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.
In many respects, business is just a big complicated game. Like most games, you have an objective, a desired outcome, a plan, a strategy, team members, competitors, necessary skills and resources to work with. And like many games, when someone wins, the perception is others lose. But unlike the traditional game outcome, a business can be successful without winning every encounter in the marketplace.
How would you characterize your business relationships? Are they with people you have known for years, meet with regularly and trust implicitly or are they mostly folks who have accepted a connection from you on some social media website?
Employee reviews have earned negative ratings over the years. Feared by employees and bosses alike, they conjure up feelings of ugly conversations, conflict or worse, damage to the supervisor/ employee relationship. Unless policies exist that mandate performance reviews or the boss has already decided to replace the employee, these often undervalued discussions get avoided like the plague!
Running a business means being responsible for lots of different things. Some of these things you can delegate to others. The one thing you should strive to understand and take control of is your marketing.
Most business owners I work with don’t think about marketing as their key to growth. They think about how good they are at providing their product or service. This is important but only once your customer knows who you are. If they don’t know you, your marketing has to convince them of your talent before your competition does.
Businesses around the world from the fortune 500 community to the local company down the street spent approximately $164 billion last year on training and development programs for employees. These programs ranged from seminars and workshops to tuition reimbursement, in-house training and outside professional services. And while spending to develop employee performance has risen in the last couple of years, overall satisfaction about the outcome has not.
About the Author
Steve provides leadership, management and marketing coaching to business owners, executives and entrepreneurs worldwide. Considered the Catalyst for Change by the California Business Journal, Steve has coached over 400 business professionals to date.