In order for a business to grow, those invested in the business must also grow. Entrepreneurs and leaders of small businesses often find it difficult to allocate time for professional development, and sadly when the leaders don’t grow then the business can lose some or all of its potential to grow. It is vital that as leaders we schedule time for our own professional development in order to stay in tune with changing trends in the industry, in technology, in processes, and in policies that affect our business.
In John Maxwell’s book “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth,” John recommends making an appointment in your calendar for professional growth. We schedule clients, meetings, inventory, as well as time to read and reply to email, so why not begin to set aside time each week to increase your knowledge and understanding of specific topics that can impact the growth of your business.
Start small. For example, you could read an article about the impact of social media on developing new customers, or listen to a podcast related to customer service. The important thing is to schedule the time and then track what you learn from the time spent learning new information, skills, or processes.
It has been proven that it takes at least 3-4 weeks to develop a habit, so I challenge you to schedule 20-30 minutes in your calendar for 4-6 weeks and create a professional growth plan. The plan will identify what you will do during the time, and describe why this is important to the business. You might look at ways to improve sales, train or manage employees, identify new marketing strategies, or other topics related to your specific business.
Keep a notebook (physical or electronic) where you can evaluate how to apply what you learn to your business; assess if you can use the information as it is given, or possibly adapt the information to your specific business. Documenting what you are learning and describing how you will use it is a great way to process new knowledge, and often it will give you inspiration to make changes the will positively impact your business. Share your progress.