The end of the year is always a good time to reassess and plan to improve yourself and your business in the New Year. It’s important to give yourself the opportunity to analyze the ways that you need to grow personally and professionally.
If you’re someone who only takes on learning when you’re hit by crisis, you may want to take a more intentional approach to learning. Failure to do so could be negatively impacting your bottom-line.
Taking the following 3 steps will allow you to adapt to the ever-changing environments in business and have the tools to focus on improving your business and profits.
1. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Gaining insight into your strengths and weaknesses begins the journey towards greater profitability. You’ll want to learn how to build upon your strengths and you’ll also need to learn how to diminish your weaknesses.
Identifying your weaknesses can be difficult because we all have blind spots - we don’t know what we don’t know.
If you’re not sure what your weaknesses are, ask your spouse or close friends for feedback. You could also engage a professional to help you determine if a 360 degree assessment with your employees is a good fit for your business. You can learn a great deal about how your team experiences you as the company leader with these assessments.
Internet resources allow you to explore a multitude of assessments that can help you more clearly define your strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the needs of my clients, I use ones that assess emotional intelligence, skills and behaviors, stages of development, personality or communication styles, and, of course, my own recently developed assessment on time and money, The Money Meter for Entrepreneurs.
2. Commit to Overcoming Your Weaknesses
When you’ve discovered a weakness in yourself or how you do business this is great news. You can now be very intentional about what you want to learn moving forward. While it’s not possible to overcome our weaknesses entirely, with intention we can at least diminish the power of those weaknesses. With the first moment of awareness comes opportunity for change.
Let’s say, for example, that you discover you have a weakness in the area of assertiveness. You may want to access books, seminars, CD’s or podcasts on communication. You can’t change something you don’t fully understand. Learn all you can about this particular area of interest. You can then set some action steps in place that will move you forward.
3. Seek Opportunities for Ongoing Education and Training.
If you’re in business it’s vitally important that you attend industry-related seminars and conferences. This is how you can stay abreast of what’s going on in your industry. When you attend such events, you hear from cutting-edge professionals in the field. You also learn what other business leaders are doing to manage the day-to-day operation.
Consider a seminar or conference as a way to unite with people just like you who care about your specific type of business. The best practices you will pick up from your colleagues can save you time, energy, and money. National or statewide events are even more valuable because you have the opportunity to learn from peers and colleagues who face different challenges. They may even send business your way should the opportunity arise.
The world of business is changing faster than ever before. It’s almost impossible to keep up when your buried in the daily operation. This is why being intentional about your learning is so important.
Smart business owners who want to grow their business and improve the bottom line must build upon their strengths, diminish their weaknesses, and engage in ongoing education and learning.
Don’t think of learning as just one more thing on your to do list. Think of it as an investment in your business and in your own personal development. The things you learn and the people you meet along the way can only add to your productivity and your bottom-line.