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As we move to an increasingly digital world in the post-pandemic age, it will be more important than ever for business owners to think of new ways to get ahead and stay ahead, says Peach Payments’ Head of SME Growth & Marketing, Joshua Shimkin. “Succeeding in the digital world doesn’t just require the right ideas and infrastructure; it requires business owners to constantly upskill to provide better solutions to their clients.”

Coming up with innovative ideas might be intuitive, but the skills and knowledge to grow and scale a business are teachable – from marketing to accounting, stock management, talent acquisition and retention. Learning opportunities and options vary from free and open-source resources to expensive university courses.

Here are five ways business owners are skilling up in 2022:

1) It doesn’t have to be a degree to be a valid and valuable course, as many businesses are acknowledging. One of the best tools for business owners to start their learning journey is in their pocket. Mobile apps such as Pocket MBA, SkillPill, and World Academy Online offer a range of courses or training on specific business skills.

2) The digital age has also seen the rise of online learning platforms offering university-quality courses. Enrolling in an Ivy League university as prestigious as Harvard used to be out of the reach of the majority of people. But in recent years, Harvard has made available a range of online business courses that anyone can do from anywhere in the world. If that’s out of your budget, business owners can access courses on platforms such as Udemy or the locally developed Insaka eCommerce Academy with material custom-built to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

3) Podcasts are another great online learning platform. The format allows for every budding entrepreneur or successful businessperson to listen to a range of business-oriented podcasts in their spare time – whether it’s during the early morning commute, between meetings, or on a flight to go sign off on an important deal. Globally, podcasts such as How I Built ThisThe $100 MBA Show, and The Tim Ferriss Show have featured successful business owners telling their stories and sharing their tips. Locally, The Lebo Lion Show has offered a range of discussions aimed at entrepreneurs, business professionals and even students on topics such as investing and saving, and how to monetise your skills.

4) Social media platforms and online forums offer opportunities to learn and network with minds across the globe. Many of us might just get our next cat video fix on Facebook or Instagram, but business specific forums and channels on these networks and messaging apps such as WhatsApp have become a great place for business owners to share ideas and ask for advice.

5) Online tools are legion, but there are still those who prefer to receive their information and learn ‘the good old way’. Online business magazines such as Forbes Africa and How we made it in Africa offer inspiring stories and insights into some of the most successful businesses on the African continent and the secrets behind their successes.