As a small business owner myself, I often find it difficult to make time for personal development. But it is important enough that I do make the time. You inevitably learn something new every day when you run your own business, but there is value in making a formal commitment to self-development. In the long term, making the commitment to build your own skills is as good an investment as a new computer, a set of Snap-on tools, or a new phone system.
Working on your personal development doesn’t have to mean signing up for night school courses, although in some instances that can be a great investment. It can be as simple as subscribing to an industry magazine and actually taking the time to read an article, or spending some time to do some research on your biggest customer’s industry.
Here are some ways that you can develop yourself a little at a time, without too much of a time commitment.
Subscribe to and read industry newsletters – Almost every industry has a trade association, and that trade association probably has a unique website designed for its members. Whether you are a plumber or a CPA, you can find a group online. You can learn about what issues others in your industry face, and what things that they are doing to solve them. Whether you are a plumber or a CPA, you can find a group online. In addition to advocating for business owners like you, industry associations publish magazines and newsletters that can keep you up to date. Best of all, these publications are usually free.
Go to a seminar – There are one day seminars on a wide range of topics at a wide range of prices from free to many thousands of dollars. Seminars are a great opportunity to get some focused time away from the day to day grind. Attending a seminar is also a great time for networking and starting new relationships. In my community, the Rotary Club partners with the internationally-famous Sandler Training to host a day of sales and management training. This training is typically valued at $2500, but they only charge $199 and donate all of the proceeds to polio eradication. You can do a good deed and grow your business acumen at the same time. Click here to learn more about the Rotary and Sandler Training program.
Can’t afford to travel to a seminar, go to one online. There are a wide variety of virtual conferences from the annual Chik-fil-A LeaderCast, to other lesser known ones like Bizapalooza. Prices for these virtual events range from free to a few hundred dollars, but they are time and money well spent. There are several conference calendars online, check out the one at Small Business Trends for upcoming events.
Learn from the Masters – Fancy yourself a budding Donald Trump or an up and coming Jack Welch? Why not learn more about their management style by reading a book. Many memoirs and biographies of the captains of industry are available. Looking for ways to invest your profits, why not take lessons from Warren Buffett. Reading a book in the evening is a great way to wind down and get inspiration for the next day.
Taking the time to improve yourself is never a waste of time. I hope that these ideas will inspire you to focus a little time on your personal development as you develop your business.