Being a good entrepreneur always requires a cocktail of skills: people management, time management, interpersonal skills and so on. And success in entrepreneurship also requires knowledge – at least superficial knowledge – of some key academic disciplines.
According to Strive Masiyiwa, the decorated and renowned international entrepreneur of Econet Wireless and Kwesé Sports, these four disciplines are key: accounting, finance, economics, sales and marketing.
The Zimbabwean billionaire who has the highest engagement on his Facebook page by any business leader and who is a mentor to millions of people across Africa, told his followers that these four subjects are “the bedrock for any entrepreneur, irrespective of your choice of business.”
Here’s a a snippet of what he said:
“Accounting, finance, economics, sales and marketing: These are foundational skills. Take economics, for example: What does economics have to do with your life? Everything! The role of the government in your economy, private markets, consumer choice, production decisions, market structures, monetary and fiscal policies, unemployment, inflation, international trade and exchange rates… These are not just academic topics for professors. They impact you and your life, one way or another, every single day.
I’ll say it one more time: Accounting, finance, economics, sales and marketing! Yes, you’ll go on to hire experts in some of these areas as your business grows, but you must have a basic grounding yourself to be able to deploy and manage your teams effectively.”
If you’re an entrepreneur aiming for the league of the extraordinary, the importance of these subjects should not be underrated.
As an entrepreneur, knowledge of accounting is how you keep tabs on the health and growth of your business, and meet regulation requirements like taxes. It’s also how not to get cheated if you have an accountant, and how to get ready if you’re looking to attract investors. Economics and finance give you an understanding of your business environment (and the world too) and how it impacts you, and also gives you insight into capital markets, how you can access capital etc. Marketing is how you rake in more sales.
Looking to start that business? You can start by starting. You don’t need to know everything first. Knowing what you need to learn along the line should be enough. Make sure you’re also aware of the things to actually expect when you’re running a business.