Every area of your business is immensely important to your overall success. It can be likened to the human body; a business is a living organism. This means there must be coherence and harmony in how every area is constituted and working. All year round as I research and write on business and finance it is all about exploring the various business areas. Today I want to bring your focused attention to 3 particular areas. These are areas which I want you to study this year; that is if you have not already. They are central to your business success, particularly in the times we are living in.

Digital Marketing

Due to the pandemic, most businesses have been adversely affected due to lockdown restrictions. If your business is still up then be grateful but the bitter truth is that lots of businesses never recovered from last year. Like it or not you now have to use the internet and social media more in running your business. At least be appreciative of the fact that people have ended up having to be online more than before. Thus it is somewhat easier to find congregate clusters of people online. However, this also means business competition online is also surging. So the best way to stay winning is to be intimately abreast with the tenets of Digital Marketing.

Digital marketing in layman terms is the rollout of marketing activities using digital platforms. The mistake most people make is to assume that digital marketing simply deals with posting posts or ads on digital platforms. You just have to do a random sweep of business accounts on social media or business websites in Zimbabwe. The harsh truth is that most of them are clueless about what exactly Digital Marketing is. It is a whole universe on its own comprising so many areas to study.

This year I urge you to study Digital Marketing. You can do your own independent research and study using the internet or you can enrol for online Digital Marketing courses. You will come across a wide array of options to pick from spanning from free courses or paid ones. Courses range from masterclasses to certificates, diplomas and so on. Have you ever heard of programmatic advertising, conversational marketing or chatbots? How about search engine optimization (SEO), influencer marketing or data analytics? These are some of the many things you will learn under Digital Marketing.

Financial Literacy

It is said the major cause of the business collapse is cash flow problems. Financial literacy is the ability to apply certain knowledge and skills to soundly manage your financial resources. Basically, it looks at how to effectively, earn, spend, save, invest, borrow, and protect your financial resources. You would think these are intrinsic qualities that people have but many perform poorly. Things like accounting, management of cash flow, and business financing are some of the core areas looked at under financial literacy.

Given how many businesses fail because of financial illiteracy it is then imperative that you study all about financial literacy.

You are free to explore free courses or enrol for paid ones. Platforms like Coursera offer some great free courses on Financial Literacy. You can explore masterclasses, webinars, or talks that deal with the subject. Another inexpensive way you can consider is looking for literature that focuses on the subject – books in particular. Some of the best books on this subject are Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Automatic Millionaire, and The Richest Man In Babylon.

Project Management

This an umbrella term since I am also referring to several other areas related to it. These are areas such as Monitoring and Evaluation, Agile Essentials, amongst others. Often time I have noticed that non-governmental organization appreciate and use project management approaches the most. I wonder why most businesses are totally oblivious of project management approaches. The widely accepted definition of project management is the discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific success criteria. If you closely look at that definition you can see how project management can revolutionize how you manage your business.

In 2018 I did a one-year-long certificate program in Project Monitoring and Evaluation. I know first-hand how this discipline of Project Management really redefines your approach to handling your affairs, business in particular. After all, I have always underscored that any business venture is a series of projects which of course have to be managed. So this year I am encouraging you to study Project Management or any other variation under this field. The times we are living in are highly turbulent, uncertain, and rapidly changing. With a full understanding of Project Management, you will be equipped with the necessary skill set to navigate triumphantly.

If you commit yourself to study these 3 areas this year you will be glad you did. I specifically chose this combo because it covers literally every fundamental business area of importance. The choice is yours; to go for paid avenues or use free ones – you really have no excuse. You can find free courses in all these areas on Coursera, plus many other free courses sites.