What's your reason for being online? You can only build your skills if you have a real reason to do it. At school, our reason for building skills was to pass those exams that led to our futures. In the world of work, it's earning power that gives us an incentive. But the online space is a bit different.

After all, the things we do online are exactly what we do in the real world, aren't they? We communicate. We shop. We search for information. But there's a world of difference between the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Google - having the skills to do everyday tasks in the online space opens a world of opportunity.

For many people, it's a daunting prospect to take the first steps into the online space. Anyone who left school before 1985 is unlikely to have used computers in class or at home - and until the World Wide Web opened up in 1993, computers at work were a tool used by specialists. Finding ourselves two short decades later with so much opportunity focused online can seem overwhelming. What's the best way to build those online skills? Do you dip a toe in the water, or just jump in and hope to swim?

Find one reason to use the online space

Can you think of one thing you hate doing that you would like to make more efficient, more effective, and generally faster and easier? It could be a personal task - or something in business which you really need to change to move forward. If you have a goal in mind, something to aim for, the digital world stops being quite so daunting. It's just another, better way to do what you already do. And on the way to reaching that goal, you will develop your essential online skills - communicating, searching, informing and transacting.

..... And now dive in!

Identify the most annoying, repetitive, or frightening task of your day. With the exception of making coffee for the office, it's a fair bet that a little time invested online will transform the task in hand. So, what's your bugbear? Here's a few we have tackled in the past.

  • Working through and filing business cards from an event? - Find an app on your smartphone that will scan and catalogue them for you.
  • Want to capitalise on those cards but shy on the phone? - Start interacting on Twitter and LinkedIn to consolidate contacts and build a relationship.
  • Got something to tell the world, but used to doing it in print with long lead times? - Look at blogging, online publishing, email newsletters to tell your story to a wider audience.
  • Doing the books for your small business, but always on the move? - Take advantage of the growth in cloud-based accounting systems.
  • Struggling to manage high volumes of paper files about your customers? - Find a virtual assistant who will transfer them to an online Customer Record Management (CRM) system.

Once you have your reason, you can build your skills. Once you have the skills, you can build your business online.

Article by Kate Baucherel of Galia Digital.

Contact 0191 300 2227.

NBSL LogoThis article is brought to you by NBSL's North East Business Support Fund which funds the costs of business improvement projects such as website development, marketing strategies, external consultancy – click here to find out more

The North East Business Support Fund  has hundreds of registered providers offering a wide range of business support. NBSL has used its best efforts to post on this web site the most accurate and reliable information given to us by our providers but does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and are licensed to NBSL for publication on this website.

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