Is Your Skillset Current?

Al Lopez, January 16, 2014

It’s interesting to me how often I get a call where someone says, “I’m starting a business, and I have just one question.” In our sense of urgency to hurry and get started or stay on task with the job we have, we often neglect the value of taking the time to equip ourselves so that over the long run we can enjoy more success. I am a firm believer in the importance of education for our youth, but it can’t end there. Education needs to be a priority and not just one more thing you add to your to-do list. Everything we know, including our professional skills, is rapidly becoming obsolete. This means that it’s not enough to work hard. We must be constantly updating our knowledge and acquiring new skills. I hope that when the day comes I stop learning someone is calling the mortician.

As entrepreneurs, we sometimes think that keeping our skills current doesn’t matter for us. You can benefit from staying up-to-date no matter what kind of work you do. With better knowledge you’ll make better decisions, and you’ll see threats and opportunities sooner, which can give you a cutting edge and help you adjust your plans. Also, learning how to effectively and efficiently run your business and staying abreast of the latest industry enhancements will earn you the respect of your customers, suppliers, and supporters/investors.

We have never been faced with so much change, and that is also true for businesses. I heard recently that more information has been produced in the last 30 years than was produced in the previous 5000 years, and that the “total body of knowledge” will continue to double every five years. We must keep our skills and knowledge current in order to keep up with required changes to how we run our businesses and how we must update our products or services to keep solving our customers’ new problems.

Small business owners cannot neglect the need to learn. Continuous learning is connected to better business performance and higher likelihood of surviving the wall that all small businesses hit at some point in their life cycle – 50% of the time in the first five years.

With today’s technology, there are many ways to stay current or to learn more about your industry. Stay up to date by reading articles, listening to podcasts of experts in areas you want to develop, and networking. You don’t have to know everything, from every source about your industry, but you need to stay current to learn how to skim for relevant and important information.

The benefits are pretty obvious. New knowledge and skills help prevent repeating mistakes, identify and implement best practices, and contribute to business success.

That’s what EGBI is about… creating an opportunity for small business owners to get equipped to start and manage their business, on-going mentoring/counseling, continuing education through workshops, and incubation if their business requires it.

If you are looking to challenge yourself in learning how to better run a business, there is still time to join our current cohorts of Building Success Program (English evening class) and Curso Empresarial (bi-lingual morning class). Sign up now!