Yet this leaves one important area unexplored: Should you reinvest in your own education or professional development to grow your expertise?
Why you should reinvest in your own success
The most successful professionals in the world will tell you that reinvesting in your business is crucial, and how you choose to do so is even more important. However, there are several ways to invest in your business besides spending money on new equipment or marketing. One option many entrepreneurs overlook for growth is their own personal development.
Investing in your own expertise may be the fastest way to help your company grow. Today’s entrepreneurs and freelancers need to devote time to their own education to see real growth. Your company’s success will be determined in part by how up-to-date your skills are, and how well you understand the latest developments in your industry—which may be evolving at lightning speed.
This may seem like a daunting task for a busy entrepreneur, but the benefits of continued education can be profound.
Here are a few practical reasons why investing in yourself and your education is ultimately investing in your company:
In modern business, the landscape is always shifting
The speed at which business changes is exponential, and what people were doing even five years ago could be considered obsolete today. Modern technologies, new generations, and shifting business interactions all add up to an unpredictable market. The way entrepreneurs act and interact with clients and employees is changing daily, and continued education can help a business owner stay on the ball.
When entrepreneurs fail to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies, their businesses can suffer the consequences, and opportunities to cut costs and make positive changes to the business community could be missed.
Just because you have been doing something one way and it has been working doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way of getting there. Investing in your education is one way to re-envision business processes and streamline techniques you use in client projects. When entrepreneurs educate themselves on the latest and most effective operational strategies for their industry, they are saving costs in the long run.
The Internet makes education much more cost-effective
When business owners think of continued education, many envision exorbitant up-front costs and time spent away from their companies and clients. But the internet is free, and you can further your education in the time it takes to drink a morning coffee.
Continued education does not have to involve lengthy seminars, night classes, or meetings. Entrepreneurs can educate themselves on a continuous basis via the web. Simply using time more efficiently (such as reading industry blogs, taking an online course or participating in industry forums) can create positive growth for your company.
It’ll help you earn more clout in your community
The more informed you are about your industry and how to operate your business, the more clout you will earn in your community. Striving for thought leadership involves continuous education. Every industry is constantly changing as new technologies are developed. You can show off your new expertise in blogs, e-mail newsletters, and other marketing materials.
In addition, you won’t be running your company with old techniques and practices. Observations and insights which were current when the company launched may now be out of date, and customers will notice. Innovative changes and streamlined processes are a direct result of investing in education, and it can create better rapport with your team and the market.
It’ll re-energize you
You started as an entrepreneur because you had an interest in your particular industry. Often, many business owners get burned out—and may need help refocusing on where their passions are.
Continued education is a way to generate excitement and re-energize your efforts. Information about new strategies, peer anecdotes, and trending business knowledge can successfully bring an entrepreneur back in touch with their business.
Without investing in themselves, entrepreneurs can become uniformed, unmotivated, and ineffective. Furthering their education can remind someone why they had a passion for their industry in the first place.
As an entrepreneur, you’re limited in the time that you can spend away from paying projects and by the budget that you can spend on professional development. Having a smart framework to help you evaluate different learning opportunities quickly and efficiently can help you find the right solution to your unique needs in the seas of learning options out there:
- How does the cost (financial and time) compare to the benefits that I could generate from the course? Think about profits from new deals, money saved from efficiency, and other factors.
- Could what you learn help you expand your service offerings, which could ultimately help you grow your business?
- Are there networking benefits that could help you expand your base of contacts? Does the learning experience offer a community that you’d like to be part of?
- Could certifications or credentials help increase your positioning?
Although continued education may seem counterproductive to a business owner, it is important for the growth of the organization. Entrepreneurs tend to consider time and cost as the two driving factors for success, and yet fail to see the role they play themselves. Investing in education can streamline processes, earn you business acumen, and remind you why you became an entrepreneur in the first place.
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