When running your own small business, it’s a challenge keeping up with technology, trends and industry best practise. Particularly when you’re the one who’s so hands-on generating the revenue and servicing customers. How do you ever get time for your own self-development? There are three ways to both fill the needs of your business and yourself personally – Upskill, Outsource or Employ.
Upskill – Everyone needs to invest time and money in their continual development to keep up to date with industry trends. Whether that be attending courses, seminars, workshops or reading industry journals, you firstly need to commit the time, and secondly the necessary dollars. No matter what your business is, technology is continually evolving to make transacting easier and more efficient. Developments are occurring in all industries with new equipment, techniques and best practises that are being adopted by your competitors.
Imagine if a 50 year-old doctor who graduated from medicine in their mid-20’s, was still practising medicine with 25 year-old techniques, drugs and treatments! This is a doctor that I certainly wouldn’t be going to! You need to stay relevant, competitive and in today’s age, compliant to legislation, too. Personal development is not a cost, it’s an INVESTMENT in your and your business’s future.
Outsource – Let’s say you’re a hairdresser and you know your craft well. You’re an expert in cutting techniques, colour and styling. That’s what you were trained in. Then you decided to branch out and open your own salon. Where in your training to become a hairdresser did they teach you marketing, business management, staff management and HR practises etc.?
Sure, these are all things you could potentially learn if you invested the time and money to upskill, but then that would take you away from your chair and generating income. Sometimes you need to make a calculated judgement call to continue to do what you do best, and outsource the rest.
“Do what you do best, and outsource the rest.”
- Peter Drucker -
In doing so, you’re not only enlisting the help of subject experts; let’s say a bookkeeper, business coach or a digital marketer, but by working with them you will also gain a deeper understanding of your business and learn new skills, too. It’s important that they work WITH you, not just FOR YOU, so you gain an understanding of what they’re doing and why.
Employ - As your business grows or the needs of your business and market place changes, it may be more economical or efficient to hire the expertise you need, rather than outsourcing on a contract or casual basis. Even look at the feasibility of part-time staff to keep your overheads down. There is a growing demand for people wanting to only work part-time for lots of different reasons. The advantage of permanent staff, if trained and onboarded well, is they learn about your business intimately, become part of your team and work towards common visions and goals.
Surround yourself with strength.
When forming teams during my career, I always believed in surrounding myself with strength by hiring people with the skills and attitude to do their job better than I could ever do. It sounds a no brainer right? Why would you ever hire someone who doesn’t meet your expectations?
I have also learned so much from numerous talented individuals that I hired into my team over the years too, which again has helped my self-development. Recruit the right people and they will bring new skills and enthusiasm to you and your business.
Above all, you as a business owner, must keep learning and developing. Don’t get stuck in a rut and rely on past practices alone. You and your business needs to keep evolving, adapting and moving with the trends and technology. Seek and use the resources around you to upskill, outsource and/or employ.