Continuing education and professional development are both processes that are key components of successful organizations. In this day and age, there are several factors that drive the demand for ongoing education for business leaders: abundant access to information, constant technology changes, increased global interactions, shifts in the industry, and increasing entry-level skills and requirements. Having an ongoing education is a minimum requirement for success in your field. Since information and knowledge are increasing every day, your knowledge must also increase to keep up.
As a business leader, you probably depend on your employees to utilize continuing education to ensure a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce. However, you should also participate in ongoing education yourself to ensure that you know how to keep your business competitive and relevant in your field.
Ongoing education can benefit professionals at any level, but it is especially important for entrepreneurs and those holding upper-level or management positions. Adding to your knowledge can be the difference between seeing mediocre and spectacular growth in your business. Ongoing education shows your clients or customers that you are committed to progress.
The way you go about continuing your education will depend on what field you work in, what your interests are, and what your weaknesses are. While everyone’s plan will be different, there are some things that anyone looking to add to their knowledge with continuing education can do to help grow their business.
- Determine your weaknesses. You may already know what you need to work on to improve your business, but if you don’t, take some time to figure it out. It could be management skills, people skills in general, or issues with daily tasks. Perhaps you’re not quite sure how to best utilize social media or email marketing to benefit your business.
- Take advantage of informal learning as an education source. You don’t need to go back to college or enroll in courses at your local university to enhance your knowledge. Seminars, webinars, conferences, podcasts, blogs, and more are all excellent sources to continue your education. As a business leader, you can learn from other leaders in your field or other fields who have figured out better ways of doing things. You can take free courses from Business Marketing Engine that’ll teach you better ways to utilize your social media and email marketing, for example.
- Utilize a mentor or coach to teach you how to excel. Look for someone who is very good at what you want to be good at, and make that person your mentor. Even if the person is out of reach, you can read their books, speeches, blogs, or attend their appearances. If it is someone you know, take advantage of their knowledge and talk to them about the subject you want to improve in to help your business grow.
- Don’t just store the knowledge, act on it. Look for ways to use your newfound knowledge in your daily routine. As you pick up on new information, write down ways you could make that idea work for you, and focus on how any examples are given apply to your business.
- Give yourself time to continue your education. You won’t become an expert on a new topic in a day, so set goals that will help you get where you want to be. There will always be more to learn, so utilizing ongoing education to help your business grow will be a continuing process.
As a leader in your business, there are mainly two types of ongoing education that you’re likely to participate in. When you’re trying to use your ongoing education to help your business grow, you’ll want to focus on the second type – growth learning.
1. Maintenance Learning
Maintenance learning is simply keeping current with what’s going on in your field to keep you from falling behind. This type of learning doesn’t add to your education since. It is the equivalent of checking the stock market reports each day but not learning about the companies or market. Maintenance learning is essential in keeping you on the same level, but it won’t improve your level of knowledge.
2. Growth Learning
Growth learning, as a business leader, is what’s going to add to your knowledge and skills and help you potentially grow your business. You’ll acquire new information that you didn’t have before that allows you to expand your mind and increase your business’s potential. The great thing about growth learning is that it can be free. By doing a quick online search, you can find excellent ideas from podcasts, blogs, and books.
At Business Marketing Engine, we continue our education by staying up to date on the latest in marketing, content development, and entrepreneurship skills so we can make those things work for our clients. Take advantage of our knowledge and complete one or all of our free resources to not only better yourself but to help your business grow as well.