Want to Take Your Business to the Next Level? Boost Your Marketing and Coding Skills.
As small-business owners and operators we wear many hats and require a great number of skills across a wide range of different disciplines. Many times we are looking for ways to take our business to the next level, and sometimes doing so is just a matter of honing and refining a few key skills. There are many experts out there who will suggest which skills are the best to learn, but some skills never go out of fashion, and other skills will put you way ahead of the competition in today's technology driven economy.
Additionally, as a small business or independent entrepreneur, you likely don't have an HR department. You are the HR department. You are responsible for hiring and training new employees, and sometimes the right person for the job who just meshes well with the company culture doesn't always have all of the skills you would like.
We believe that many small-business owners and employees can benefit from marketing and basic coding skills, and thanks to the Internet, finding places to learn and build these skills conveniently and cost-effectively has never been easier.
Why Marketing and coding?
Marketing skills are important because marketing encompasses the skills to find your target market, the group or groups of people best served by your solution, and to speak to them in the best way possible. Other benefits to improving marketing skills include but are not limited to:
- Better customer service and product offering
- Improved communication and customer loyalty building
- More effective and eye-catching collateral and promotional pieces
- Improved communication with other parties helping with your marketing efforts
There are many different computer languages to choose from to help in your business operations. Whether they are front end or back end languages, knowing and understanding basic syntax in one language will help you learn the others. Benefits of learning basic coding skills include but are not limited to:
- Being able to build small programs to improve workplace efficiencies
- Front end language skills such as HTML and CSS that will help you perfect your customer facing presence
- Improved communication to help you clearly articulate goals for internal and external purposes
Where can I learn these skills or find resources to give my employees?
The Internet is replete with sources to make online learning easy and convenient. There are a multitude of different skills training sites and programs to help you take your abilities to the next level. A few of our favorite include:
Blogs - Blogs are a great way to learn information quickly. There are a number of blogs dedicated to both marketing and coding as well as any number of other topics. Blogs generally offer an unstructured way of getting information and a personal tone from the voice of the author.
MOOCs - MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses are structured classes that may or may not have a definitive start and end date. Some of them are moving toward on demand schedules. MOOCs are essentially an online classroom where you will have teachers, peers, and discussion forums for class assignments. Many of the classes even offer a certificate of completion once the course requirements have been met. One of our favorite MOOC sites is Coursera, started by a Stanford professor.
Free, Mixed, and Paid Services - There are a number of sites that offer skills training that provide at leisure specific information on skills you're trying to build. They range in price from free, like the Kahn Academy, which offers videos and course content for free, to paid like SkillShare and lynda.com. Other well known online learning sources include TreeHouse, Codecademy, and guides.co.
Build Your Own - Sometimes you have the skills and the information, but you need to pass them on to your employees and save the information for the future to build customized skills-training for your employees. If that is the case, platforms such as Pubsoft allow users to create online libraries where information can be quickly published, distributed, shared, and collaborated on for both internal and external purposes.
How do I fit learning skills into already busy days?
It will depend on your unique situation as to what works for you. Knowing your personal and professional goals is key as it will determine whether you should learn the skill yourself, hire someone and provide them with the appropriate resources, or hire out the task at hand to a more experienced professional. You control your time, availability, and monetary resources, but here are a few simple ways to:
- Make time for learning. Block off a small amount of time for yourself. It doesn't have to be much. Block off small manageable increments to break up the day.
- Give your employees time to learn on the clock. Either schedule some time, or when there is downtime if they're on the clock pay for them to be learning, rather than sitting idle. Everyone wins in this situation.
- Use real operational problems to satisfy course project requirements. Many of the courses listed have some kind of sample problems or projects you have to work through to learn the skill. Use these opportunities to solve real challenges at work.
Written by Heather Wied, the marketing director for Pubsoft.
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