making time for professional development

Running a small business can be time-consuming, so certain tasks may be pushed back in favor of more pressing ones. One task that should be prioritized, however, is professional development. By making the time to learn, you’ll be better poised to grow as a leader and scale your business for the long term.

To help you achieve this, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) members responded to the following question:

“Running a small business can be time-consuming, but making time to learn is important if you want to grow. What’s one way small-business owners can make time for learning and professional development, even with such a busy schedule?”

Here’s some of their best suggestions.

1. Multitask With Audiobooks

“Use audiobooks! There’s a treasure trove of mind-blowing content that’s available to you during all those extra times in your day when you’re doing mindless things like driving, showering, brushing your teeth, walking the dogs and more. Just throw on a good business strategy classic or personal development manual, and multitask your way to success!” ~ Jonathan Sparks, Sparks Law

2. Put Learning in Your Schedule

“Put the learning and development in your schedule and practice great time management. If you tell yourself that learning is something you’ll get to when you have time, you never will. If you’re not efficient with your business-related work hours, you’ll never have the time for it.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

3. Watch Movies or Documentaries

“Learning from other entrepreneurs’ experiences is something I value a lot. I maintain a rolling list of documentaries and have it handy on my iPad. I make it a point to watch at least one every month either while traveling or during my time off. There are always one or two business or life lessons you learn from them.” ~ Vinay Indresh, Spacejoy

4. Hire a Virtual Assistant

“One way to make time for learning and professional development would be to find a virtual assistant who can help you with your workload. These assistants can create content for your website, blog posts, newsletters, social media posts and more to improve the quality of your marketing, giving you more time to spend on education and development.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

5. Speak at Conferences

“Early on as an entrepreneur, I spoke at conferences. By sharing my expertise at these events, I was able to participate in conversations and attend lectures that helped me upskill as well. I highly recommend attending conferences for the breakout sessions if you do not have time in your regular calendar for scheduled learning.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

6. Use ‘Unwind’ Time to Build Your Network

“I like to use my ‘unwind’ time at the end of the day to build my professional network on sites like LinkedIn. I find this strategy helpful for learning because there will always be people who know more than I do. I believe that connecting with these people and hearing them out is one of the best ways I can continue learning when I have a jam-packed schedule.” ~ John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

7. Use Business Problems as Learning Opportunities

“I think a great way to make personal development part of one’s daily routine is to use business problems as opportunities to learn. For example, if a client cancels their contract, instead of getting upset, see it as an opportunity to deal with disappointment or choose to try harder and learn from the experience. This way, you’re always learning and advancing, even when you’re busy.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Attend Luncheon Seminars

“One great way for business owners to participate in learning and professional development is to attend some luncheon seminars. These types of meetings are where you bring your own lunch or have a simple sandwich and salad lunch for a few bucks during a free or low-cost seminar. Check with local business colleges or incubators for a list of their luncheon workshops.” ~ Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

9. Fill Daily ‘Gaps’ With Learning

“A little bit every day does the trick. It’s about the collective reps put in, not the individual. Make it a priority every day to use ‘gap’ time, like driving or going for a run, as an opportunity to learn through a podcast or audiobook. In the morning, throw on a good TED Talk or YouTube video and listen while you get ready for the day.” ~ Nic DeAngelo, We Buy Loans Fast

10. Rid Yourself of Time-Wasters

“Identify the time-wasters and avoid them at all costs to make time for learning and professional development. Most of us are unable to optimally manage the time we have. Time-wasters — conducting meetings with no clear agendas, unorganized to-do lists, distractions and procrastination — can significantly affect the time we have that can otherwise be utilized on learning new things.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

Image: Depositphotos

This article, “10 Ways Busy Small-Business Owners Can Make Time for Professional Development” was first published on Small Business Trends

Source: Small Business Trends

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