It’s a reality for most business owners, but no matter how successful you think you are, there’s always more to learn. Whether it’s marketing, sales, operations, or finance, you can’t know everything and there’s always gaps to fill. But how do you know when it’s time to invest in additional training and education? Will it be worth your time? And what areas should you be focused on?
Here we’ll discuss the importance of business education and what questions you need to ask yourself to determine if it’s time for you to invest in additional training.
1. How much knowledge and/or experience do you have running a business?
A good first step is to take inventory of your past experience and current knowledge. If you don’t have much knowledge or experience, it’s a pretty great indication that you need to invest in business education. Even though you may think you have some of the basics down, be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to admit you might at least need a refresher course or two. In this case it’s better to be proactive instead of potentially letting your business fail.
2. Is there anyone else involved in your business that can help?
Very few business owners become a success all on their own. Maybe you have friends, family, or business partners that can lend a hand with their knowledge, experience, or expertise? Take an inventory of people in your immediate circle that can potentially add value to your development. If it happens that you’re running your business all on your own, you may want to look into acquiring a more formal business education to help you run things correctly.
3. Is your small business struggling?
If you do currently own or operate a small business, you need to be honest with yourself about that state of things. How are things trending? Have you seen an increase or decrease in business over the last few years? Look at your strategy and processes as well. If it appears that you’re making things up as you go or “flying by the seat of your pants”, you’re likely spending too much time and money trying to reinvent the wheel. A business education can help improve and streamline your operations to make your business successful in over the long run.
4. What are your business’ internal strengths and weaknesses?
No matter what shape your business is currently in, there are sure to be both strengths and weaknesses that will become apparent upon examination. You’ll want to map these out to see if investing in business education might fill any gaps. Maybe your strong suit is marketing, but management and operations are areas in which you lack experience? By determining these strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to find a business program that’s right for you.
5. Have you ever developed a detailed strategy?
No business owner likes to think they started a business without having much of a plan, but it happens more often than you think. Maybe you had a general idea of the direction you wanted to go from the start, but you never actually put anything down on paper? You need to take an inventory of whether or not you’ve developed things like a formal business plan, mission statement, marketing strategy, and financial framework. If you don’t have these or they’re partly incomplete, it might not hurt to invest in some business training to make sure you have all the bases covered strategically.
6. How valuable is your time?
If you’re like most other business owners, you’re extremely busy and have a jam-packed schedule. You need to consider whether or not the business training program will actually be worth the time in terms of opportunity cost. On the other hand, think in terms of the long term time-savings payoff. Many SBDC clients say that our programs saved them years of frustration and struggle while trying to grow their business. At the PCC Small Business Development Center, our program functions so that you’ll only have to devote a few hours a month to attend sessions and meet with advisors, leaving you the time you need to actually run your business.
So if you were asking yourself, “Do I need business education?," after honestly considering these six points you’ll have a clear answer and be ready to take the next steps if you do.