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Thinking about starting a business? It’s never been easier to do so, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Entrepreneurship requires a certain kind of person — one who isn’t a specialist of any particular thing but more a jack of all trades. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to wear every hat at some point. That’s a lot of skills to learn.
Before starting, you should check out our guide to starting a business as well as these online courses for starting a business. It’s also important to recognize that entrepreneurship is more than just practical skills; you need to have the right confidence to pull it off.
But practical skills are important. Consider learning these if you haven’t already.
There’s a reason why the phrase “like a well-oiled machine” is used to describe successful people and organizations. Nothing leads to efficiency and productivity faster than a steady, regular routine. But to be clear, it’s not the routine itself that you should seek; it’s the mindset and attitude that results from adhering to said routine.
A daily routine cultivates work ethic. As an entrepreneur, you are your own boss and you need to be able to force yourself to work even when you don’t feel like it. Sticking to a routine is a good reminder that you need to work and the regularity of it helps stave off the temptation to waste time on YouTube or Facebook.
A daily routine promotes perseverance. No matter what, you’ll have to sink a lot of hours into your business before it takes off. There will be plenty of days where it seems like you’ve already failed. When those days hit, a routine will be your lifesaver. It allows you to ignore everything, fall into a rhythm, and get through the day while still being productive.
One of the most important skills to master is email management. Despite the fact that the tech world probably should’ve moved on from emails by now, the truth is that email reigns supreme for business communication. Want to succeed? You better embrace it.
Learn about email etiquette. Believe it or not, email has its own set of unspoken rules of courtesy and you would do well to learn them. Obviously, these rules can differ from person to person and company to company, but at least keep these guidelines for general email etiquette in mind.
Learn about email productivity. The more you succeed, the more your inbox will overflow. Fan mail, hate mail, requests for help, people pitching their own ideas to you — it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of it. That’s why it’s crucial that you learn how to email efficiently now before you find yourself neck-deep in all of that.
Learn about email security. Everyone’s inbox is vulnerable. Yes, even yours. Malware, hackers, identity thieves, etc. Do you want to lose your important emails? Even worse, do you want someone to hijack your email address? Security is about proactivity, so be sure to learn these email security habits before you get caught with your pants down.
HTML and CSS
The Internet is now a core aspect of life in the first world and most online interactions involve a website of some kind. If you don’t have a website, you’re going to miss out on a lot of exposure. There’s just no excuse not to have a website, and similarly, there’s no excuse not to learn basic HTML and learn basic CSS.
With HTML and CSS, you gain the ability to make changes to your website without needing to pay someone hundreds of dollars for simple tweaks. If you learn enough, you can build your own websites to your exact specifications. You end up saving a lot of time and money.
But the benefits extend even further.
The most important thing about learning how to code — whether a scripting language like HTML/CSS or a true programming language — is that it forces you to think in a new way. It emphasizes cause-and-effect, teaches you how to troubleshoot problems, and promotes technical savvy. The ability to code your own website is a bonus.
Marketing and Promotion
There’s no point in running a business if people don’t know about it. As an entrepreneur, your skillset must include a knack for marketing and promotion, otherwise your business will crumble into obscurity and die a lonely death. What’s the first step?
The easiest path would be to start with online promotion of your business. Ideas include:
Bottom line? You can’t be scared. Do everything within your power to get your name and your brand out there for people to find. If you aren’t going to market and promote yourself, then why should anyone else?
How do you know if you’re succeeding or not? That’s a personal question that requires a personal answer, but for modern day startups, success is usually determined by traffic, exposure, and sales. To measure success, then, you’ll need to know something about analytics.
The most popular solution would be Google Analytics, a powerful service that can track web traffic and break it down into useful metrics for you to examine. Other examples include social media analytics as well as sales reports, at least in the case of online or digital merchandise.
The real skill here, however, is the ability to parse and understand the data presented by whatever analytics tool you use. Are you able to interpolate when there’s missing data? Can you extrapolate a given trend into the future? Analytics can help you figure out what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, but the best entrepreneurs can use that data to see what they normally can’t see.
Be reminded that knowing these skills will NOT guarantee success. However, they will decrease your likelihood of failure and tip the balance in your favor. Can you succeed without one or more of the above? Sure, it’s possible, but it will be near impossible without a whole lot of luck. Don’t leave it up to luck.
Did I miss anything? What other skills would you say are necessary to know before starting a business? Have you ever tried to start your own business? Share your thoughts and wisdom with us in the comments below!
Image Credits: Successful businessman Via Shutterstock, Schedule Book Via Shutterstock, Tablet Emails Via Shutterstock, HTML Source Via Shutterstock, Word of Mouth Via Shutterstock, Tablet Data Graph Via Shutterstock