A culture of continual learning within business can only be a healthy culture, in my mind. Looking back at past outcomes and mistakes helps you learn to improve, and an entrepreneur is always striving to improve, driven to provide excellence in everything they do.
This is why I believe an entrepreneur is never done learning.
Where can an entrepreneur find lessons in business?
If you’re of the same mind as me but are looking for where to learn your lessons, here are some ideas to help your continual development.
Learn about your audience and ideal customer
Your ideal customer is ever-changing, reacting to the world around them. Their needs change over time and are influenced by trends, the news, even the weather! Valuable insights can be found in regular customer profiling to ensure your business is still providing for your ideal customer’s wants, needs, fears and desires.
TIP: Does your end of sale process include requesting feedback, or short surveys to gain their insight into the market changes and how the customers’ feeling about you?
Learning about your employees and what’s important to them
Aligning your team’s wants, needs, fears and desires with your own promotes a true team environment. What can you learn about the people you work with that will help you connect better and provide employment that they are happiest with? How do they think? What do you learn from their innovation and creativity?
TIP: You could try personality profiling to understand how different personalities react to one another.
Learning about your industry and new developments / policies
As quickly as your customer changes, the industry you operate in changes even quicker! With the advent of AI, industries of all kinds are adopting new policies and ways of working.
TIP: How many industry specific newsletters are you signed up to that provide insight? Perhaps you could try joining a LinkedIn group for news updates too.
Learning about yourself as a leader and how you can support your teams
Are you a leader of many, or of none? Even as a sole trader you have lots to learn about your own work ethic, but as a leader of people, or an influencer within your network you can learn how best to positively impact others and get the results you want from them.
TIP: Try talking through any issues or concerns with a coach or mentor.
Learning about new processes and technical tools to help you in business
When was the last time you took time out of working IN the business to really look carefully at how you and your employees work? Working ON the business includes looking at efficiency, and what processes and software are in place to maximise it.
TIP: Try conducting a SWOT analysis for your business processes.
What resources do entrepreneurs use for continual learning?
‘Don’t underestimate how much you can learn by yourself. Whether that’s technical stuff, or in terms of running a business. There’s information out there, and you already know some incredible people with really valuable information, you just have to go looking for them.’ Matt Eastland-Jones, Story Ninety-Four
In the Step Change podcast episode where I talk to Matt about teaching yourself new skills to grow, he mentions YouTube. Business owners are continually uploading valuable information to help you learn.
Another resource I use myself is books. The E-Myth by Michael E Gerber, Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares, They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan, and Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are all on my bookshelf.
Talking! Conducting SWOT reviews, staff interviews, meeting a business mentor, and engaging fellow business owners and entrepreneurs in your digital and real-life network are all sources of great insight and knowledge.
And my final suggestion for entrepreneurial learning is to look at what development courses are available to you. There’s a myriad of online learning tools from places like The Open University, The Federation of Small Businesses and Udemy. I even have my own online business development course that you can work through in your own time. I hope that this article has inspired you to continue learning or find a new area of your business knowledge to develop. If you’d like to have a conversation with me about entrepreneurial learning I’d be happy to share my own experiences with you, and help you work on yours.