Business Administration as a Career: Your Complete Guide

Editorial Team

Business Administration as a Career

If you’ve ever thought about getting deep into business management, you may find that a role as a business administrator is perfect for your needs and skills. However, the role also raises some confusion, especially as it’s typically an umbrella term for multiple different jobs. It is a job that sees you playing many different parts.

To run and manage any business successfully, you’ll always need to handle some form of administration. That could mean filing documents, sending emails, managing money, and arranging meetings—and some of the time, larger businesses arrange for specialists to handle all of the minutiae for them.

As a business administrator, you stand to help make business operations and decision-making more efficient and direct. However, there are multiple different facets to this career path that are worth exploring in detail. So, keep reading, and we’ll break it all down for you!

What is business administration?

Business administration refers to the management of resources, people, and time within a company or organization.



Essentially, as an administrator, you’re on board to help ensure that all of the business’ working parts are moving as they should and that you’re balancing the finer points of inventory, employee levels, and available resources so that smooth running is easy to expect.

This doesn’t always mean that you run a business yourself. In many cases where people run small businesses and enterprises of their own, they’ll handle administrative tasks alone so that there are no nasty surprises in terms of inventory levels, staffing, or finances further down the line.

Why is business administration important?

Without business administration in one form or another, businesses can’t hope to grow, succeed, or even run smoothly from day to day.

Business administration ensures that there will always be available staff to fill certain roles and projects and that there are always resources on hand to keep projects on target. There’s also the matter of planning long-term projects and cases for clients and helping ease new customers and clients into your company’s processes.

The work of a business administrator essentially takes away the daily bureaucracy of business management for owners and managers. While small business owners and entrepreneurs will likely handle all of their administration themselves, to begin with, the bigger a company grows, the more there will be a need to delegate everyday tasks and important planning to capable experts.

It’s a role that carries a fair amount of pressure, but it’s ultimately very rewarding. Business administrators directly impact the direction of some large businesses’ biggest decision-making, which means they can look proudly over a year of growth or client acquisition thanks to their insight!

What do business administrators do?

Business administrators plan, organize, fill roles, ensure inventory and resource levels are healthy, and help keep a company alive. Think of this role as much like keeping your own health in check. You’re balancing various weights and measures and ensuring a steady stream of custom and income, too, to warrant survival.

This is a role that requires you to work with a lot of varied people and to communicate with many different parties on complex topics and ideas. Below, we’ll run through the skills you’ll ideally need as a business administrator. For now, however, just keep in mind that this is a career for those who love working with others!

A business administrator also liaises with people from all different corners of the business. On any given day, you may need to speak with experts in finance, HR, operations, and legal, for example. You’ll need these experts’ insight into needs and project progress so that you can adequately prepare resources and keep everyone else in the loop.

Some business administrators may also be called business directors, as they have a large say in their enterprises’ directions. They’re not necessarily the owners of, or even managers within, a business, meaning this role is often hired for, whether internally or externally.

Business administrators can also help improve a company’s financial performance; they’ll have a large say in how to improve certain services and product lines and converse with others to ensure that projects are on target.

Here are a few general jobs and tasks that a business administrator may take on during any given day:

  • Managing communications between clients and the business
  • Tracking business expenses
  • Drafting and refining business plans (for growth and new services, for example)
  • Arranging travel and accommodation for employees and directors
  • Liaising with clients regarding products and services
  • Invoicing and managing payments and expenses
  • Communicating directly with customers via phone, email, social media, etc.
  • Checking and preparing documents, printing, and filing where appropriate
  • Checking inventory levels and liaising with relevant departments

What skills do you need to become a business administrator?

As a business administrator, you will naturally need to work well in a fast-paced, always-variable role. That means self-management and self-awareness of your own skills, strengths, and weaknesses are always vital.

However, before you choose to enroll in an Accredited Online MBA Program with leading universities such as St. Bonaventure, it pays to know which skills and traits you should develop and prioritize. St. Bonaventure, in fact, offers a comprehensive course plan to help you develop over time if you’re unsure of where to start.

Let’s break down some of the traits and skills that will serve you best when working as a business administrator in the future.

Communication

Communication skills and techniques are vital if you want to succeed in this role because you will communicate with many different departments within a company, outside clients, and directors within your firm.

You’ll need to be clear, concise, and ready to translate complex ideas and concepts to different audiences. You’ll also need to tailor them to the varying needs of different people and departments across the business.

Always take the time to listen carefully. Active listening is a huge facet of effective communication, and if you don’t understand or listen to people’s requests properly, you stand to make mistakes.

Communication skills are vital in this particular role, as you need the input and insight of others to help drive your company forward. Fail to communicate properly, and you’ll find a lot of information gets lost in translation or that product and service quality fail.

Attention to detail

Being sloppy or slapdash is fatal in the role of a business administrator. You need to be the sort of hire who intricately pores over details and is willing to ask for insight on each and every line of an email.

You’ll need to have a keen (or even exceptional) eye for resource and finance management detail, too. Otherwise, you’ll risk money and resources going to the wrong departments or others going without.

Business administrators have a lot on their shoulders when managing the finer details of the companies they work for. Only the most meticulous and detail-oriented will go far in this type of career—and for a good reason, too!

Time management

As a business administrator, you’ll be handling multiple accounts, people, products, and services at any given time. That means you must always be an exceptional timekeeper.

Ultimately, no one else is going to manage your time or workload for you. You’ll have deadlines to meet and details to prepare. If you don’t manage this time effectively, you’ll miss targets, and the business will suffer.

