The best business owners are always learning new things. The more skills you learn, the more you can provide for your clients.
It’s possible to outsource many skills rather than learning them yourself – in fact, there are times when it can be advantageous to delegate your weaknesses such as admin roles like digital marketing and accounting. That said, learning certain business skills yourself could be cheaper and in some cases more impactful. For example, if you’re taking on employees, it could be handy to have some leadership and HR skills under your belt.
There are many ways to expand your skillset. Here are just a few learning methods that you could consider adopting.
Take a course
Courses are one of the most popular ways to learn new skills. There are courses available in all kinds of niche skills from WordPress design to chemical handling to contract writing. Some courses may be necessary in order to give you a qualification or a license. You don’t have to take on a full three year university courses. There are plenty of online short courses, weekly workshops and even day courses in subjects. Many people enjoy learning with people and having the opportunity to ask questions to an expert. That said, online courses may allow you to work around a busy schedule without having to travel somewhere.
You can also educate yourself with guides on various business matters. This could include going down to your local library, downloading e-books or ordering physical books off the web. There are lots of books out there and it’s best to do your research first and read reviews to find the most useful guides. Look for books written by experts that have received critical acclaim as these are likely to be some of the most helpful. That said, you may want to avoid older books – a book on marketing from the 80s is likely to be outdated by todays standards.
Use the web
The web is a great free source of information. You can find blog posts on everything from starting a business to selling a business. Youtube also has lots of video tutorials and business advice vlogs for those that prefer visual learning over reading text. There are also step-by-step guides available on sites like WikiHow. Not all sources on the web are credible, but a lot of it is free and could be all you need to learn the skill you desire.
Get help from software
There are lots of software packages out there that can teach you skills from design to computer coding. Some of this software is available as apps, so you can learn new skills on the go. Certain programmes may automate services such as accounting software. This might not help you to learn a new skill – like hiring an accountant you’re simply delegating the skill. If you’re eager to learn and understand these fields, using such software might not be useful.
There are lots of consultancy services out there that can give you hints and tips specific to your company’s needs. Many of these are very popular – they can often be cheaper than outsourcing or hiring someone to take care of these skills. Legal advisors are on such consultancy service and can help you to write contracts and negotiate lawsuits. IT support is also popular – such companies can give you advice on how to streamline your business by adopting new digital measures such as security and time-saving programmes. On top of these consultancy services, you could also consider hiring financial advisors, marketing advisors and HR advisors. Some of these advisors charge on an hourly basis, whilst others can be outsourced on a permanent basis allowing you to approach them for advice whenever you need it.
Learn from your employees
Most employers neglect their employees as a source of advice. Whilst your staff may have less experience than you, they may still have skills from previous jobs and education that could be of benefit to you. In fact, some of the best employers hire employees that can bring new skills to the company.
Learn from your clients
Market research can help you to identify new strengths and weaknesses in your business. This could involve doing surveys on your target audience or simply taking in reviews and comments left by previous clients. Some clients may give advice which be used to improve your business. By determining which business methods your clients like and which methods they don’t like, you can independently learn your very own skills.
Learn from your competitors
Your competition is also a valuable source of advice. By keeping tabs on what they’re doing, you may be able to borrow tricks and find new ways to stand out. There may be promotions that they’re offering or marketing methods that they’re using that you hadn’t thought about. You can similarly learn from you competitors’ mistakes. If a rival business does something that people aren’t happy about, you know that this is something to avoid in your business.
Networking can also help you to learn new skills. You may get to know other business owners who can share their success tips with you. Business social groups such as rotary clubs and local business clubs can be ideal for gaining business expertise. Similarly you may already have friends or family member in professions that can teach you new skills – don’t forget to use your existing network as a cheap and friendly source of advice.