I received a question from a wouldbe entrepreneur about how to incorporate professional development into his already busy schedule.
Here is the question Rob came to 'Ask Steve' with:
"I have been working on a startup on the side and keep thinking that it might be helpful for me to take some business courses, particularly around marketing and product development. However, it is the first thing that I always cut out of my busy schedule. How do others fit in professional development?"
Rob, you are not alone. Way too many entrepreneurs and seasoned business people short change themselves by discounting the curent and future value of professional development. Even large corporations do it! When revenue starts to decline and the bottom line starts to shrink, investment in professional development is the first to go.
The best way to change how you use your time is to understand the value of your time. As a start up, what you know and what you do is what ultimately determines whether you are successful or not. Ask yourself what's really important development-wise. How critical is it that you become knowledgeable and proficient with marketing. The answer is , VERY CRITICAL. Marketing, along with sales, are the only disciplines in business responsible for revenue generation so you need to know this stuff.
Next, look at how you are spending your time currently. If you account for everything you do on a calendar, you will be surprised at how much low level of inconsequential stuff you spend time on. If you want to blend in professional development training without adding more hours to your day, get really clear about what you do and what you will let go.
Third, although courses are fine to take, there are other methods of training and development that may work better for your situation. Do some research to find out what will provide the best training and time commitment for the cost.
Finally, if your intention is to transition your way from a job to your future business, create a plan that helps you stay focused. My son recently opened his own business and so far is doing quite well with it. He spent 18 months preparing so when he left his company, he was in great position to grow the business.
I hope this provides some insight into what you can do to use your time more wisely. If you want a playbook to guide you through this, I wrote one called 'ProFectiveness- The Art of Achieving What's Most Important to You'. http://www.growthsourcecoaching.com/profectiveness-the-art-of-achieving-what-is-most-important-to-you.html
What's getting in your path to achieving the success you want? Send your questions to 'Ask Steve' and I will respond with insights and ideas that you can take action with! http://www.growthsourcecoaching.com/business-advice.html
About the Author
After a stellar 29 year career in the consumer products manufacturing industry, Steve Smith converted his knowledge and experience into a successful business and executive coaching company. In 2008, he opened GrowthSource Coaching in Orange County, CA