There are two things that will always be vital to a business: leadership and oversight. In the most successful scenarios, both fall under the purview of a Business Manager – the pivotal person responsible for supervising everything from operations to strategy within an organization.

What Is a Business Manager?

A business manager is a leadership position that includes oversight of operations, productivity, and people. The role of a business manager is wide-ranging and diverse depending on several factors, including the size of a company and the industry in which it operates. In this article, we will examine the role and purpose of a business manager, the types of business managers and their responsibilities, and the education you need to consider a career as a business manager.

What Does a Business Manager Do?

If you are looking for a role that will always be in demand, business manager may be an ideal fit with long-term sustainability. That’s because every business needs someone to oversee people and processes, while ultimately playing a vital role in the company’s future success and growth. Many responsibilities are specific to the role and organization, but as a business manager, these would be among your most important priorities:

  1. Strategic planning: You must be able to think forward and develop strategic plans that align with your organizational objectives. This will require you to analyze market trends as well as the resources within your own company and find ways to capitalize on both.
  2. Operational oversight: Business managers may be responsible for a team, a division, or an entire company. All of these involve oversight of day-to-day operations, often across divisions, and you must be able to monitor progress and look for ways to improve. 
  3. Financial management: While a finance background is not always necessary for success, you must have some knowledge of budgeting and financial forecasting. Business managers are often responsible for managing expenses and financial prudence.
  4. Leadership: Though the title is “business manager” there is a difference between management and leadership. In your role, you will need to harness your leadership skills to provide guidance and motivation, while delegating responsibilities and training your team to work together or across departments. 
  5. Managing stakeholders: At the management level, you will likely be working with other internal divisions within your organization, as well as external partners, vendors, and clients. Communication, conflict resolution, and negotiation are among the primary duties in these situations, and you must be prepared to act on behalf of your organization’s best interests.

What Are the Types of Business Managers?

Your role as a business manager largely depends on the company and industry in which you are employed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that records and reports employment data, lists more than two dozen management occupations ranging from administrative services and facilities managers to training and development managers.

Let’s examine four common roles that fall under the category of business manager:

  1. Administrative services and facilities manager: Also carrying the title of administrative manager or business administrator, this type of manager oversees multiple functions, including records management, mail distribution, and general office support services, according to O*Net.

The typical responsibilities of an administrative services and facilities manager include:

  • Operations: This includes establishing work procedures and schedules, as well as operational standards for your team.
  • Resource allocation: Beyond budgeting and payroll duties, administrative and facilities managers must also manage supplies and equipment.
  • Personnel management: In this role, you would be responsible for hiring, training, and, if necessary, terminating personnel under your supervision.
  1. General and operations manager: General and operations managers are other roles that fall under the category of business manager, according to O*Net. In this position, you may oversee the operations of organizations in the public or private sectors, with multiple departments or locations.

The typical responsibilities of a general and operations manager include:

  • Financial analysis: This role requires you to review financial statements and performance metrics, while also using forecasts to set prices and credit terms.
  • Operational management: General and operations managers are responsible for everything related to production, pricing, sales, and distribution. You must be able to manage the product that is coming in and out of your facilities.
  • Policy management: In addition to personnel-related matters (schedules, assignment of duties, etc.), you must be able to align your department’s policies, goals, and objectives with that of your organization and the various stakeholders involved.
  1. Sales manager: According to Indeed, sales managers supervise a sales department’s progress and performance, providing everything from training to advice and mentorship.

A further look at the role via O*Net outlines the primary day-to-day tasks for sales managers:

  • Direct sales activities: Sales managers have oversight of all sales of products and services. They must determine price schedules and discount rates while monitoring customer feedback and preferences. 
  • Manage sales operations: As a sales manager, you may oversee regional or local sales teams. That involves directing staff, training, performance evaluations, and providing guidance to resolve conflicts and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Administrative duties: This involves a number of day-to-day responsibilities, including preparing or approving budgets, record-keeping, and logistics. Sales managers also are asked to represent their companies at trade shows and other events alongside potential clients and competing vendors.
  1. Marketing manager: Marketing managers – categorized as marketing business managers, according to Indeed – are responsible for developing and implementing an organization’s marketing strategies. Marketing managers may oversee teams of varying sizes, while working across departments and externally with stakeholders as they put their campaigns into action.

A closer look at the role via O*Net offers additional insight into a marketing manager’s daily responsibilities:

  • Strategic planning and development: As a marketing manager, you must be able to create campaigns and strategies based on your organizational objectives, finances, and market characteristics. Sales forecasting and market research skill are key to the role.
  • Marketing management and coordination: Much of the job of a marketing manager involves overseeing your team. You may also be responsible for developing promotional activations at trade shows, and working with advertisers and other stakeholders to effectively market products.
  • Financial analysis and pricing strategy: Marketing managers are heavily involved in developing pricing strategies for products, while also negotiating contracts to manage product distribution.

What Education Do You Need to Be a Business Manager?

Your path to becoming a business manager may start with a college education, as many positions, including those listed above, require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Specifically, you will want to choose a business degree, and, if possible, tailor your education with a specialization or emphasis.

Some of the degrees you may consider include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Leadership
  • Bachelor of Arts in Operations Management and Analysis
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management

These degrees will help you develop the leadership skills and business acumen to pursue a business manager role.

For more information on careers in this occupational field, please visit the Department of Labor site here.

Summary: What Is a Business Manager?

The role of a business manager is multifaceted and will challenge you to sharpen your skills in strategic planning, leadership, financial management, and stakeholder management, among others. There are many different types of business managers, but education, such as a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field, will give you the foundational knowledge and skills to succeed should you pursue this career path. While your responsibilities will depend on your organization and industry, you can play a pivotal role in steering organizational success by aligning strategy with company objectives, resources, and culture.

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