Technology rapidly changes at a moments notice and it’s more important than ever to be on top of your game and open to new ideas. Business owners must have skills beyond their core competencies if they want to stay competitive. Learning is the key to growing your small business.
Gaining new skills
Gaining new skills helps you better understand your processes, projects and employees. This understanding gives you insight in to how your business is running and allows you to make improvements that drive efficiencies, maximizes resources and helps your employees advance in their careers. Access to education is readily available in different formats that suit your learning style and time constraints.
Learning environments exist online, locally and abroad. Some are free and others can be cost prohibitive. I’ve discovered that the best lessons come from experience, listening and observation. Some of the resources that I recommend are listed below.
- Online courses—You can learn just about anything online. From free college courses at Coursera.org and MIT Open Courseware to paid training from sites such as Lynda.com or from top colleges around the globe.
- Books—The greatest leaders read, and nothing beats a good book. These days you can get them for free or cheap from your local bookstore or sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or trade for them at Paperback Swap.
- Mentors and advisors—Learn from others who have walked this path before you. Some professional organizations have formal mentoring programs or can partner you up with another member. But if the professional organization of your choice doesn’t have a mentoring program, you can rely on Small Business Development Centers to help get you the resources you need.
Listen and Observe
Be attentive to body language and word choices when listening to employees, peers and stakeholders. There are often clues to what’s really being said between the words and if you take a moment to simply observe you’ll discover insights into bottlenecks and reap the rewards of being just a little bit smarter.
As Dave Ramsey says, “Your team will never grow beyond you”. The question to ask yourself is, are you growing?