Technology has redefined the marketplace, altered business strategies, and allowed small business to compete on a global scale. The information revolution has definitely transformed the business environment. In order to compete and flourish, small business entrepreneurs need strategies to gain new skills.
Here are a few we recommend:
Commit to a culture of life-long learning. When enthusiasm for learning begins with the entrepreneur or small business owner, it has a cascading influence on everyone. The most innovative, forward-moving companies are those whose owners have a thirst for learning. It’s contagious and attracts others--employees, clients, and suppliers--committed to growth. No matter your age or the stage of your business, embracing lifelong learning transforms you, your business, and your future.
Invest in learning. Did you know that the cost of lack of knowledge is higher than the cost of professional development? It’s a known fact: businesses that commit a percentage of their budget to skill development enjoy greater success. (Click to Tweet)
Develop a solid understanding of all business functions including strategic planning, market research, brand positioning, budgeting, sales, etc. The ideal situation is to focus on growing your core gifts and talents and hire the additional skills your business needs. Budget constraints, however, don’t always make that possible. Nonetheless, even if your budget allows you to hire the talent you need, basic understanding and knowledge of all the business functions makes you a much smarter consumer.
Create a reserve of time, money, space, and opportunities. The leading cause of fear is scarcity-based worry. (Click to Tweet.) That’s no surprise – especially in this crazy economy. Having enough to get by is simply not good enough anymore. Being well-supplied means you’ll respond better to the needs of your clients and you’ll be able to afford the risks – perceived and real – your business needs to innovate.
Don’t grow alone. Tap into a business coach, mastermind group, or set up your own informal advisory board to expand your knowledge. Business does not grow in a vacuum. (Click to Tweet.) Creativity is a collaborative process – even when you’re alone. Time spent in association is the trigger for those “aha” moments.
Become a “creative creator”. Coined by Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz and MIT’s David Autor (labor economists) and Andy Kessler (author and former hedge fund manager), “creative creators” are those who do nonroutine jobs in a distinctive nonroutine way. The “creative creator” will lead business innovation, economic growth, and their industries into the future. Invent something new in your field. Create a better way for clients to use your product or service. Raise the standards in your industry.
Do you have one year of experience repeated ten times? Or, do you celebrate ten distinctly different years of experience and ongoing growth that you continue to build upon? The days of business skill stalemate are long gone. Your future success and business growth lies in your ability to strengthen and expand your business skills. Life-long learning is the key.
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