The Rise of the Business Manager: Why it’s an Excellent Career Choice

Megan Stacy Deane

Posted: June 14, 2024

Table of Contents

Business management may sound boring to some, but a business manager is a highly dynamic career in high demand across private, public and voluntary sectors in South Africa. 

What makes it so dynamic is that business management is a broad field that opens up a range of career opportunities in various industries, including utilities, retail, health, agriculture, construction, and countless more. 

Within these industries, you’ll be able to work across roles, from marketing, finance and analytics to human resources, project management, consulting, operations, and many other areas. This versatility means you can easily find a career path in an industry and specialisation that aligns with your skills, passions and interests.

With a business management certification under your belt, you can expect a number of benefits, including: 

  • Improved leadership skills
  • Accelerated path to promotion
  • Increased earning potential 
  • Better understanding of operations and strategy
  • Easier transition into a new career
  • Specialised skills that apply to most industries

What is business management? 

Business management is a leadership position that includes oversight of operations, productivity, and people, ensuring that businesses meet their objectives. With so much ambiguity and uncertainty in the business world today, companies are looking to employ business managers with a robust set of core skills, including both technical and soft skills

Business management comprises six functional areas: financial management, operations management, people management, data analytics, marketing, and strategy.

When all six of these areas are managed well, business managers create competitive and sustainable organisations that can overcome the complex challenges we face in today’s demanding and competitive business environment. 

The six core functions of a business manager

  1. Financial management

The main goal of any business is to make a profit, which makes it essential that a business manager is equipped with the basic financial knowledge and skills needed to make the right decisions. 

Financial know-how includes a solid understanding of budgeting, accounting, taxes, financial analysis, and investment strategies. The combination of these skills will allow you to effectively coordinate projects, labour, material resources, and technology to ensure minimum losses and maximum profit.

  1. Operations management 

Operations management aims to create an efficient working environment. This role is responsible for managing, measuring, and designing successful product and service processes to ensure business goals are met and you achieve the highest possible operating profit.

It also encompasses planning and control – evaluating and effectively implementing well-planned processes that align with the company’s capacity, inventory, and objectives. Operations improvement and quality management are essential for predicting and mitigating risks. 

  1. People management

No organisation can achieve its objectives without an empowered, passionate, and well-functioning workforce. To this end, business managers need strong leadership skills to guide their team and ensure everyone is working toward a common goal.

To be a good leader, a manager needs to motivate their team, work with their employees’ strengths and weaknesses, and effectively delegate tasks. Good communication skills are essential, and a manager must create an inclusive, supportive company culture where employees are equipped with the tools and resources they need to perform their daily work.

  1. Business analytics

The ability to analyse and use data to measure progress, drive decision-making, and solve business problems allows business managers to create more efficient procedures and processes and conduct organisational evaluations that maximise efficiency and reduce costs.

A knack for numeracy and the ability to research, interpret, and use financial and business data are important transferable skills across careers. Similarly, report-writing, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills using data are non-negotiable for this role. 

Larger companies would employ a dedicated risk manager. Even so, business managers need to be familiar with the principles and practices of using data for risk management so they can incorporate risk analysis and mitigation into all operations and planning.

  1. Marketing

Business managers are responsible for building and positioning a brand; for this, they need to understand the marketing fundamentals. These include the product life cycle, the marketing mix, and the marketing environment. Their role could be in an oversight capacity, but depending on the industry, they could also be more closely involved in a number of marketing functions. 

These include managing budgets for marketing campaigns, evaluating local and international markets, performing market research to find new opportunities, analysing market trends, and conducting competitor and customer behaviour research. 

  1. Strategy and planning

Strategic business management involves the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis, and assessment of an organisation’s resources and processes to ensure it meets its goals and objectives — while navigating potential risks. 

A strategic plan enables an organisation to adhere to its mission and vision, lay out its growth strategy, and explain how it will achieve it. It helps business managers identify their short-term and long-term goals, as well as allocate the resources needed to achieve them.


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