This is a guest post by Maria Rainier.
In today’s hyper-competitive world, staying on top of all the latest trends and developments in the world of business is an absolute must. Many entrepreneurs will run a business doing only what they know how to do, and, as such, they become stuck in outdated marketing and strategic methods. One way to counter being stuck in his type of rut is to continue your business education.
While a full MBA degree is by no means necessary, it’s important for small business owners to learn something new every day. Here’s how:
1. Do some web research
There’s not a single day that goes by that I’m not amazed by what the Internet offers for those who want to learn something new. For small business owners, the opportunities for continuing your education are nearly endless, and, if you are learning for its own sake and not for a degree, then these opportunities are practically completely free. If you’re looking to learn something new about marketing or business management, start by checking out the various OpenCourseWare options offered through MIT, Stanford University, Harvard University, and many other universities. Khan Academy and Coursera are two great continuing education options that aren’t affiliated with a single university.
2. Join a local business-minded community
While the Internet is a great place to learn, it nonetheless has its limits. Learning and teaching collaboratively in an in-person environment can be just as effective. Nearly all cities and towns have some sort of community that advances small business interests and offers workshops and informational sessions. Your community’s local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start, but search for other options as well. Even better, start your own group through MeetUp.com.
3. Apply what you learn
Of course, learning is useless if you don’t do anything with it. Many of the online courses or in-person workshops you attend will offer a wide variety of advice about small business management and marketing. Much of it may not apply to you, but it’s important to siphon out all the information that could be helpful in your quest to maximize the returns on your business. More importantly, take what you learn and slowly but surely test out these new methods as you go about evolving your management and marketing strategies.
4. If it makes sense for you financially, consider an advanced degree
Learning is a lifelong process, one that does not have to occur within the walls of an institution. At the same time, however, it may be helpful to considering taking courses toward a degree. If you can afford the time and money, research the possibility of pursuing an MBA. There are many MBA programs out there that offer either distance or part-time opportunities, perfectly suited for those who are trying to maintain a business while learning.
Needless to say, continued learning is not something that just happens as a matter of course. You have to make it happen. Still, if you put some effort into incorporating the latest methods and strategies in small business management and marketing, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can take your business to the next level. Good luck!
Author Bio: A lifelong conversationalist and born writer, it was only a matter of time before Maria Rainier became a full-time blogger. Now she spends her time blogging at onlinedegrees.org about trending higher education issues such as the online degrees vs traditional degrees question and the value of distance learning.