Ecommerce has done a lot to democratise business, and the field has made it possible for virtually anyone with a laptop and a dream to have the chance of building a business that could literally make them millions from the comfort of their home. But this also makes many niches extremely overcrowded and makes it just as easy to fail. As easy as it may seem, an e-commerce business still needs to be treated as such. Owners who want to be successful still need a core set of business and other skills, or to hire people with the right skills to navigate them. Here are some of the essential skills every e-commerce entrepreneur and executive should have.
The 2019 skills report, which was covered in this piece by Aston University online, aimed at identifying the skills that were in most demand around the world and where there was a lack of supply. In all geographical areas, problem-solving was one of the main skills where there was a gap between what the marketplace needed and what employees brought to the table. They also mentioned that DBAs are a perfect platform for individuals with high problem-solving skills, making the DBA one of the most employable degrees.
There are many ways that you can improve your problem-solving skills. One of those which is surprising is learning how to work with your hands. According to Leland Melvin, astronaut and former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, working with things like Lego helps younger children develop problem-solving skills at a young age.
“When we let kids build things that are meaningful to them and it allows them to solve problems, they learn how to be problem solvers themselves,” he said. “They then start thinking about how they can become engineers or scientists,” he added.
But that doesn’t mean it is too late to start. One of the ways that you could develop these skills is to start playing board games or things like the Rubik’s cube. You could even work on DIY projects. Simply having to follow a plan and stick with it while solving some issues that come up along the way allows you to build the kind of problem-solving brain needed to be successful in all areas of your life and business.
An Understanding of Web Fundamentals
You don’t really need to learn code and know every obscure programming language out there to be a successful e-commerce entrepreneur. But, if you don’t have at least a solid foundation in HTML, chances are you’ll be limited.
You’ll always need someone looking over your shoulder any time you need to make some minor updates to your website. You might also not understand your site’s functions, and understand which features would be more or less costly, therefore making you a target for unscrupulous developers.
Here are some of the other fundamental web skills that you’ll need:
- Social media management
- Web security
- HTML and CSS
- Online marketing
These are only some of the skills that will help you in this field. Just knowing a little bit of HTML/CSS coupled with online marketing and SEO will get you a long way. Understanding a little bit of web security will allow you to avoid major mistakes at the beginning, though chances are you will need some assistance. It will also allow you to be a bit less dependent.
Knowledge of Business Law
Another crucial thing that is often overlooked is an understanding of the law. With the recent GDPR laws, not understanding things like online privacy rights could literally sink your business. So, you should at least have a basic understanding of laws in regulations in your jurisdiction. Some of the things you should master include:
- Company registration
- Intellectual property
- Tax regulations
- Labour laws
- Product liability law
Understanding these will be a great start, and allow you to not only stay out of trouble, but make sure that you look at your efforts through a legal lens, and be able to identify issues before they happen. You should also, however, consider having a skilled e-commerce lawyer on a retainer once you have the means for it.
Project Management Skills
If you’re going to be running a team, then you also should have some good project management skills. Chances are you won’t be able to hire a project manager in house, so knowing how to be a great one yourself will not only allow you to save time but be able to stay in the loop if you do decide to hire one at some later point.
As an e-commerce business owner, you’ll need to be able to deal with things such as logistics, inventory, finance, and marketing. Getting the right formation is always a great option, but you should also start by using the right tools. So, learn how to get familiarised with different project management frameworks, and with some popular tools. Tools like Trello come to mind. Flock is another great one made specifically for marketing.
An Ability to Learn
But perhaps one of the most important skills for any e-commerce entrepreneur is the ability to learn and to adapt to new realities. Chances are your first business will be a work in progress. So, this is a great opportunity to learn.
You’d be surprised at how silly some of the first ventures of some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs were. However, it’s not only making mistakes that count; it’s about being able to see where you went wrong and improve on it.
Even with the right formation, the field changes every day. So, chances are you’ll have to continually keep learning and refining yourself, even if you have a world-class education.
These are only some of the main skills needed to be successful as an e-commerce entrepreneur. The best news is that most of these skills are not innate, and can be developed. However, you’ll need to have enough self-awareness to identify your flaws and find ways to correct them in a constructive way.