Again, this makes it clear that there’s certainly pressure on administrators’ shoulders—you wield a lot of power, but at the same time, there’s an incredible amount of responsibility.

Critical thinking and decision making

Thinking critically means you’re able to make decisions in a snap. You’re the sort of person who approaches a problem without bias or outside influence and prepares an action plan based on the facts.

Business administrators who are great critical thinkers produce incredible results for their companies. They have the confidence to make decisions on their own, however, by purely using the facts and figures available to them.

Some may confuse critical thinking and snap decision-making with being a maverick within a business. The difference is that maverick thinking is often reckless and doesn’t take crucial details into account.

Essentially, you’ll need to be ready to make decisions on your own terms, but do so with confidence rather than arrogance. Again, bias is fatal in this role; companies need unprejudiced decision-makers who are autonomous but not unreliable.

Patience

Take a deep breath! The world of business administration is perhaps not for the most light-hearted of candidates, and it’s certainly for the most patient of people.

Business administration revolves around managing multiple working parts at once. You are truly deep into the heart of a company’s operations; you can see it all moving together, and it’s your job to ensure all the vital signs are healthy.

While you will have owners and directors working above you, you’re often the lifeblood (or at least the operator) of a very large machine. The departments and staff you work with keep the various parts running, but you must ensure they have what they need.

That means being incredibly patient at times! You’ll need to wait for sign-off on certain actions and plans, and you’ll sometimes need to communicate with clients and operatives who may be obstructive.

That means you’ll need to be great at keeping your head above water and seeing the bigger picture. You’ll understand that some projects and demands will take time to process and that you can keep the wheel turning elsewhere while you wait for progress.

Supervisory skills

As you’ll work in a fairly elevated position with a company, it stands to reason that your administration will also cover some supervisory skills and roles. For example, you’ll typically need to delegate tasks and projects to specific people and departments over time.

Delegation is immensely important within business administration, as it’s often impossible for administrators to manage everything at once. While some try and succeed, failing to delegate can not only lead to poor performance on your part but also burnout at work.

Therefore, be prepared to take charge. You’ll need to give some orders, set expectations, and request that certain people handle areas of your work that you can’t take responsibility for immediately.

Ultimately, such delegation will still fall under the job descriptions of those you work with—and they will still get plenty of credit, don’t worry!

If you’re not a keen manager or need help brushing up on your supervisory skills, it’s worth taking steps to change before diving into business administration.

What are some specializations business administrators can get into?

While general business administrators will handle all working parts of a company at any given time, there are also specializations you may wish to niche into (if a specific area of management appeals to you).

For example, you may choose to specialize in HR administration. This means you’ll largely work with people (hence “human resources”), from hiring to training to performance reviews and appraisals.

If you prefer working with numbers and finances, then you’d naturally drift more towards working as a specialized finance administrator within a business. This means you’ll have much of the power to decide where budgets go, how to plan ahead for profit and loss, and where it may be best for your company to make investments over time.

There’s even a specialization of business administration in marketing too. If the world of client outreach and advertising appeals to you, marketing administration allows you to deep-dive into research, campaign resources, marketing strategies, consumer analytics, and more.

If you’d prefer to get deeply involved with resource management within a business, it may be that the supply chain side of business administration is the best fit for you. In these roles, you’ll typically have complete oversight of how and where resources come from, how people use them from area to area, and when you’ll need to order more. In general business administration, this is a common task, but this specialization goes deeper.

You don’t have to niche into a specialization when working as a business administrator; however, doing so may help you unlock more roles and opportunities both regionally and overseas. It’s generally a good idea to study for an MBA first and look carefully at your potential routes after graduation.

Where do business administrators find employment?

Business administrators ultimately work wherever there’s a need to manage mass resources and people! For example, you may find that this line of work takes you deep into the legal sector, corporate finance, healthcare, or even retail.

Wherever there’s a need for a company to stay efficient and productive when up against increasingly challenging moments, administrators will swoop in to keep things running smoothly.

As mentioned above, you’ll likely find that there are always opportunities for you to specialize and niche down into an area of administration that appeals to your interests and your skills. However, many people choose to start MBAs and enter general administration as a starting point.

Business administrators are always likely to be high in demand thanks to the multi-faceted nature of their roles and their ability to work in almost any sector. In fact, we’ll likely see demand for such expertise grow in the next decade.

If you’re concerned about where you may find work once you graduate with an MBA, it’s always wise to ask for support from course leaders and to find career development support at your chosen university.

Can you work as a business administrator from home?

In some cases, business administrators can work from home, particularly since much of the work they’ll do is carried out via computer and/or phone. That said, there may be some companies and positions that demand in-office face time so that you can meet directly with people.

In some cases, working as a business administrator in-house may also be more efficient, especially if you’re liaising with several departments within the same building!

However, it’s always wise to look for hybrid, in-house, and remote positions alike, as administration demands from company to company will differ beyond simply where you can work!

Conclusion

Let’s be clear: business administration is a tough career path at times, but it’s always worth following if you have the skillset and the desire to help your company be the very best it can be.

To thrive as a business administrator, you will need to be tenacious, focused, a great communicator, and always ready to delegate. You’ll be fantastic at seeing the bigger picture while still taking the time to notice the details.

This is a role that business owners hire with complete confidence. Therefore, as a specialized business administrator, your proven skills will provide them with reassurance that, ultimately, you have everything in hand.

As always, to enter these types of roles, you’ll need a firm education behind you. If you can take a reasonable time to brush up on soft skills along the way, too, you’ll have a fantastic advantage!