To be a successful business owner, you need a good idea, a market with a demand, and know how to execute. You also need to have a set of basic skills if you want to be able to succeed. This is especially true if you have a few employees working with you.
However, many business owners have a vague idea of what it means to run a business, and find out that they’re limited much later on, especially when it comes to technology. But with the right set of practical skills, you’ll not only be able to run a tighter ship, but also have a much more hands on approach without having to constantly depend on outside workers. Here are some essential tech skills all small business owners should have.
Basic Computer Literacy
The very first thing that you will need is basic computer literacy. You might be old fashioned, but without this, you’ll be lost. No matter what field you’re in, you will need to have at least a basic understanding of how computers work.
Not only will you be able to protect your business better, but you’ll also be able to use the power of the internet to advertise your business more efficiently, and for less money. You won’t need to spend thousands of dollars working with a digital marketing agency or IT consultants. Not to mention that you’ll have little understanding of what they’re doing if you don’t have a formation and could get taken advantage of.
This is why you should consider at least completing an ECDL course before you get started. If you’re already running a business, know that you can get your ECDL course online through services like findcourses.co.uk. They will connect you with a variety of training providers close to you. If you prefer to take the class in a traditional setting, they can also help you find those too.
The ECDL will give you a formation in things such as spreadsheets, word processing and online marketing among other things. These are all skills that will allow you to run a better business, and could give you a serious return on investment when considering the help you won’t have to hire.
Basic HTML Skills
This is another very important tech skill that all business owners should master. HTML is the language used to build websites, but it has various other applications too. While it can be intimidating at first glance, HTML becomes much simpler once you learn the basics (or learn how to use WYSIWYG Editor like TinyMCE).
When you know HTML, you’ll be able to modify aspects of your website, like images, navigation, and design. You could also learn how to build your website yourself. It’s easy to start with a CMS like WordPress, for instance, and learn how to modify themes yourself. Knowing this skill alone could save you thousands of dollars on a website. And if you decide to have your website built by a professional, you’ll be able to do some maintenance and troubleshooting without having to keep them on a retainer.
If you’re going to learn HTML and build websites, you also have to be able to monitor their performance and activity. This is why it’s essential that you understand Google Analytics and always work on improving your material.
Google Analytics is very straightforward and allows you to monitor things such as the number of unique visits, enter and exit pages, and how long visitors are staying on your website. But one of the most valuable things you’ll learn is something called the bounce rate.
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that come in and come out of your website without visiting any other pages. Bounce rates could give you a clear idea that there’s something wrong with your website. But furthermore, sites with high bounce rates are viewed unfavourably by search engines, which will hurt your visibility on them.
Search Engine Optimisation
Speaking of search engines, search engine optimisation, or SEO for short, is one of the most valuable skills that you could learn. SEO is the science of increasing your visibility on search engines. But it’s also about knowing how to avoid mistakes that could end up hurting your website.
SEO is not about “tricking” search engines. It’s more about how to apply best practices in order to organically move up the search results for specific terms. SEO can be a great way to build tons of organic traffic, and when you know SEO, you don’t have to constantly pump money into it. And even if you don’t intend to do your SEO campaigns yourself, it will allow you to better understand what SEO agencies are doing when you hire them.
Email marketing is one of the most efficient and powerful marketing tools that you can use. It’s laser targeted, cost-effective, scalable, and quantifiable. You could use it to build a loyalty program and inform clients about special deals. You can also use it to gain a following online, and inform people about product launches. And, if you have basic skills, email marketing is pretty simple. This is one of the best skills that you can have if you don’t want to overspend on advertising and want to get the most bang for your buck.
Social media is another tool you’ll need to master if you want to be able to build your brand. It plays a central role in a lot of people’s lives, and is much more powerful than traditional media in many cases.
When you understand how social media works, you’ll be able to build a connection between your brand and large audience. You can also learn how to use viral marketing techniques and how to use hashtags. Social media is one of the most cost effective marketing methods that you can find so it’s well worth investing in.
This is one of the most important things that you can learn if you want to not only be able to process online payments, but offline payments as well. There are tons of apps that allow you to accept mobile payments nowadays without the need for an expensive merchant account.
Understanding how payment processing works is also important if you’re trying to add things like a shopping cart to your website. But more importantly, understanding it will also allow you to guard yourself against attacks, and make sure that your clients’ payment information remains secure at all times.
This is another crucial skill that all business owners should have. You can always hire a consultant, or use a managed solution, but without a basic knowledge of how IT security works, you’ll always be vulnerable.
With an in depth knowledge of IT, you’ll be able to identify attacks quickly, find leaks in your organisation, and be able to implement the right solutions to prevent malicious attacks from inside or out. Not only that, but you’ll be able to set up a clear IT security policy in your organisation, and make sure that everyone follows through.
These are only some of the tech skills that will help you as a business owner. However, these could make a big difference on how dependent you’ll be on subcontractors, and will allow you to have a clearer understanding of the tech aspects of your business.