Small business management: an in-depth guide

While some food service manager positions require only a high school diploma and years of service industry experience, many positions require some level of college education. Food service managers oversee operations in establishments such as restaurants and hotels. They supervise employees, manage budgets, order supplies and ingredients, and ensure that the establishment complies with regulations.

Eisenhower Matrix time and task management

Why small business management matters so much

1. Managers have a direct impact on employee performance and productivity

2. Effective managers help businesses retain their top talent

If you expect your best employees to stick around long term, you’re going to have to, well, be a good manager. If you can do this, you’ll have a better shot at keeping talent—even if other companies try to lure them away with a bigger paycheck.

Piggybacking on the previous study, over half of all exiting employees say that their managers could have done something to encourage them to stay. The same research also notes that only 12% of companies do a good job of onboarding employees.

3. Good managers go hand in hand with positive cash flow

According to recent small business statistics, cash flow and employee retention are the top two challenges that companies face today. And if you’re managing a business, you’ll have to deal with both. After all, this is your profits we’re talking about.

Why Pursue a Career in Business Management?

Enterprises and public-sector organizations continue to need capable professionals with business management degrees. From the perspectives of opportunity and earning potential, these degrees rank among the most versatile and valuable educational credentials a person can hold.

Those well-suited to careers in business management share several distinct characteristics. Sound analytical and decision-making skills are crucial, helping good business managers make confident decisions based on available information. Commitment, integrity, creativity, and an enduring willingness to work hard also bode well for those working toward business administration and business management careers.

Business Management Career Outlook

Graduates with a business management degree may qualify for many different careers and benefit from high levels of demand in virtually every industry. Business is a highly competitive field at the management and executive levels, but the sheer volume of opportunity offsets fierce competition for top jobs. Enterprises of all sizes and types need the expertise and leadership that strong, well-trained business managers provide.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that many management-related career paths will enjoy outstanding rates of growth in the coming years. For example, the BLS projects a 14% increase in management analyst positions between 2018 and 2028, which far outpaces the average projected growth for all occupations in the U.S. The following table offers further specifics, breaking down popular business management career paths by median earnings across a professional’s career cycle.

Median Annual Salary for Business Management Careers

Job TitleEntry-Level
(0-12 months)
Early Career
(1-4 Years)
(5-9 Years)
(10-19 Years)
Business Manager$49,410$54,870$62,960$68,030
Human Resources Manager$50,570$59,290$67,824$72,656
Finance Manager$58,054$75,291$95,613$98,004
Marketing Director$45,635$58,736$82,424$102,483

Skills Gained With a Business Management Degree

While business management curricula vary by school and education level, many programs cover similar skills and concepts. Typically, business management students learn to supervise employees, direct an organization’s operations, evaluate performance, and reach organizational goals. While learners develop these skills in school, they can also hone their abilities after graduation through professional training programs and certifications. Below are some key business management skills.

Through programs in business administration and management, future managers develop the leadership skills they need to run departments and oversee teams. They study common leadership strategies and develop a unique leadership style. Business management programs teach students to set organizational goals, motivate teams, and manage change within a company.

Business managers need sound decision-making skills in order to steer organizations in the right direction. Business students learn to analyze situations, factor in important data and information, and make strategic decisions. They also learn to consider the moral and ethical ramifications of decisions.

Business management professionals, especially those who specialize in training and development, need to foster collaboration in the workplace. Business administration programs often cover strategies for supervising personnel, motivating employees, and assembling effective teams. Additionally, programs teach students the basics of human resource management and development.

Professionals in many business management careers must analyze situations and craft solutions. Marketing managers may need to develop strategies based on consumer trends, while information technology professionals must analyze technology issues. Business management programs help learners develop the problem-solving abilities necessary to approach a variety of business scenarios.

Business management students learn to effectively convey ideas verbally and through visual presentations. Business administration programs often include courses on business writing and public speaking. Many business professionals meet individually with clients, participate in conference calls, and attend large meetings.