When it comes to starting your business as long as you have the skills your business needs, it matters little how much or how little formal education you have, however to succeed in business you need to understand that continual learning is part of the game. Without the willingness to keep learning, you’ll get overtaken by others who are willing and open to keep learning. Change is part of the landscape of business, what was popular yesterday is not popular today. This requires any business owner to keep learning if they want to succeed for years and years to come.
Look back a few years at the changes in your industry and it’s amazing how much technology has changed the way we all do business. Who would have ever imagined that social media marketing, or email marketing or even content marketing would be as necessary today as they are? It doesn’t even matter what kind of business you have today; if you’re not involved with those three types of marketing you’re dead in the water and slowly sinking.
Even if you are a service provider, it’s imperative to keep up to date on potential new services your target audience needs. Think about it in terms of “desktop publishing,” which was popular a few years ago to the point where anyone who had any computer skills at all could make a living in desktop publishing. Today, you need to be much more specific and specialized, for example you might instead specialize in Kindle publishing.
By continually learning about your industry and your audience, you’ll find yourself in a much better position to create useful products that solve real problems for your target audience. By problem solving based on learning, you’ll stay in business a lot longer than those who are too focused on staying the same.
The more you learn about your target audience, the more you’ll understand which problems they need solved. You’ll also understand how they prefer to solve their problems. For instance, some audiences prefer highly advanced technology, while others do not. You can’t know that if you don’t learn about your audience.
There are numerous places to take courses and learn today. Many business associations, chambers of commerce and business coaches teach others how to start and run successful businesses. A lot of colleges and universities offer courses as well. Those who have succeeded before you offer many learning opportunities that you can and should take advantage of. You’ll see them if you keep your eyes open and don’t forget to start your research online.
In-person and online events such as webinars are fabulous ways to learn something fast. Not only that, you’ll also make connections that you would not otherwise make, and gain insights and help you would otherwise miss out on. It might feel strange and outside of your comfort zone but events are excellent ways to stay involved in learning new things in your niche.
There are paid and unpaid internships available if you keep your eyes open. If you’re very new to a niche, or you find a guru that you enjoy following, ask them if you can intern for them for a set period of time free. Be willing to devote 10 to 20 hours a week, and get ready to learn.
The people in your industry who are very popular, famous or infamous, have a lot to teach you. It doesn’t matter how much of an expert you are; you can always learn something from someone else. Use social media to locate these movers and shakers and follow them. Read what they write and read what they recommend. Agree or disagree with them; you’ll learn something new and you’ll have fun along the way.
Once you realize that lifelong, continual learning is something that you’re going to be involved in forever as a business owner, you’ll come to love it. Learning new skills will keep your business fresh, your audience happy, and it will keep you from either being bored or becoming extinct. Remember, we don’t use an abacus or slide rule for maths anymore. Don’t be left behind because of your unwillingness to learn and change.