Archimedes, a Greek mathematician, philosopher, and scientist, once said: “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I will move the earth.” As a science student, I learned about Archimedes’ Principles and enjoyed the associated calculations. But this quote from Archimedes made a more lasting impact on me.
What Archimedes was trying to say is that, with the right tools and resources put to the right use, you can do things that are bigger than you. The lesson is on the power of leverage.
What does that have to do with being a modern entrepreneur? To that, I’ll say everything. Your capacity to grow as an entrepreneur today is directly proportional to your ability to identify and use the right tools and resources. But most people alive today don’t know the magnitude of access to opportunities they have, let alone what they can do with it.
Today, I want to share with you 5 tools that, if you learn how to use them, will give you the leverage to move your world. You don’t have to have these skills if you can pay someone for them. But you have to understand why you need them and how they work. If you are starting or have a tight budget, learning these skills will not just save you a lot of time, resources, and money. It will make you a lot of money if you put them into use.
1. Keyword research tool
Imagine you are a dog trainer and want to start a business training dogs for local customers. How will you know if there are people interested in your business? Would you start with faith and hope that people show up? What if there was a way to know if people are interested in training their dogs within your country or even your state? What if you could get an idea of the size of this market online?
Keyword research tools help answer these questions. You can easily figure out what people within your location are searching for on search engines relative to your industry. It’s the best research and marketing tool you can use when starting or getting your business online.
It takes away the guesswork and gives you clarity. You can find out the number of people searching for solutions to the problem your business solves per month. You can identify the peak performing time of the year; the level of competition for each keyword. With more robust keyword tools, you can spy on your competitor to find out what’s working for them. You then use what you find to build your digital strategy.
Building a business is hard work and takes time. But when you have done proper research, you can stick to your strategy with confidence. There are many keyword research tools out there. Some are free, while many are paid for. If you are getting started, you won’t be wrong to start with Google keyword planner, which is free. Other options include SemRush, Ubersuggest, and Moz.
Simply search for ‘keyword’ or ‘search engine optimization tools’ to learn more about these tools. Or sign up on Google Ads to start playing with Keyword Planner.
2. Data analytics skills
There is a common saying today that ‘data is the new gold.’ And this is no exaggeration. Keyword research tools are built on data. Search engines aggregate what people type in when searching for information and share this data with users.
Google shares its data with potential advertisers through Keyword planner, for example. It’s all about data. But keyword research is only a fraction of data analysis. For any digital activity you engage in, you leave a footprint that someone somewhere can use to identify your persona.
For instance, on YouTube, from the analytics, we can see the videos that get the most percentage of views. We can see the parts of the videos where people dropped off. We can tell which topics perform better; what time of day we get the most viewers. Plus, more information to help us improve our strategy.
On our afterschoolafrica.com, we can see which articles perform better, the most dominant age range of our visitors, their interests, where they come from, and a lot more. Many businesses today make money from selling their user data to companies and governments. Every app, website, or tool you use on the internet leaves data behind.
As a modern entrepreneur, you should also use data to your advantage. Data is useless without organizing, analyzing, and making intelligent decisions from them. That is what data analytics is meant to do; help you make sense of raw data to make smarter decisions. Keep this phrase in mind, ‘you can’t grow what you can’t measure’.
3. Content development skill
You may think everyone already gets content development. After all, people read blogs and watch videos online. But in reality, most people, including business owners, don’t yet get the potential of content development.
Think of it this way. Let’s take a secondary school English teacher, for example. This teacher has to go to class every time to teach a curriculum to maybe, 30 students for three terms. She will have to repeat the same curriculum yearly for an average of 30 students. In 5 years, this teacher would have taught 150 students.
The same teacher can take these same materials and develop them into an online course. She could use her voice or a text to speech application for the voice-over. Her content can easily reach one million people in one year without having to repeat herself. While she is on vacation, chatting with friends, haggling prices at the market, or raising her kids, her online content will continue to serve people for years to come.
You can extrapolate this illustration into business, marketing, training, and other commercial human interaction. Digital content development is powerful stuff. I see it as creating an army of virtual employees dedicated to working for you for as long as they can be found online. Every modern entrepreneur should have a public content repository in the form of a website or blog or video platform. Your content will do the job of bringing customers and clients to your business.
4. Search engine skill
Three people comprise the search engine ecosystem; searchers, content creators, and advertisers. It all begins with the content creator. Let’s say you have an interest in restaurants that sells local food. You start a website reviewing local food restaurants. Someone looking for a good restaurant for local food goes to a search engine to find your content. A restaurant within your location advertises on search engines so that the searcher can find them while searching.
These three entities need to perfect their search engine skills. As a searcher, you need to understand how best to find what you are looking for; as a content creator, you need to understand how best to get the searchers to find you; and as an advertiser, you need to understand how best to attract the right prospects cost-effectively. As a modern entrepreneur, you will likely be playing all three roles at different times. Mastering how to get the most from the search engine in all cases will make the difference between competing in obscurity and playing at the top of your game.
5. Digital marketing skill
Let me tell you what digital marketing is not. Digital marketing is not creating a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page and posting regularly. It’s not about practicing follow-for-follow on Twitter and looking for companies to pay you to promote their product on your page.
The whole point of digital marketing is about reaching a specific group of people at the right place and the right time and making them take action online. Notice the key phrases; specific group of people, right place, right time, taking action. Keyword research, data analytics, content development, and social media are all tools to help you achieve these objectives efficiently and effectively. So to develop your digital marketing skills, you need a minimum of intermediate understanding of the abovementioned concepts.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, you don’t have to learn all these skills yourself. You can hire people to do them for you. But you should have at least basic knowledge of how they work and their role to grow your business.