How to become the director of a company (with tips)

Updated 16 January 2023

Successful companies are typically run by a team of dedicated senior board members. One such individual involved in the day-to-day running of a business is the director of the company. Understanding more about the role of a company director, including how to become one and what the primary duties are, may help you to decide whether it's an appropriate career path for you to embark on. In this article, we define the company director role, explain how to become the director of a company and provide some other general role information.

What is a director of a company?

A company director is an individual responsible for running the administrative and business functions of a company. The role of company director is an advanced one that typically comes with a rewarding salary and a large list of responsibilities. Some companies have multiple directors, who are collectively known as a board of directors or similar, whilst other smaller companies only have a single director who solely oversees everyday operations. Directors commonly possess voting rights regarding broader company decisions but don't possess the executive power to pass decisions relating to company affairs.

Related: What are a director's responsibilities? (Plus salary info)

How to become the director of a company

Here's how to become the director of a company in six generalised steps:

1. Finish your higher education

The majority of company directors hold a minimum of an undergraduate degree in a subject relevant to the business sector. Common fields include business and accounting. If you seek to become the director of a company in a particular field, such as agriculture, then degrees pertaining to this area are also suitable. For companies that attract the top competition, candidates may also wish to consider continuing their education to a postgraduate level, such as a master's degree.

On average, full-time undergraduate degrees last for three years. This is something to account for when creating your career map towards becoming a company director. It's possible to begin gaining work experience whilst you complete your degree. This is commonly in the form of an internship or apprenticeship scheme that provides you with entry-level responsibilities. Some university courses also offer an elective work experience module.

Related: How to write a university personal statement in 4 steps

2. Undergo professional training

Once you've finished your formal education, your next step in becoming a director of a company is to undergo some form of relevant professional training. This is beneficial for prospective directors as it demonstrates a commitment to their intended career trajectory, which is a desirable trait in candidates. There are many suitable professional training programmes you can complete, including the Board Director Programme, Chartered Director Programme and Director Development Programme.

Related: On-the-job training examples (with benefits and tips)

3. Gain relevant business experience

After completing at least one form of professional training, the next step in becoming a company director is to begin acquiring some experience. Be aware that company director positions are highly competitive by default, so your ideal expertise is as diverse as possible. This includes being the lead of several projects and successfully executing several projects carried out on a large scale.

Gaining enough business experience to be considered for director positions is a process that takes dedication and time. Consider every project lead or job an opportunity to learn more about successful business management. Note details of each memorable project, such as milestones, scale, objectives and date of completion. This is useful for recollection purposes when preparing for a director of a company interview.

Related: Work experience: definition, importance and tips

4. Seek industry mentors

Many successful directors of a company get to their position within the company with the support of mentors within their industry. Having a mentor is critical as it provides you with a support system from which you seek advice. Mentors are there to answer your questions and direct you with your next career move towards becoming a company director. Good mentors also show you useful techniques and tips for managing the responsibility of a company director in preparation.

Related: Benefits of working with a careers mentor (with tips)

5. Network with key investors

For many companies, their investors have a key say in who's appointed as the next director or member of the board of directors. It's sensible to build relationships with the investors of a company you intend to apply for the director position with. Having the faith and trust of investors strengthens the chance of securing an interview for the role. Another benefit is you may also learn more about the sector, with some investors acting as mentor figures.

Related: Your complete guide to networking at events (with steps)

6. Consider upskilling your skill set

The business world is continually changing. As someone at the head of the company, it's recommended that company directors keep track of these changes and develop their skill set where necessary. Upskilling is an investment in your own abilities as a director and ensures a consistent competency within your role. Not only does this improve your self-confidence, but it also assures employees and investors you're capable of doing your job well.

Related: The importance of upskilling

What does a company director do?

A company director has many duties they carry out on a daily basis. These responsibilities vary depending on the nature and size of the company and whether the director is acting alone or as part of a wider board. The duties you expect to carry out as a director of a company may include:

  • overseeing the day-to-day management of the company

  • maintaining company records, including employee record

  • submitting statutory documents to the relevant organisations

  • monitoring employee satisfaction and productivity

  • facilitating an ethical code of conduct in the workplace

  • collaborating with other board members and stakeholders

  • developing company-wide key performance indicators (KPIs)

  • tracking company growth in line with the business strategy

  • creating plans for business operation optimisation

  • holding annual stakeholder meetings to update them on progress


  • The differences between director vs associate director

  • Managing director vs. director: the key differences

What skills do company directors have?

Here are some of the most common skills used by directors of a company:


Company directors are among the most senior members of a company. This means they're part of the leadership team that sets an example for other employees and ensures they meet working standards. They provide guidance where necessary and discipline employees in a firm and fair manner.

Related: What is a leadership philosophy? (And how to write one)

Business acumen

Company directors often have input into the general running of the company. They're responsible for the oversight of the company on a daily basis, which means having business acumen is essential. This includes understanding what makes a company successful and how to respond to the latest market trends within the relevant sector.

Teamwork skills

Company directors are typically part of a broader team. This is either a board of directors or a similarly structured senior team. This means being able to work as part of a team with confidence and stability is critical. This includes knowing how to communicate effectively to avoid company fallout.

Related: What is teamwork? Including definition and characteristics

Critical-thinking skills

Company directors handle a range of problems across the course of their careers. Having a critical approach to these problems helps a company director to reach solutions efficiently and quickly. This minimises the impact that such problems have on the day-to-day management of the company, leading to smoother daily operations and higher employee satisfaction.

Negotiation skills

Company directors work a lot with stakeholders. This includes trying to secure the most suitable deal for the company whilst also ensuring the satisfaction of the stakeholder to retain their interest in the company. Having great interpersonal skills, such as the ability to negotiate and persuade, reduces the friction that these situations sometimes contain.

Strategic skills

Company directors differ from managers as they have the broader success of the company in mind as opposed to the success of employees on an individual and team level. This means possessing a strong strategic vision for the company is essential. This includes the ability to evaluate each business decision and align choices with the business strategy.


Company directors work long and sometimes demanding hours. This means having a resilient character is critical for anyone intending to pursue the position of director of a company. Being resilient allows directors to approach their tasks with patience and confidence, resulting in higher job satisfaction and reduced job burn-out.

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