Running a business is a full-time job. And for many entrepreneurs, it often feels more than that. But should your business keep you from learning new things and developing your skills? Granted, there’s constant learning to be found in running a business, but it’s often limited to what you experience and the challenges you come across. What about skills that are unfamiliar but will be highly beneficial to you? The knowledge that will help your business grow by leaps and bounds? Or even the non-business related things that you’ve always wanted to learn?
Continuous learning is imperative for every individual, but it is especially important when you have a business to run. However, running a business often leaves little time for activities dedicated to learning, much less formal education, so if you want to continue earning while running a business, you’re going to have to get a little creative.
Use your idle time
Even if you’re a busy business owner, you will still likely have idle times throughout the day, such as during your commute to work or while waiting for a meeting to start. And during these times, you won’t always have something business-related to attend to. So when you have the opportunity to listen to an educational podcast or pop open a book, grab it, even if it’s just for ten or fifteen minutes. Despite being a not-so-focused way of learning, it’s definitely better than scrolling through your phone or staring into the void.
Sign up for MOOCs
Now that you have a business to run, you might not have the time to take formal classes, unlike when you were taking your bachelor’s or traineeship course. Fortunately, there is an abundance of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) that you can take at your own pace. Not only are these courses flexible and convenient, but there is also a vast pool of topics that you can choose from, such as programming, business management, communications, engineering, and much, much more.
Take on new challenges
In the world of business, stepping out of your comfort zone is often necessary to achieve growth and success. While it’s important to avoid biting off more than you can chew, this doesn’t mean you can’t take on new challenges that can help you gain knowledge for your business’s betterment in the long run.
So when a fresh, unfamiliar opportunity makes itself known, don’t immediately kick it off your doorstep. Assess if you will be able to take on this challenge first, given your current resources. If the answer is yes, determine the possible benefits, you will receive when accomplishing this task. Is it going to bite off a huge chunk of your time for a little learning experience? Then you should probably say ‘no’ to this opportunity. But if it’s going to help familiarize you with things that would otherwise stay unfamiliar, then it’s probably something worth the time and effort.
Learn from your peers
Your colleagues, business contacts, clients, and even employees all have information to share, whether it’s wise business advice passed from entrepreneur to entrepreneur or technical skills that you can only learn from the people that actually do the job. In fact, you are already unconsciously learning from the people around you daily. The only thing you need to do is pay attention, and sure enough, you will retain that precious knowledge for the long-haul.
Attend business events
Seminars, conferences, and other types of business events provide a great avenue for learning. At the same time, these events also offer tons of opportunities to network with other people in the industry, most of which you can learn a lot from. Hence, attending business events is like hitting two birds with one stone. On the one hand, you’re expanding your knowledge and skills in business, and on the other, you’re also getting to meet new people who can be valuable additions to your network later on.
Why is continuous learning so important for business? Continuous learning keeps the brain stimulated, enhancing your cognitive ability, problem-solving skills, and memory. Apart from that, it enhances your adaptation skills, which is crucial for the constantly changing world of business.
The people in your business will also benefit from your desire to learn constantly. When you promote the culture of continuous learning in the workplace, your employees learn skills to improve their work further. As a result, your workforce will be more productive and efficient, which will ultimately benefit your business in the long run.
Continuous learning is not easy to achieve when you’re a busy entrepreneur, but it’s definitely worth the effort. To incorporate learning activities into your packed schedule, try these strategies and find more ways to adjust according to your needs.