This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on December 14, 2020 - December 20, 2020
Almost a year into the pandemic, people have found pockets of free time, thanks to not having to battle traffic to get from one place to another and/or the automation of many business processes. This precious time can be used for something productive such as upskilling to meet the challenges of a market in a constant state of flux that will not end anytime soon. Here are some useful skills for entrepreneurs to look at:
Rhetoric is basically the art of using words to convince someone of something. This study dates back to the time of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher who divided rhetoric into three modes — ethos, logos and pathos — or the appeal to ethics, emotion and logic.
Rhetoric can teach an entrepreneur how to persuade investors, customers and other stakeholders to get onboard with the company’s brand, product or business model. It can also be used to boost employee morale and maintain friendly relations with business partners, thereby opening the door to future opportunities.
Despite its importance, rhetoric is rarely taught in our primary and secondary schools. However, entrepreneurs can learn these skills through books, philosophy courses or online resources.
The Art of Rhetoric by Aristotle
The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation by Bob Burg
How to Win an Argument by Marcus
The School of Life
Freedom in Thought
Harvard Online Course
Python is a programming language commonly used by programmers and data scientists for software and web development, mathematics and system scripting.
It can be used on most personal computer (PC) devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux and Raspberry Pi. The programming language has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its readability and the fact that it is easy to learn and pick up.
Entrepreneurs do not need to be experts in Python to use the language for practical purposes. Even understanding the basics will allow users to automate mundane office tasks and even modify open-source code freely available on the internet to solve an immediate business problem.
For advanced users, additional tools such as pyBrain can be used to run machine learning programmes for predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) projects. It is a useful skill for entrepreneurs who wish to future-proof themselves or for the MacGyvers who typically solve problems unconventionally.
Programming with Mosh
Product photography is the art of presenting your product in the best possible light, both figuratively and literally. Great photos can even be taken using a smartphone, without the need for a DSLR (digital single lens reflex), expensive lighting equipment or large space.
Product photography might seem like an optional skill, but it is becoming increasingly necessary, especially for companies that conduct their business online or through e-commerce platforms. Those doing business online need to draw the eye of the potential customer amid intense market competition, and a good picture could be the difference between a sale and being overlooked.
DIY Product Photos — Easy, Cheap and Good-looking by Luke Ayers
Shooting beauty products at home by Mabel Lee
Professional portfolio websites
Financial literacy is the understanding and effective use of various financial skills, including business financial management, budgeting and investing. It also extends to the understanding of financial terms and documents, such as profit loss statements and compound annual growth rate.
The proprietors of small and micro businesses need to have more than just basic accounting knowledge if they want to grow. For example, they need to keep abreast of local tax laws to be able to maximise their tax benefits.
Understanding the complex nature of their own finances will give entrepreneurs a better understanding of the state of their own businesses, allowing them to make much more informed business decisions.
The Edge Malaysia
The Plain Bagel
The Motley Fool
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