The specifics of the job as a business manager are going to vary widely depending on what industry you work in, but there are general duties that every manager encounters. Managers are usually middle-management and have employees to oversee and executives to report to. The median annual income for general business managers that could be employed in everything from personnel to purchasing was $95,440 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A four-year degree in business administration is the least amount of formal training you’ll need to land a manager’s job in a business environment. MBAs are more prominent, though, and can catapult you into the bigger offices of the corporate world. The kind of courses you’ll take to get your Master of Business Administration prepares you to tackle issues like finances, business law basics, human resources and group dynamics. You’ll study business communications, strategy development and the ethics and social responsibilities of business.
You’re going to oversee other people in some way or another as a business manager. In a small company, you may be the top dog under the owner who oversees hiring, training, sales and purchasing. In a larger organization, managers typically oversee other supervisors. It’ll be your job to sit on the executive team and help to create policy, implement company policies and work with human resources to ensure every department is sufficiently staffed.
As a manager, you can expect to deal with paperwork and documentation. You’ll work on the annual reports and be asked for input on strategy, planning and marketing proposals. General managers have budgets to oversee and thus do a lot of number-crunching to make sure their departments are staying within their projections and purchasing doesn’t overspend. Progress reports, supervisor evaluations, long- and short-term goals and company marketing materials are just some of the documents you’ll have a hand in creating.
As a general manager, you have to report to the owners or board of directors, CEO and other chiefs of the company. You’ll do that in meetings and through your reports. As such, you need to hone your writing and speaking skills to be able to relay information accurately and concisely. At the same time, you’ll communicate to those employees who report to you and you must be able to clearly convey company goals, give precise directions and offer guidance by leading training sessions, holding one-on-one conversations and writing reports and directives. No matter what industry you find yourself in or how big the company is, you’ll rely heavily on your communication skills.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."