If you’re an entrepreneur, you will definitely be giving undivided attention to all the conundrums coming your way – the structure of your business model, networking, investments and seemingly everything else under the sky. It’s easy to get caught up in these, overwhelming as they are for a beginner.
Opportunities for growth are abound and every turn in the entrepreneurial industry only adds to your learning curve. While you’re at it, stop to pick up some tech skills before starting your journey. Why, you ask, when you can always hire? Being an entrepreneur is all about being independent. An understanding of some of these basic technical skills will only make you better equipped to run your business. The lesser your dependence, the better your business performs.
This is an essential skill needed to mould the face of your business – your website. A basic knowledge of HTML or CSS will help you set up a website that’s simple in its functionality. Java, Python and C programing language are a few other languages that’ll complement this basic understanding. These will also faithfully come to good use when you’re expanding your business into android apps. Online learning platforms like Codeacademy are a good place to learn these fundamentals.
When you familiarise yourself with your Operating System, you’ll be able to make the best use of it. Moreover, knowing its features and glitches, and knowing your way around its technical maze, will free you of the fear of a system crash. Troubleshooting solutions are almost always simple, and if you’re armed with some fundamental coding skills, your OS will be entirely yours to control.
Free open source Operating Systems like Pentaho, Collabtive and the popular Ubuntu give the user a flexibility to mould and remould software codes. In other words, you come very close to customising your system. They ensure better security and also provide a community of users that help with technical issues.
This is a technical skill that’s on every resume, whether people really know all its uses or not – most often, not. It’s time to dust this skill because it is the most basic and easiest tool there is. It helps you stay organised, even if you’re only storing data. Excel goes many steps further from data storage with its excellent analytical tools. With its mathematical tools, visual analysis (charts), data consolidation, what-if analysis and many more features, Excel is a tool that’s more than fundamental. If your business is in the initial stages of development, there isn’t a better analytical tool out there.
You cannot, of course, be adamantly loyal to Excel. As your business grows, so will all the data that it generates. To handle all the ‘big data’, you need bigger analytical tools for management. Data analysis is crucial if you want to know how your business is doing, what may be going wrong and how you could correct it. There are many open source business analytical tools out there for just this purpose. Google Fusion Tables is a handy tool for large data visualisation. SAS (Statistical Analytics System) is ideal for advanced analytics and data management.
Wireframing is equivalent to creating a blueprint of your website. Knowing how to wireframe a page enables you to design and map the structures, features and their functions that make up your website. Since this can only be done by keeping in mind user needs, you will also gain a better understanding of customer requirements. Even if you’re not involved in the actual designing process, understanding how wireframing works gives you a general idea of how a web page, or even an app, is designed. But if you do want to handle the reins, there are basic HTML templates available online to get you started.
This forms the aesthetics of your business and is therefore crucial in creating a good impression on your clientele. Your logo, typeface and colours are some of the basic elements of graphic design that can be created without any technical help. You simply have to learn the tools of designing software such as Adobe Photoshop or its popular free alternative, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), to name a few.
This is a highly downplayed skill that tends to go ignored. If you spoke to people who make full use of this, you’d know how much time they save. There are also many email keyboard shortcuts specific to each account. If you know the shortcuts for selecting unread messages, sorting important or archived messages and even inserting links and bullet points, you will be able to manage your account and time more effectively.
The excuse of not being tech savvy is the biggest handicap for your business. Not only does it limit its growth but also makes your business, and yourself, vulnerable to competition. Learning these technical skills demands one thing only – an open mind. Like anything else in life, they are intimidating only if you let them.