Some people believe that once they’re old enough to be financially independent – by thirty if not before – they can stop polishing their skills and just coast. They’ll earn more money over time like Megan mullally risky business, so why continue to invest in self-improvement? But these people are mistaken on a fundamental level.
Why do you need to believe in your business skills but never stop improving? Because without an edge, it’s virtually impossible to reach the top of your field and find success. You might not see the correlation now, but take it from me: It can only get better from here!
How can you successfully improve your business skills?
1. Understand the critical issues.
I once took an online test that was supposed to determine how well I understood my strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, there were so many issues listed for each category – all the way back to when I was in middle school – that I couldn’t even fill out the form. It was clear that I had a lot of work ahead of me, and rather than putting it off until later, I immediately sat down to make a comprehensive plan for moving forward.
2. Know what you want from your career.
Knowing exactly where you’re headed is better than wondering where you’re going. If you’re trying to reach a specific milestone in your career and don’t know where you are in relation to that goal, it’s hard to stay focused. By breaking down your long-term goals into smaller, manageable objectives and then setting clear quarterly and monthly business goals, you’ll not only accomplish more but also build work habits that will help you advance over time.
3. Get the right help.
No matter how competent and passionate you are about your business skills, there are certain issues that require the input of a third party. You won’t get anywhere if you insist on doing everything yourself because as hard as you try, there are some things you just can’t do as well as others. It’s always best to work with others in your field, whether that means consulting with seasoned professionals for confidential advice or joining professional organizations to learn from other professionals who are going through similar experiences.
4. Use your resources.
In business and in life, it’s always important to take advantage of the resources available to you. By taking advantage of free workshops, webinars and seminars, you’ll be able to put new information within your grasp as soon as it becomes available. It’s one thing to learn about a current trend in your field, but it’s another thing entirely to implement it. By making the investment in time and resources, you can gain an edge over others who aren’t able to do the same.
5. Teach yourself.
I’m not recommending that you abandon your education if you’re still enrolled in school, but I will say that spending time trying to learn everything already on your own can make things more difficult than they need to be. If you’re constantly trying to figure out how to advance your career through intensive research and independent study, you’ll end up losing sight of how important goal setting is and how critical it is for the long-term success of your business skills.
6. Create your own business plan.
It’s one thing to create a traditional business plan, but it’s another thing entirely to evaluate your progress in real time by creating a business plan that works for you. When you can see the steps you need to take from the present moment forward, you’ll be able to chart a realistic course toward success.
7. Set goals and make plans.
You can’t achieve the success that awaits you without taking the time to make a plan for getting there. The more specific your goals are, and the more likely it is that you’ll achieve them, the more likely it is that your career will advance in ways that will surprise even you!
I know you might not be ready for this step, but I’ve interviewed several successful entrepreneurs who have said that it’s extremely important to continue to network after your career hits its stride. Take the time at least once a month to reach out to those who can help you advance in your field, whether it’s by reaching out to establish relationships with people who have overcome similar challenges or by becoming active in professional organizations that can help you advance your career.
9. Apply the 80/20 Rule.
Sometimes we get so tied up in managing our personal lives that we forget about our business. But it’s also important to make time for your business every day, whether that means scheduling time for personal meetings with clients, planning work sessions with colleagues or making sure you’re reaching out to your potential clients and customers on a daily basis.
10. Implement what you learn.
Business success can come from a number of different places, but you’ll find that the most successful businesses recognize the value of research and utilize it in their business plans. Only by taking the time to invest in education and research will you build a strong foundation and know how to take advantage of every opportunity as it arises.
It’s time to stop believing that business is more a science than an art. Businesses succeed when art, science and consistency meet the needs of individuals, companies and society.
The ways in which businesses succeed will vary from one situation to another. If you want to incorporate change within your business or in the way you approach your business skills, it’s important to experiment with different approaches before deciding on a final solution.
You might fail at first, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be successful in the future.