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Some people were simply born to be entrepreneurs. However, 90 per cent of startups fail. That’s a pretty hefty number. With that being said, it takes hard work, courage, a bit of luck, and most importantly, a respectable amount of knowledge to make it into that elite 10 per cent.

Acquiring new skills and wisdom will do a lot to save you money and put yourself ahead of competitors. In a business world running at the unbelievably fast pace of technology, business owners need to do everything stay on top of their game.

While some business owners have natural talents in certain fields, there are many components of business that take time to learn and implement.

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Let’s talk about four essential skills every entrepreneur should get familiar with to make sure operations are constantly evolving:

#1: Communication & collaboration

This one might seem obvious. But it is an area that a lot of businesses struggle with. In fact, 86 per cent of employees and executives say that lack of collaboration or ineffective communication is the root cause of workplace failures.

Good communication is perhaps the most essential ingredient when it comes to growing your business. This applies both internally and externally:

  • Internally, failure to maintain a functional dynamic within the office will pose a big problem to teamwork and problem solving.
  • Externally, without the ability to effectively communicate your unique value proposition, acquiring new customers is going to be extremely difficult.

Communication in business starts from the inside out. This means developing a system of transparency where no one feels out of the loop. If you need some extra help, WorkZone is a phenomenal planning, collaboration and communication tool that makes sure everyone is on the same page in regards to tasks and timelines:

A business owner’s ability to foster good communication is crucial in determining success both inside and out.

#2: Project management

Going hand-in-hand with communication and planning, strong project management skills are integral to a high-performing business and ensures that tasks are completed quickly and efficiently. As project management is an entity that must be implemented in businesses across the board, owners need to have this skill mastered.

According to a Changepoint survey, 80 per cent of project management executives don’t know how their projects align with the company’s business strategy.

There are five essential components that make up successful project management:

  1. Initiation
  2. Planning and development
  3. Production and implementation
  4. Monitoring and controlling
  5. Closing

Doing all this successfully is not an easy task, especially for smaller companies with limited budgets. Each project is different and involves different strategies. If you haven’t already, you might consider earning the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

Becoming a certified project manager is a great way to stay ahead of the game and pick up on the best strategies that ensure your business operations run smoothly. There a lot of great courses out there that can assist you in passing the exam. For example, Knowledgehut offers a 35-hour course taught by a certified instructor and provides easy access to all the information you will need:

Don’t waste any more time in getting up to speed on the best practices in project management. It might just be one of the best things you do for your business.

Also Read: What is the difference between a Program Manager versus a Project Manager?

#3: Coding

In this crazy age run by technology and computers, coding is an unbelievably valuable skill to have. Understanding the basics of HTML and CSS is extremely important as they are the most common core technologies for web pages, Java, or Python.

Luckily, coding has been made a lot simpler over the years. Tools like Code.org make it easy to learn how it works and how to use it.

Contrary to popular belief, picking up the fundamentals of coding does not require 16 hours per day of being glued to a computer. Even with a very basic understanding, you would be shocked at how much value you can bring to your business.

Most importantly, it allows you to implement your ideas in a much quicker fashion. For example, if you have an idea for an e-commerce website, you can develop a basic model yourself and not have to wait for a programmer. Present day ecommerce solutions like Shopify offer DIY stores that you can quickly customize using readymade apps.

Technology is everywhere. Get involved and learn how you can properly use it to benefit every venture you make.

Also Read: How to refine your idea to build an actual product you can sell

#4: Analytics

Data and business are now a package item. In fact, a 2015 survey by Gartner found that over 75 per cent of companies are investing (or planning to invest) in big data. Almost all important business decisions are backed up with this type of information.

Companies of all sizes are using big data to do things like: enhance product quality, improve marketing efforts, foster customer relations, or simply make smarter and more justified choices.

The key to using big data is knowing what to look for, how to analyse it, and how to properly use it to influence decision making.

Here’s a very simplified example: Let’s say you run an e-commerce website. You want to see how many buyers spend over a certain amount at your store (let’s say US$500). Simply go to the data on your point-of-sale software and search for how many people have spent over US$500 compared to the total amount of people who have made purchases.

Also Read: Practice makes perfect: Here are 8 things that every entrepreneur needs to learn

A good deal of big data is relatively simple to understand. But, there is a huge portion that might require some external training. Luckily, there are a lot of options out there to push you in the right direction. Zeolearn, for example, offers a top-to-bottom course on machine learning that will give you an in-depth understanding of big data and predictive analysis.

Learning how to use big data to make action-driven decisions is crucial for running a business in the 21st century and beyond. As an owner calling the shots, you need to be extremely prepared for every move you make.

Final thoughts

Running a business is a constant cycle of trial and error while learning from both mistakes and victories. As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats. Therefore, properly equipping yourself for all the challenges that lie ahead is the best thing you can do. While there is practically an endless amount of skills to pick up, use these four to make each business move one that yields outstanding results.


The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

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