I love watching movies from the 19080s and 1990s that are set in the future. Particularly those set around the year 2000 or current times. Part of the fun for me is seeing just how wrong and occasionally right these guys got what was the future to them. The lesson I draw from this is that nobody knows the future but we can make reasonable approximations as to what the future will hold. With that in mind business people and entrepreneurs need to keep an eye on the future. Particularly skills that if acquired and developed will mean big results in the next 10 years.
You’re thinking that’s a bit obvious and you’d be partly right. Selling skills for business owners are important of course. What we need to realise is that the channels we sell through today may not be the channels that will sell through 10 years from now. Technology and change in lifestyles affect the way we do business and understanding this the business person needs to grasp these changes as they happen or before. The fundamentals of selling are important to learn and master so we can adapt when the time calls for it.
Just as with sales marketing it has changed very much in a short space of time. Social media has gone a long way in a short time. Even content has changed from walls of text to images and video. Knowing this understanding of the core principles behind marketing is essential. You cannot apply the knowledge you do not have to the changing circumstances. We don’t know what marketing will look like 10 years from now but we know that understanding the mechanisms of marketing will be useful 10 years from now.
For people in business, negotiation is a daily activity. We negotiate with customers, employees, suppliers, partners, vendors and authorities in so many activities. Negotiation skills, therefore, stand out as skills that should be acquired and nurtured for the future. Effective negotiation is finding a way for all or most parties in a negotiation to get the best possible outcome for their distinct needs. This isn’t always easy but it is worth it.
Communication is another essential function for the business person. Covid-19 ushered in an unprecedented age in terms of remote working and business. In-person communication was jettisoned for digital and remote communication. This brings its own set of challenges into the mix. With the rise of the virtual world on the horizon we understand that communication is going to experience more changes and communication skills are essential for the business person.
Leadership skills are essential for the business person. You may think of leading teams but leadership starts with personal leadership. So the functions of leadership such as planning, organising, communicating and coordinating need to be practised on the public as well as the private level. The value of leadership skills for the business person cannot be ignored if success is the goal.
It is a well-discussed concept that decision making is a master key to success. And it is not necessarily the ability to make the right decision every single time but sometimes just the speed with which decisions are made and carried out that makes decision making important. Running a business is a game of dealing with complexity. So many questions, so many decisions. Whether or not to adopt new technology. When to adopt new technology. Constantly business owners must make decisions so getting better at making decisions is a good idea. Understanding the possibilities opened by new elements such as data analytics also makes a better decision-maker going forward.
The ability to find the right and relevant information feed into your decision-making ability. With the world going digital and data analytics growing knowing which data to pay attention to is important. When do you want to figure out how to do something how do you go about finding out how to? The only right answer is the one that brings the right results but you will be amazed how many people struggle with this essential skill despite it being taught directly and indirectly in high school and tertiary education respectively.
Since the year 2000 many things have been introduced to Zimbabwe that affects the way business is done. Video calling, mobile internet(2.0), social media (2.0), internet-capable phones, smartphones, mobile instant messaging, 3G, 4G, 5G and so many more. These massive changes bring about moments of great opportunity for early adopters. As much as we like what we have we must learn to experiment with things and experiment early. If only to have a grasp of the new wave.