2020 is a year for skilling up. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, this is your year to brush up on your soft and hard skills, and go into 2021 as prepared as possible.
2020’s climate has lead to many small businesses pivoting and finding a new direction just to stay afloat. Companies and their employers are no longer looking for the same set of skills they were looking for in 2019. People need to adapt their skillsets, just as drastically as businesses have had to adjust their business models.
In this article, we’ll explore ten new skills that will help you be a better entrepreneur or business owner- taking into account the changes in our economic landscape.
Hard skills to learn in 2020
1. Data Literacy
Data literacy focuses on the ability to read, understand, and communicate data as a language. Many people will look at data sets and see a heap of numbers that don’t mean anything to them. Data literacy eradicates this confusion and means that someone will be able to make sense of those numbers, put them in a way that is right for the project at hand, and build actionable insights.
Data literacy is not a skill that someone needs if they work in a particular department. It’s a skill that everyone needs, no matter where they work. It will allow someone to understand business goals better, make sense of KPIs, and communicate with other departments on why projects begin as well a the priority they’ve been given.
2. Tech Savviness
This is a skill that’s constantly evolving, keeping up with technology. It’s not something that you can turn around to an employer and say, “look, I have this qualification in tech-savviness.” It’s more so something you’ll show in a recruitment process by recognizing the tools the employer uses to host a remote interview, or in the layout of your emails and the way you deliver your CV and work.
Tech savviness is a skill you’ll demonstrate every day, and it’s one that you’ll build every day too. It will help you communicate better within your business and identify ways in which your business processes can run smoother.
3. Interactive Marketing
Marketing today is no longer a one-way street. People expect to be able to communicate with brands as much as brands communicate with them; this is called interactive marketing.
In harnessing interactive marketing methods as a small business, you’ll give your business greater opportunity to sell by creating conversations and engagement opportunities that will resonate with a potential customer more than a regular piece of content.
Interactive marketing can be anything from live webinars to direct messages on Instagram. As technology and platforms adapt in 2020 and beyond, you’ll see more ways to create interactive marketing content, and you’ll need to be ready to utilize these ways if you want to keep your business at the forefront of innovation.
4. Project roadmapping
2020 has taught us that we need to be as prepared as possible for different outcomes. Plus, if we can, we need to minimize any room for error on projects. How can we do this? Project roadmapping. Being able to manage a project is an essential skill emerging for business owners and entrepreneurs. It demonstrates excellent communication skills, ambition, and teamwork.
The good thing is that you don’t need to work on this skill alone. There are tools available to help your project management process run as smoothly as possible. Use things like a knowledge base,a business communication platform that integrate with project management software, and a video conferencing to ensure that your project roadmapping skill is as supported as possible.
5. Design skills
With a massive shift to online business models in 2020, there’s now great importance on digital design, which in turn leads to UX design. Design will be a top priority for businesses in the coming months and years. Strategic user experience has the potential to raise conversion rates by as much as 400%. There’s no questioning you’ll be a valuable asset to a business if you have good design knowledge. These graphic design books are a great place to start.
UX design will continue to be of utmost importance. However, we’ll no longer be looking thinking of it as a B2C or even B2B tactic for people to fall in love with your digital product. Now, it will also be necessary for B2T, business to team.
Workforces have shifted to be operational online. Although some may return to the office, there’s no doubt that many will retain working from home or remote work options to some extent. The experience that your workforce has online will drastically affect the output of their work and their experience working with your business.
Look to the design experience across your business, and you’ll be more successful because of it.
6. Investing in stocks
The stock market has flipped on its head in 2020. We’ve seen stocks in new businesses thrive, while other seemingly very secure businesses have floundered. As an entrepreneur, if you’re looking to invest in stocks, now is the time to do it.
WealthSimple has put together this guide on how to start investing in stocks. It’s nowhere near as scary as you may think if you’re new to the idea, and it’s something that can certainly bring in some extra income to your full-time gig.
7. Financial Management
This crisis has taught many entrepreneurs that the one thing they can rely on most in this world is themselves. We all need to be prepared for crisis, and we need to be able to understand what we can and can’t do with our money in a time of crisis.
Financial management has made our list of new skills to master in 2020, as it’s so important to be able to take care of your personal finances and the finances in your business.
We’re not saying that you need to take a degree in accounting if you’re a salesperson (although it would certainly be helpful.) Although, getting a basic understanding of bookkeeping software, knowing your way around an excel spreadsheet, and understanding the finance language will help ensure you’re prepared in the future, should another crisis arise.
Soft Skills to Learn in 2020
1. Adaptability & flexibility
Two essential things many of us have learned in 2020, and something that businesses have had to conquer as well. To some extent, you’ve been adaptable this year. Whether that’s a shift to remote work, a product pivot, or working with more limited resources than usual. It’s a skill you’ve conquered and need to continue to do so.
Flexibility is how easily and quickly you’re able to adapt. Did you accept the situation and make appropriate changes to your work, or did you refuse the situation and become challenging to work with? If you were the first option, you’re already off to a flying start, and you’ll need to remember how you adapted to be able to take this skill forward with you.
Flexibility largely comes down to a mindset and being mindful in your work. Consider incorporating mediation or sports into your routine, and you’ll be surprised what this can do for your adaptability and flexibility within the workplace.
2. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence as a desired skill set was already on the rise, pre-crisis. However, businesses across different industries have been looking towards emotionally intelligent leaders to help them navigate this period. It’s something that employees now need, and customers look for in a business today. It will continue to be a valuable asset to business success.
Emotional Intelligence encompasses many aspects of business. It’s positive psychology, public speaking, networking capabilities, and more. There are a few emotional intelligence courses out there if you’re seriously looking to enhance this skill.
3. Critical Thinking
Critical thinkers are active gatherers of information. They can consider the holistic view of a project and identify more information they may need to make a reasonable decision.
By becoming a more critical thinker, you become rational in your thought process. You also become able to determine and recognize strong arguments, understand reasoning, and approach new problems with a clear head.
Critical thinking eradicates room for error and allows you to make systematic business decisions rather than act in haste.
That’s a wrap on new skills to master in 2020
With that, I’ll close up on the ten skills you need to master in 2020. As I said at the beginning of this article, 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for many, including business. Times have changed, and we need to change with them. Try to be proactive in the decisions you make, skill up, and prepare yourself- and your business- as best as possible for the future.
Ray Slater Berry is a content strategist at Outreach Humans. He has been working in social media and content marketing for eight years. He specializes in the tech, innovation, and travel sectors. He is also a published fiction author with his first title, Golden Boy.
Producer Eric Dye 2020-06-30 14:37:55