You’re human. It’s impossible to know how to do everything and be good at everything in life in general. So why do you think you should be able to do it all in your business?
On your roadmap to personal development, it’s not essential that you learn how to do everything under the sun. If you think this is part of your purpose, you’ll be stretched thin in no time. Instead, you do better focusing on areas of interest to you.
My philosophy of learning is in line with what Darren Hardy teaches. He says that when you’re trying to teach yourself things, you should put your education into two categories:
- Just in time learning
- Just in case learning
He recommends spending more time on the “just in time” learning. So what does this mean?
When I invest in educating myself in areas I can practice right away, that’s “just in time” learning. That’s where you should invest the majority of your time in self-education.
For example, when I expose myself to financial education, that’s “just in case” learning because someone at Ballantine does that as their job (my brother).
Whereas, when I do lessons about digital marketing strategy, it directly relates to my job, so it’s “just in time” learning. I try to regularly read books on marketing, copywriting, and other information that will help me develop skills and come up with new ways to get better results.
Also, as part of my professional development, I learn things I need to bring to my team. Sometimes I offer to pay for education for them. Other times I read the information I want them to learn and teach it to them in other ways.
Personal Development in Business Starts When You Understand Your Role in Your Company
If I look at my role in my company in conjunction with my partners, we are all good at different things (more or less). There is, of course, some overlap in our skillsets and what we bring to the company…but each of us plays a distinct role in the daily operations.
As a business owner, you can’t be afraid to delegate. I know that one of the big themes I talk about here at Morning Upgrade is learning. And the most effective use of your learning time is to focus on the things you are naturally good at and to get better at them.
Get a Basic Understanding of Every Area of Your Business
That is not to say you should be completely ignorant of how some things work in your business. Personally, I try to have some understanding even of areas that are my weaknesses.
For example, I’m not great at understanding the deep financial side of the business.
I have read books, listened to audio lessons, and found ways to gain some understanding of how finances in business work, but my brain is not wired to grasp the concepts easily (nor do I have that interest as I do with marketing).
Learn to Delegate
It’s better to delegate to others your weak areas so you can spend more time on things where you excel. And honestly, part of self-growth may be acknowledging that you do indeed have weak areas. I know there are times in business when you feel you don’t have the money to hire out the work you aren’t great at… but try to get creative at filling in those gaps.
By creative, I mean coming up with lower-cost options for those areas where you are less capable. You can hire someone part-time or contract out the work. Or you can look for strategic partnerships with other businesses where you both bring something to the table.
Among your personal development goals should be to find ways to hand off areas of weakness to other people, instead of struggling in those areas until it’s too late. It will accelerate your progress if you can focus your energy on the things you do best.
How To Know What Self-Education You Should Focus On
You have to start by thinking about your business and your key roles…or at least what you want them to be. Small business owners tend to wear many different hats, but at some point, you should narrow your focus to what you do best.
A personal example…
In my company, in my division of responsibility, we offer digital marketing for small businesses and help our clients with generating potential leads. Part of that is writing copy for ads, their website, and blogging. As a result, I decided to read the book The Advertising Solution.
Basically, the book is a list of tips from all the greats on how to write copy, get responses from leads, and ultimately…get results. My thinking was that it made sense for me to consume the content for me (and my team).
You’ll have to identify what skill sets are important to the job you do. Map out what your roles are and what you will delegate.
Really make an honest assessment of what you are good at…and what you’re not good at. Part of your self-improvement could be asking yourself questions, like:
- What were you good at in school?
- What jobs have you held that you were good at?
- What areas of your business are you drawn to?
- What do people come to you for help with?
Not sure how to answer these questions? My mastermind recommends an exercise where you ask those around you what they think you’re good at. It’s eye-opening to get that kind of feedback from people who are close to you. Doing this really helps my own self-awareness.
Want a head start? Here are a few things that are universal to most business owners:
Most business owners would benefit from learning how to communicate better and lead a team. Communication is everything in relationships. Learning how to communicate better is important to your personal growth because it will make you more successful as well as easier to get along with. It’s important for everyone.
Writing is a form of communication that is important to everyone. You should be able to speak clearly and write clear & compelling emails, website copy, and promotional materials. Producing clear written information is key to doing business.
2. Leadership Skills
Leadership skills, now more than ever, are critical. Focusing on learning leadership skills that complement your personality style is essential. How? Take a personality test to determine your profile. You might learn something new for your professional development, and your future self will thank you.
Selling is a skill set every business owner and every team member needs to have. You can never learn too much about how to better sell and market your company. As marketing styles change, so do the expectations of your potential clients. There’s always something new to learn and a new way of selling.
4. Personal Growth
As a business owner, you need a vested interest in improving yourself every day. It’s a continuous lifelong process. This is very similar to entering a race or competition…you wouldn’t just show up…you’d train for it and build up to the event. The difference in business is that your event is not in the future (it’s today and every day!), so it requires daily training.
My go-to areas of personal development include:
- Gratitude practice
Essentially, you can do anything as part of a personal growth journey to make yourself 1% better every day.
You don’t know where your life and business will take you. Over the last 10 years, my journey has taken me down paths I didn’t anticipate. Investing in my personal development has helped me stay strong and grow my business.
Take the pandemic, for example. It has required people to have to pivot on a ginormous scale. Whether you have spent time working on your personal development as a business owner up to this point or not…don’t wait any longer. I encourage you to start investing in your self-improvement a little each day and work your way up.
On your roadmap to personal development, it’s important to understand that you don’t have to achieve perfection in order to realize great gains over time.
- Create a personal development plan by focusing most of your learning time on “just-in-time” learning.
- Stick to your strengths and hire out the weak areas.
- Build up your skill sets that will make you a better business owner.
- Educate yourself on being a good leader and better communicator.