With no signs of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, this may seem like the worst time to be an entrepreneur. However, in reality 2021 has turned out to be a rather successful year for startups, registering the highest number of unicorns in India.
Indian startups are doing better than ever, and as an aspiring entrepreneur, the opportunity is there.
So how do you stay one step ahead in such a scenario?
In the digital age, where market dynamics change overnight, a traditional MBA may not be enough. Add COVID-19 to the mix, and businesses face unprecedented scenarios and limited budgets.
While original thinking has helped entrepreneurs cope with difficult situations, they have also come to realize the true power of digitalization. With the move of businesses online, it would only bode well for you as a budding entrepreneur to familiarize yourself with concepts including data science, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, and more. , which will help you manage your business better.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of businesses around the world and is no longer limited to the realm of science and technology.
AI can address three critical business needs: automate business processes, gain insight through data analysis, and interact with customers and employees.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba uses AI to predict the buying preferences of its customers on a daily basis, just like Amazon. Along with the introduction of the pure AI-based Alexa voice assistant, Amazon uses predictive analytics to recommend items to its customers.
AI can automate most business processes, relegating the most tedious tasks to machines and freeing up human labor for more meaningful tasks.
As AI talent is limited, an entrepreneur needs to be familiar with the technology. If you can understand the technological know-how, you would be able to identify the right opportunities, streamlining your business to make it more efficient.
No technology can help a business unless the product reaches the right customer at the right time. The future of a business depends on how the brand engages with its online audience today, or rather, its digital marketing strategy.
Digital marketing is not only cheaper than traditional advertising methods; it gives results faster. As soon as you launch an ad on Facebook or Instagram, it reaches millions of users, whose responses can be analyzed using free services like Google Analytics.
With India poised to overtake China in terms of the number of internet users, the cost-benefit analysis of using digital marketing for small businesses is extremely favorable.
Digital brands without physical offices have managed to have large brand recall, often without huge budgets for marketing. Paid ads can target a targeted audience, which is unimaginable with TV and print ads.
As such, understanding digital marketing is a must for any aspiring entrepreneur.
Knowledge is power in business, and data is the fuel that creates that power.
What does data science have to do with business, do you think? The short answer is that data analysis decides how a business performs today and predicts its future.
A data science degree enables an entrepreneur to predict trends and patterns of consumer behavior and move accordingly. Data science for business exists to solve real problems, where data is an integral part of discovery and solutions.
By helping to create detailed and personalized consumer profiles, businesses can combine data points to generate insights to target audiences more effectively. This means that services and products can be tailored to particular groups.
Finding correlations between age and income, for example, can help the company create new promotions or offers for groups that were not previously accessible.
Today’s entrepreneurs also need a knowledge of data science to conduct more accurate performance reviews of their employees. In fact, identifying suitable potential candidates for the business also relies heavily on the same technology.
Finance: still a key skill
Besides these new-age courses, whether you are a new startup or a corporate giant, a basic knowledge of finance will help both your business and your life.
As an entrepreneur, if you are serious about raising capital, you need to know how to manage your own money. If you don’t know how to handle your own money, you can’t be serious about handling someone else’s money. This is why a good understanding of finance and business accounting is important.
This does not mean that diplomas are devoid of value. While the startup ecosystem has always led the way by going beyond a degree on the resume, there are scenarios where a conventional MBA from a reputable institution can open doors for you faster.
Degrees also establish your credibility when you present yourself to potential clients as a startup. But more than anything, it’s often the connections you make in college that end up helping shape your career rather than the degree.
Ultimately, you will need to take a close look at your business and identify areas where you need to be an expert or have a clear understanding. This will help you make an informed decision on which courses you should take to improve your business acumen significantly.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)