One of the aspects of being a successful business owner is a commitment to professional learning. Many people attend annual conferences. They invest in online education, certification, and networking events. Not only can this add up financially, it can be extremely time consuming. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea. The only way to learn new techniques and improve is to invest in education. There are several approaches that can save you time and money.
1. A Book a Month – One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to learn is by reading. Reading inspires new ideas, it strengthens and enhances your knowledge and it exposes you to thoughts and leaders that you may be unaware of. Consider taking a book off of the non-fiction bestsellers list each month and reading it. You only have to commit to reading a few pages a day to finish a book in a month. You might make a habit of it by reading a few pages during lunch or before you go to bed. (You can also use your local library or elibrary to save money.)
2. Audio Books/Courses – Learn while you’re driving, waiting, and performing mundane tasks. Audio books are an exceptional way to learn and they’re very efficient. You can learn while you exercise or commute. You can learn as you wait in line at the middle school to pick up your kids and you can learn during lunch. Many marketing experts provide audio courses too so you can add those to your audio book collection.
3. Podcasts – The iTunes podcast library is extensive and incredibly inexpensive. Most podcast subscriptions are free and you can learn from world renowned experts. Like audio books, podcasts are excellent material for exercising and running errands.
4. Local Events – Instead of traveling across the country to attend an annual seminar, look for events that are in your state or community. You’ll save money on the travel expenses and you’ll get to meet a whole new group of people. Because many professionals prefer to do business with locals, you may also grow your business while you’re learning.
5. Online Events – Many free online events are lead ins to more expensive services and events. They tease with a few tidbits of information but you have to sign up for the bigger event to really learn anything. However, if you are attentive you can find good online learning events that are free, or low cost, that also provide value.
Committing to expanding your knowledge and learning more about your industry is good business. It doesn’t have to break the bank nor does it have to take time away from your busy life. Books, audio material and local events provide a wealth of knowledge and information at a very low cost.