We are about to enter 2022 and that presents you with a fresh start. This is the time to be planning how you are going to spend 2022. It is important to start early and to start strong. You must start making commitments now of the stuff you will do next year. As an entrepreneur or business person, there are some pertinent commitments you must make. One of such is commitments about learning or acquiring knowledge and skills. Let me help you out by sharing with you 5 things you must commit to learning in 2022 to make your business better.

Data Analytics

One of the central soft skills one must master moving forward is analytical and critical thinking. The ability to analyse is projected to become an indispensable skill in the future. The world we now live in is characterized by staggering amounts of data. Clive Humby once said, “Data is the new oil” and rightly so. Businesses that get to stand out are those who can effectively analyse it. That is why I am mentioning data analytics here – something you must commit to learning in 2022.

Data analytics is a discipline that deals with the analysis of raw data for drawing insights and trends. These then feed into effective empirical or evidence-based decision-making. Some of the tools you must learn to use in pursuit of this are Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Power BI. I am currently pursuing a Data Analytics course centred on those two. You can even go a step further to learn Data Science. Data Science differs from Data Analytics in that the former tends to focus more on predictive modelling – it is futuristic. The latter mainly deals with making sense of past or present data. Data Science is substantially more demanding and complex than Data Analytics.

UX Design

UX design is an area that deals with user experience design. You all know and notice how the world is increasingly becoming digital. More and more things are moving online e.g. learning online, buying and selling online, and so on. Online competition is surging due to this trend so you must stay ahead. One way to do that is to grasp the tenets of ensuring engaging and interactive user experiences. This is mainly based on how you design your user interfaces. UX design involves things like competitor analysis, customer analysis and user research, product structure and strategy, content development, prototyping, and much more.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is also known as online marketing. It is the use of the internet and digital platforms, such as social media, to promote products and services. Things such as pay per click advertising, email marketing, SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing, are examples of areas in digital marketing. I have written a lot on digital marketing but I feel most businesses in Zimbabwe are yet to take it seriously. There is no escaping digital marketing anymore especially given how increasingly digital things have gotten. Next year you must commit to learning digital marketing. There are so many options for you to choose from in learning digital marketing. I did a certified Digital Marketing programme in 2020 and so can you.

Soft Skills

I think at times people take certain things for granted. One of such things is soft skills. Many people assume that they know and appreciate the dynamics of soft skills. Yet in most cases, you can tell that people are devoid of such crucially important skills especially in business. The simple dictionary meaning of soft skills is these are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. The 7 core soft skills are leadership skills, teamwork, communication skills, problem-solving skills, work ethic, adaptability (or flexibility), and interpersonal skills. Do not assume you know these things; commit to learning them in 2022. I recently underwent a Soft Skills training program facilitated by Jobberman Nigeria and MasterCard Foundation.

Innovation Management

This is an area that focuses on the process of managing innovativeness in a business. The process is typically hinged on what is called human-centred design (HCD). Innovation management comprises 8 core principles that you must master. These are the realization of value, future-focused leadership, strategic direction, culture, exploiting insights, managing uncertainty, adaptable structures, and systems approach. You cannot talk of a thriving business in 2022 without being innovative.

These are my top 5 things that I am recommending you to learn in 2022 to make your business better. You have options when it comes to how you will learn them. You can do a personal study through the use of resources available online. Alternatively, you can enrol on learning programmes for these areas. They can either be paid or free. They can be courses, workshops, seminars, and so on. Whichever way, the thrust is for you to take up something that will help you learn in these 5 areas.