of voice do you use when speaking to customers? These are all questions you need good answers for if you want to have a memorable brand, and a successful business.

Find your answers with The Secret Power of Brands.

8. Industry Awareness

If you’re going to stand out, you need to know what you’re standing out from, this means understanding your company, marketplace, industry – or all three.

Learn about the some of the innovators of the moment with Innovation: the World’s Greatest.

9. Networking

Forming solid relationships with other professionals and entrepreneurs can help you in all sorts of ways, whether it’s having someone to turn to for advice or a useful contact to help you get a foot in the door.

Discover how to network well with: 
Business Fundamentals: Effective Networking
Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business.

Looking for more ways to succeed in business? Check out all of our Business & Management courses.

Category Business

Comments (10)


  • Dilen By

    I went through these articles. These are very interesting and useful. It is pretty good for me to know about these. Thanks to the organizers.


  • mohamaf


  • Davidson Ogbodo

    Great! I am already attending it

  • Huang Feng

    l am eager for learning the course,for me who come from a small poor village at china ,and didn’t know anything about that before.

  • Elias Muhumuza

    Good package indeed. I will give it a try. I really need these skills as they are all important in business.

  • Tauseef Farooq

    I am from Canad and would like to join the program; as I strong;y believe that strong skills lead you to success!

  • Denver Fransman

    Hi i would like to know if this is a free online course also,because i am really interested in this 9 skills you need to succeed in business.

    • FutureLearn

      Hi Denver,

      It is free to join and study any FutureLearn course. At the end of the course, learners are offered the opportunity to purchase a certificate. The price includes both a digital and printed version, and VAT or local sales tax. Purchasing one is optional. More information on these can be found in our FAQ here: https://about.futurelearn.com/about/faq/?category=certificates-and-statements

      Best wishes,
      FutureLearn team

  • Adam Yusuf Ali

    Great package

  • Anne Okwuchi Ujomu

    Wow! Great findings!