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5 Great Tools to Improve Your Business Knowledge

Knowledge is power and it makes us entrepreneurs better able to survive in a market … [+] it never stands still.

© Syda Productions – Adobe Stock

By Susan Guillory

Knowledge is power as we all know. However, for many entrepreneurs, once we first figure out how to run our business, we don’t invest the time and energy in gaining more knowledge to move forward.

That’s a shame because learning more skills and tools makes us more competitive in a market that never stands still. Here are some ways you can improve your business skills.

1. Online Conferences

One silver lining for running a business during a pandemic is getting everything online instead of in-person conferences and events. That means you can hear well-known industry leaders speak on their areas of expertise without the cost of flights and hotels. And most of the sessions are recorded. So if you can’t spend three days looking at one another in real time, you can study on your own schedule.

A personal story: I looked at course software (which I know little about) and found that a company had a free three day conference with lots of training sessions. Bam. Done. In addition to learning how to maximize course revenue, I’ll be taking a look at the sponsor software to see if it meets my needs.

2. Books

Do you remember this Yes, books are still great knowledge resources, especially when you are in an industry that is evolving overnight. I laugh when I think of the digital marketing books I wrote 10 years ago – they are now completely out of date. Even if you read a book about programming five years ago, there is probably more to learn now. (Not sure which ledgers to read? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Follow other people’s book recommendations.)

You can also find really great ebooks for free from companies that you want to have on their mailing list. If statistics and reports are your problem, find companies that you follow to see if they have free white papers that could raise your awareness of what’s going on in your industry right now.

3. Blogs

I spend my days creating content and doing a lot of research on websites and blogs. There are some that I rely heavily on for the latest developments in my industry. Neil Patel’s blog is a great example of one that helps me understand the latest SEO trends. I also read a lot of Forbes Small Business for the latest thoughts. Think about who the experts are in your field and see if they write. Probably they are.

This is a bonus source because creating content for your own blog (right?) Can provide you with great ideas from others. Easily find your own point of view when writing your blog posts.

4. Company resource pages

If you’re using software or tools and don’t want to better understand how to use them, see if the company you are buying them from has resources to help. HubSpot is a fantastic example of a company that has tons of free resources to help its customers, including an in-depth blog and free courses and certifications. It’s a win-win: you, the customer, learn tricks and strategies that you may not have figured out yourself, and the company gets a loyal customer.

You may also need employees using a tool to take advantage of a company’s resources, especially webinars and tutorials.

5. Learning platforms

If you have a LinkedIn profile, you’ll have access to the LinkedIn learning platform, which offers more than 16,000 free and paid courses on topics ranging from creating a marketing plan to raising capital. Paid membership is $ 29.99 per month.

One free option is edX, a free learning platform that spans language to nutrition. The website offers some in-depth business courses, including courses on supply chain management, fintech, and marketing analytics. The courses are true college courses taught at prestigious schools like UC Berkeley and Columbia. However, you can access it online for free.

Take time to study

“Okay Susan, you gave me a list of places where I can expand my knowledge. Are you going to magically give me time to study too?”

I get it. You are busy. You don’t have a lot of extra time to do things that don’t add to your bottom line. But let me just emphasize this fact: Knowledge contributes to your bottom line. As you learn new skills, you can offer more services to your customers. Discovering features in the software you use that make you more productive will save you time. It takes time to study, so I suggest blocking time on your calendar just like you would have an important meeting. Don’t skip it; It may seem like there are more important things to do, but learning should be a priority.

If you just can’t find the time, you may have to delegate more of your responsibilities to others. Your job as a business owner is to constantly find new ways to innovate and stay competitive. This sometimes means that you (metaphorically) stand out from the business to invest in your own knowledge.

Take notes. We all learn differently, but for me, taking notes is critical to my bond. Do it better than me and don’t write cryptic notes that you won’t understand later!

Staying competitive in an ever-changing industry isn’t nice – it’s crucial. Expanding your own knowledge is an essential step in ensuring that your company is relevant and effective in solving customer needs.

Susan Guillory heads Egg Marketing where she writes content for fintech companies. See Susan’s full bio and article on AllBusiness.com.

CONNECTED: Empower your employees through continuous learning

This article was originally published on AllBusiness.com.

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