Whether you are thinking about starting your own business or you’re already running one, it’s always helpful to improve on your business skills. The world is ever changing and that means that there is always something new to learn. Market trends often dictate how a business forms its strategy. So, the question is, how do we gain or improve our business skills?
The first is the most obvious: online courses. There are always paid options but there are now a number of free courses available from different websites such as Google Digital Garage, Open Learn, Future Learn, etc. They usually cover the basics but it’s a good way to test the knowledge you have and hopefully, learn some things that you didn’t already know. They can offer new insights that you may not have thought of.
One of the best ways to gain skills is by learning from another successful business. If you don’t yet run your own, it may be a good idea to work for another one for a while, just to gain some experience and see how it operates. That way you get to find out what things you would want to implement in your own business and what things you would improve. Now, if you are busy running your own business, then you wouldn’t want to leave that to work for someone else. What you can do though, is look at your competition to see how they are doing things. You can also connect with other businesses in online groups.
Speaking of all things online, social media can actually be a great tool for gaining your business expertise, in a variety of ways. There are social media ‘guru’s’ that often post a variety of tricks to help businesses grow and connect with their customers. Now some of these can be very useful but others… not so much. The good news is, you can use your own judgement to decide whether they are worth trying out or not. Often, business-type pages will discuss useful tools for your business, legislation information, strategies for business as well as tips for growth on social media.
Social media is a great place to see how other businesses are operating as well as finding up and coming trends. These can all help you build your strategies and help you stay current. There may be certain images that do well or a certain product/service that people are after. Social media will help mostly with marketing skills and knowledge rather than generic business skills.
To gain more business knowledge, it may be worth finding some kind of mentor or networking with other small businesses. There are usually local groups who will meet up to discuss ideas but these often come with some kind of membership fee. There are networking events that are free to attend and you may be able to find assistance there. Having a mentor is always beneficial in the early stages of your business as they have usually made various mistakes and their personal experience is invaluable. They can help you grow and avoid costly mistakes. Again, most mentors cost money, but there may be some who are willing to assist, or you could offer them a percentage of the profits whilst they are assisting.
Finally, you can gain business skills and knowledge through your own experiences. Trial and error is inevitable in the world of business, and only by trying can you see what works. If you have the fundamentals under your belt, then you should be capable enough to test out your strategies. If it doesn’t work, you analyse it, adapt it and then try again. Of course, you want to avoid costly mistakes, but you do that by learning and planning as much as you can. There will be times when it’s impossible to avoid and in fact, mistakes are good because they give us an opportunity to learn something new.
There are so many ways to learn new business skills, whether it be through books, online courses or in practice. It all depends on how you learn best and what you already know combined with at what stage you are at. The younger you are, the more opportunities you have so be sure to explore as many as you can. However, being older means you do have more experience under your belt, whether in business or in life, generally. Look for the options that you believe would benefit you most in the moment.