May 29, 2019 Last updated May 28th, 2019 113 Reads share

An Entrepreneur’s Most Bankable Skill — Learning

Entrepreneurs Most Bankable Skill is LearningImage Credit:

As you progress in your entrepreneurial journey, you will realize that things are always changing.

The interests of your target audience, the technology used to operate your back office, your product/service platform and a plethora of other integrated components both directly and indirectly related to your business.  Your strategic prowess and monetary success depend heavily on your ability to grow and to continuously improve.  Your ability to adjust and transform in the face of these changes can be your greatest strength.  Get comfortable with change.  Learn to learn.

Keep Learning!

You will need to continue “being better” in many different areas of the business:

Learning to Improve Your Core Offering:

Your initial launch is not your final product or service.  You started with an idea based on some input from the market.  It is likely that you incorporated your own subject matter expertise.  You built an offering to service a need and to support a specific audience.  This is a wonderful start.  Your product will do well if it can continue to evolve and iterate in a way that makes it more and more user-friendly.  It will transform your current customers into evangelists and super users if it continues to progress toward a more precise and succinct solution.  As the vision of the product is clarified through user interactions and your own industry experiences, as long as you are willing to obey the signs, you can use this intelligence to refine what you sell.

Learning to Communicate with Current/Prospective Customers:

You will want to communicate with your users through focus groups, surveys, and website a/b testing.  Additionally, you will want to incorporate analytics in your review of product/service performance.  Using tools such as MixPanel or Google Ads or Unbounce, you want to capture every detail about engagement and interaction.  For example, this may include the time of day users see your ads or click on your website and demographic detail of viewers (gender, age, geographical location, etc.).  It could also include the popularity of your chosen keywords, the type of device a user is reaching from and the number of conversions your impressions and clicks are getting along with many other data points.

You will want to learn to read the data to find out what your prospective customers are saying to you about your product. It is often as important if not more important than what they tell you directly in feedback.  There is some meaningful advice in this article about digital marketing.  You will need to commit to learning how to learn.  This means that you are always on the lookout for new metrics to study to determine how customers live with your product.  For example, you may want to explore sentiment analysis (what users and prospective customers “feel” about your product) and go beyond even the data.  Be open to new ways of extrapolating customer satisfaction with and need for your offering.

Learning to “Read the Room” and Build Based on Data:

As you learn to communicate with your audience, you can simultaneously learn to take action based on that communication.  Shorten the time between product/service updates. You can deploy an offering today that is improved every day. You might publish your landing page offering your service and share that link with friends and family and early adopters on your email list. For example, you will get input and advice and questions and concerns from this intimate group.  Then, you may make edits to the page and think through the logistics of responding to customers and packaging the product within the same day!!!

Give yourself permission to evolve in real-time in front of your customers.  SEO plays an important role in how you “read the room” and you can find out more in this SEO article.  Additionally, you will want to learn how to understand the impact that any change you make will have on your users.  Let’s say you make a change to your product. You may think it has improved functionality.  Maybe it has.  Maybe it hasn’t.  You find out for sure by scouring the data to determine user sentiment.

Learning/Re-Learning to Learn:

Finally, you will have to keep learning how to learn.  Traditional education might include a degree or certificate program at an institution of higher learning or with an award-winning learning company.  There is always room for this type of knowledge enhancement.  New pathways to learning include meetup groups that allow for skill development through the community of your peers or online MOOCs (massive open online courses) that may or may not charge a fee for a topic of study.

For instance, new learning can include the use of new technologies to discover information about your industry and target audience.  This can include conferences on an industry topic or Youtube videos from an industry influencer.  As an example, in a Customer Think article from 2016, the writer discusses ways to get to learn about your customers including social media research, past purchases, special events and an overall endeavor to find out “why” they buy.

Commit to Learn!

This may seem overwhelming.  Approach it as a journey that you continue to use as an excuse to evolve and get better.  By doing so, you can alleviate the anxiety of needing to arrive.  Focus on evolution.  Embed yourself within the process of improvement and learn to conduct customer discovery and sentiment analysis often.  Eventually, you’ll find that small tweaks to your product/service, your business and your overall strategic approach can make meaningful impacts to your bottom line.

Enlarge your love of learning.  You can simultaneously enlarge the success of your business and your product or service offering.  Visit www.pearlo.co for some ideas on how to improve your process of learning.

 

Christine Custis

Christine Custis

Dr. Christine D. Custis is an assistant professor at Shenandoah University in the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business where she focuses on how enterprises should use information systems and technology to innovate and achieve organizational goals. Custis' distinguished career includes over 18 years of experience with strategy, project management, and enterprise architecture. This has resulted in a plethora of technical publications and awards. She has worked at IBM, BearingPoint, and The MITRE Corporation among others. Custis earned a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Florida A&M, M.S. in Computer Science from Howard University, and a Ph.D in Business Administration from Morgan State University.

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