Digital skills are any skills that give you the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet. The internet has affected all aspects our lives and entrepreneurship has not been spared. Digital technology connects people and machines with one another to deliver an experience which was far beyond our reach decades ago. So how can digital skills lead to successful entrepreneurship?
Communication is arguably the most important skill you must master if you want to become a successful entrepreneur. You’ll have to explain your idea repeatedly. Whether it’s to pitch to an investor, a potential co-founder or your customer, being able to communicate on a personal and professional level undoubtedly will save you a lot of time and stress. Digital skills can help you in this regard. Much of the communication we do these days is done online and as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to professionally communicate via such channels like email and skype. Without digital skills, you may fail to pitch to a potential investor halfway around the world because you failed to set up your computer to have a Skype call.
Every business has a face. Think of brands like Apple and Facebook, and Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg spring to mind. These companies are not only world-famous and influential, but they also had a strong brand influenced by the founders. Everyone has a brand, and everyone is a brand. The way you talk, the way you respond to emails, the way you introduce yourself, the way you write is your brand. Without digital skills, you may limit your brand and reduce your chances of being successful as an entrepreneur.
Marketing is one of the most important aspects of business growth. You can build the best product in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it’s worthless. As an entrepreneur, you will need to reach out to your potential customers on platforms where they spend their time. An ever-increasing number of people are spending their time on social media and digital skills will allow you to market effectively to them and increase your chances of success.
Digital skills can help your marketing in the following ways:
– Help you identify your target audience.
You can perform cheap market research online and identify your target market. This will allow you to develop marketing efforts directed to these people. You can also study market trends (through tools like Google trends) and see what customers are searching for so that you can serve their needs. With the proper digital skills, you can even market to people on the other side of the world and expand your market.
– Help you drive traffic (visitors) to your website and physical location.
Digital skills will allow you to analyse traffic and see where you visitors are coming from and their behaviour on your website. You will also be able to know the times when you get the most traffic, the types of devices your visitors are using (desktop, mobile or tablet) and their locations. With this information, you can see gaps and address them. The data will also allow you to plan ahead and respond faster to changes. For example, if you see that your customers are preferring product A over product B you can then step up your marketing efforts on product B and increase the revenue. Without digital skills, your decision making will be crippled and this will reduce your likelihood of success as an entrepreneur.
– Help you undertake cost effective advertising eg through Google AdWords.
Entrepreneurs can compete with big business cheaply if they have good knowledge of digital skills. Online advertising like Cost-Per-Click (CPC) models are very cheap and effective as compared to traditional advertising like newspaper placements. Designed well, digital adverts can have a very high return on investment and can make it possible for cash strapped entrepreneurs to fight with big companies in their niche. You can even post promotional videos on YouTube for free and gain a lot of mileage. Without digital skills, it will be hard for you to leverage such online forms of marketing and you will be at a great disadvantage
–Interact and form relationships with your customers.
Digital skills allow you to have conversations with your customers on social media and on your website. Social media is especially important since this is where people are spending the bulk of their time online. Connecting with your customers on social media has the effect of building trust and warm relationships with the customers. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of repeat business and word of mouth recommendations, which is very powerful.
Your network is your net worth and digital skills can allow you to build wholesome and symbiotic relationships. You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with so to increase your chances of success you want to surround yourself with other entrepreneurs, visionaries, executors and champions. You can join online forums and groups on social networks where like-minded people interact. You can also reach out to mentors in other countries. By doing all this, through digital skills, you will be increasing your chances of success as an entrepreneur.
Here is a small list to get you started in your digital networking endeavours.
Clarity – Connect with your favourite entrepreneurs for mentoring and coaching.
AngelList – Social network for start-ups, angel investors and skilled professionals.
CoFoundersLab – Online matchmaking service that connects entrepreneurs with compatible co-founders looking to join a startup.
Meetup – Social network for offline group meetings around the world.
LinkedIn– social network for professionals with over 500 million monthly active users
When you start out as an entrepreneur you will most likely not have the funds and traction to hire a lot of people to help you get you venture off the ground. Digital skills can help you through the automation of some tasks there by freeing up your time and giving you the chance to be more productive. You can automate such tasks like email sequences and social media posts. This will allow you to save costs and time giving you higher chances of being successful as an entrepreneur. Below are some automation tools you can use.
Drum Up– schedule social media posts
GetResponse– email marketing automation
A good entrepreneur should be continually improving him/herself. Here digital skills will also come in handy. The internet is full of learning material covering any subject of interest to entrepreneurs from accounting to leadership and personal development. Through digital skills, one can research and find the correct learning material and consume it. Without digital skills. It will be difficult for one to take advantage of the multitude of free information online.
Recruitment and outsourcing
Digital skills can allow you to outsource some tasks online cheaply. For example, you can get a virtual assistant from Freelancer and this will turn out to be cheap since you only pay for the work they do instead of paying a full-time local employee. The virtual assistant may even be in another country and you won’t have to worry about costs like transport and pension for them.
As you can see, digital skills will greatly reduce your operating costs and this improves your chances of success as an entrepreneur. Digital skills will make it possible for you to compete with larger business and improve the efficiency of your business. If you do not have digital skills you will be short changing yourself as an entrepreneur.
I would like to hear your thoughts on this post. Do you think digital skills are important? Have you benefited from using digital skills in your entrepreneurship journey? Would you like to learn digital skills?
We, at Afro Digital, are commited to helping entrepreeurs inAfrica learn the digital skills that can enhance their chances of success. You can invite Afro Digital for digital skills training at your work place by applying here