Skills acquisition is something we should all take seriously in this day and age. The world is now so fast-paced that skills you acquired years ago might fall short now. That is why continuous training and skills development must be a priority for everyone. To start a business and succeed you no doubt need some skills. Though the pandemic has been detrimental to many, it has brought in a new normal that you can leverage on. Most things are now done online; never before has it been much easier to acquire new skills online.
There are so many options to choose from; last year I did online programs in Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Virtual Assistance. This year I have done Digital Journalism, and have more lined up. So take advantage of the new normal. Anyways, in this article I shall be discussing skills you must learn before starting a business.
Financial Literacy Or Intelligence
You need to master financial literacy or intelligence before starting a business. You need to understand the basics of things like balance sheets and cash flow statements. You must know about basic things like profit and loss statements – essential to sales tracking. You must learn how not only how to make financial statements but also to interpret them if given one. Reading financial statements sounds simple but it’s something one must learn and practise. It is also important to learn and familiarize oneself with terms used in finance.
Sales And Marketing
You could literally say these are the heart of a business. A business can have a great product or service but fail to realize good sales. I have seen so many Zimbabwean enterprises experiencing. Sales and marketing entail several disciplines and one must be taught on them. One of the core areas dealt with here is digital marketing. Digital marketing on its own is a vast field with several areas of focus. You must invest time and resources to acquiring skills in sales and marketing.
This is a broad field and will largely depend on the type of business you want to venture into. All the same, you must acquire skills that make you tech-savvy. Do some computer literacy courses so that you master how to productively use computers. Get to learn about things like coding, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, blockchain, machine learning, and so on. These are areas that will make you appreciate the highly technological world we now live in. Areas like digital marketing, for instance, require one to have a good understanding of technology.
It is funny how most people think they know how to think. There is such a thing called critical thinking and you must learn its tenets before starting a business. Starting and running a business is not a stroll in the park and often things will go wrong. You will need to diagnose problems and come up with working strategies. This all takes critical thinking where you think outside the or as if there is no box. Critical thinking is a discipline that has to be learnt. I actually have a book on critical thinking that is more than 200 pages long; it is a vast field.
You will have to learn the basics and approach to management. It is not surprising why the term management or manager is common in entrepreneurship. Manager, managing director, human resource management, customer relationship management, financial management, and so on are some quick examples. Clearly, there is a lot you must learn about management before starting a business.
If you are on and use social media then you already have an appreciation of content creation. Business these days thrives on creating and propagating content. The different social media platforms work differently so you must understand how propagating content on them works. You will need to learn about disciplines such as social media management or influencer marketing. These are all anchored on content creation. You will also need to grasp things like data analytics.
Negotiation is a skill and it must be learnt. In business, this is a skill you will most likely use daily to varying degrees. In customer engagement, you will need it. In engaging with your employees, colleagues, or team you will need it. In engaging prospective financiers, partners, suppliers, and so on, you will need it. It is an art and a science and is an interesting field you must take time to study before getting into business.
Pitching will most likely characterise build-ups to some of your milestones. You will need it to engage investors and even business partners or strategic allies. It is a skill you will have to master and use right from the onset. It can be the one thing that separates you from getting capital to start your business.
You will never run away from writing in running a business. You will need to write emails, letters, memos, reports, posts, articles, messages, and the like. There is a certain style and professionalism that will be required of you. You might even have to go back to basic English lessons you did in middle or high school. Possessing excellent writing skills will separate me from other business players. It is a must-have skill in this era of digitization.
There are many options for you to acquire these skills. You can enrol into academic institutions if you want. You can enrol for free online programs offered by platforms such as Coursera and Udemy, amongst others. You can enrol for paid ones offered by various types of entities. You can also attend masterclasses, workshops, seminars, and the like. Alternatively, you can read articles, publications, journals, books and so on about the subjects. You can take advantage of YouTube which has many useful videos on these subjects. As you can see there are many options for you to use in acquiring these skills.