The Must-Have Digital Skills When Bootstrapping Your Business
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The Must-Have Digital Skills When Bootstrapping Your Business

In a race to launch a new business or website, entrepreneurs can sometimes gloss over the details necessary to turn their good idea into a great company. No matter how hard you work, or try, you won't get everything to be as perfect or pristine right away. 

That's where staffing up and hiring a capable team to assist with the day-to-day operations will pay dividends. As you grow, you can scale the business and take on more opportunities than you than ever thought possible.

Still, at least in the early days, the core responsibilities for how things are organized, presented, and designed will fall squarely on the shoulders of the business owner. That means that you'll need to keep your professional skills up to date, as well as learn new ones along the way. An expertise in digital skills in particular will help you separate your company from the wannabes.

Here's a look at three programs that you might know a little bit about but, no matter your level, can afford to study up on:

Excel

The same way you'd keep every note or idea that came about through tactical sessions, you'll want to make sure that all of your planning – for process or budget – is accounted for an in order. A little attention to these details will save you a ton of time and worry down the line. 

Keeping tabs on what's coming in and going out is essential to the current progress and future success of your business. And you might be surprised how much a simple, well-maintained spreadsheet can tell you about your business.

Plus, knowing a few little tricks in Excel will take you a long way in presenting your projections and analysis – and in that will prove valuable both internally and externally.

PowerPoint

Once you have your head wrapped around what's going on in your business, you'll be want to communicate these metrics in a compelling way to everyone from potential investors to your sales staff to prospective clients. A well-designed slidedeck is a great way to do this.

Getting comfortable with PowerPoint, the most recognized business presentation program around, will help you tell the story about your company's vision and also your mission. When competing for work, you'll need to have be able to show off what your company does best and to synthesize it into a short presentation. 

As an bonus, the best slides can be transformed into select webinars that get shared and talked about beyond the boardroom. Those who create great presentations will rise above; great imagery is one of the keys to standing out.

Photoshop Elements

It's inevitable. One day, you'll need to crop a photo, make promotional signage or resize your business logo – and some basic image editing skills will go a long way when that day comes.

Photoshop Elements offers an easy-to-learn and easy-to-use program that will help you gain more control over the messaging behind the pictures you include. Unlike its Photoshop counterpart, which can be complicated and expensive, Photoshop Elements is tailored to non-designers' needs. 

Most of the impressions your audience will make will be non-verbal so you really want to dedicate your efforts and resources to ensure that your presentations will be perceived in the right way. 

This tenet is true for other visuals, too. Consider carefully what you put into your site's web design, photos within blog posts, logo, and more. 

Over time, as your needs change, you may hire a professional designer to assist with bigger projects. However, in the early stages of your business some basic image editing know-how will allow you to take care of your graphic design needs on shoestring, rather than kicking the can down the road.

About Danny Groner

Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Skillfeed. He encourages everyone to consider how they achieve visual storytelling in the age of desktop editing and publishing. Follow him on Twitter @DannyGroner.

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