Starting a business is exciting, but it takes more than just passion to build things from the ground up. There’s work to be put in, so having a good idea and some resources aren't enough. With the right skills and clear focus, however, you can turn that good idea into something great and really create a sustainable venture. Equip yourself with the following skills to help you get started (or even just brush up on your expertise at your current corporate career!):
1. Business writing
Whether it’s an email, text message, or social media post, communication is key. Often, before anyone meets you, they will encounter how you communicate first. This is the skill that directs you to sit down and write the purpose of your company, its vision and values, and core message. If you are able to clearly state these things for yourself, then you’re ready to send official messages for the business. Brushing up on your writing skills will also help you in your current career, especially if you have to send tons of emails daily.
To help get yourself started, pick up a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. The short manual offers practical advice to hone your skills in English writing, and it's considered essential reading for those in academic and creative careers. But it will definitely help you put your thoughts together in a way that's grammatically correct and easy to digest.
2. Basic coding
According to Big Think, “Experts argue that coding is becoming the new literacy,” and we agree. Nowadays, everything is online, so it's important for your business to keep up with the pace of the internet and be intuitive for your clients and customers. Put in the effort to learn this skill; it will come in handy when you’re building your website or adding on an e-commerce aspect to it.
Coding can be intimidating, and if you don't know where to start, browse the web for simple tutorials. Lifehacker has put out a series on basic coding—not only has it created video tutorials, it also explained coding jargon that might be out of reach to those who aren't so tech-savvy.
3. Financial accounting
The numbers tell a story. This essential know-how is one that will allow you to make predictions and projections for your business. It will also show you the value of your time and energy, helping you decide where to invest more to maximize your growth.
With that said, an essential accounting tool could be right under your nose this whole time, and you might just be too intimidated to use it. Microsoft Excel can be tricky, but there are tons of online courses you can take that will help break down everything you can accomplish on the app.
Just like communications, marketing puts your business in touch with the target audience for a specific purpose. Whether it’s to inform or entertain, it is essentially what sells the products and services of your company. It’s an art developed by listening and observing what your customers want in order to convince them of the value that your company offers.
This skill can be honed through observation of market trends. Professor and expert on viral marketing Jonah Berger explains how products and campaigns become successful in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. It's a must-read if you want more insight into how consumers view how products and services are marketed.
5. Operations planning and logistics
Operations planning and logistics ensure efficiency in your process, putting all the moving parts together in order to create one cohesive whole. Get the 101 on systems planning and production line processes.
This is the skill most tangible to your clients since customer service is one important aspect of operations planning. Stay organized by using project management tools like Asana or Trello, and brush up on some people management for when you need to coordinate with suppliers and your own employees. Then, line them up and set things into motion.
With all these skills, you definitely don't have to settle for a position you don't think will help you grow—either personally or professionally. Take matters into your own hands by looking for ways to hone these skills during your free time. Who knows? You might even become your own CEO.
This article was created by Summit Storylabs in partnership with CREAMSILK.