To make a real go at it, entrepreneurs have to know a whole lot more than the business they’re entering. Skills with things like design software and an understanding of the web, the cloud and innovative marketing tactics are crucial for entrepreneurs who can’t afford to hire a whole staff right off the bat. Entrepreneurs everywhere, in every kind of business, should take note of these tech areas they need to be familiar with to compete in their markets.
1. Popular Workplace Software
Even though it’s often less efficient than the software most highly recommended on sites like Lifehack, you need to know all of the common types of software, whether you’re employees of a company or entrepreneurs of them. I was actually just tested on Microsoft Office for a job interview last week! It didn’t matter that I excelled at the superior Google Docs or that I was a master at Scrivener, a service which is at least as complicated and twice as useful. The only thing of import to those considering me for a position was that my skills with the inferior Microsoft World weren’t quite up to par. I know better now for next time.
2. The Cloud
Since it’s where almost all data is going to end up eventually, you’re most definitely going to need to develop a mastery of the cloud. Whether that means utilizing popular services like Dropbox and Google Drive to share and collaborate on files, making use of innovative apps like Evernote and Trello to revolutionize your personal productivity or just learning how to keep your online files safe, getting a strong grasp of the cloud should be a high priority for entrepreneurs.
3. Web Design
Sure, you can hire someone to design a website for you, but knowing the ins and outs of your web home is absolutely indispensable. A web designer won’t be on call 24/7 when you need to make a necessary change or add an update to your site, but you will be. Lynda.com is a powerful way to learn web design at your own pace for a far more reasonable price than you’d have to pay for in-person classes, adding tools to your toolkit that will help you better understand and utilize the world wide web.
4. Graphic Design
One of the first thing prospective clients and customers notice when looking at your product is the design, which makes it paramount for you to know well. Even if you have no intentions of designing logos or flyers or e-books yourself, you need to at least have an eye for design so you know when someone you hired to do the work is actually committed to the project. Lynda.com is a wonderful resource for both web and graphic design – for learning both the fundamentals and advanced features of popular graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign and more.
5. Social Media
Any entrepreneurs who think that social media is solely about instant messaging, photos of babies and what someone had for dinner needs a sharp knock to the head. Social media is becoming an increasingly important marketing tool for almost every kind of business. The only prerequisite for social media is for a company to want to build an audience, and you can’t make sales if there’s no one around to hear your sales pitch. Instead of hiring someone to handle Facebook, Twitter, etc., micro-businesses should have entrepreneurs who know how to make the best use of social media themselves, with apps like Hootsuite or Buffer. With the ability to manage social media and the other skills on this list, you’ll be off to a good start.
Featured photo credit: Trading stocks on a computer/OTA Photos via flickr.com