Adding skills to your company is a vital part of growing one’s business. There are two main ways to do this: Learning the new skills yourself, or bringing on a partner. I’ve already discussed the pros and cons of bringing on a partner in a previous article, so in this one, I’ll talk about learning needed skills on your own.
In college, I majored in Computer Science. There were a couple of business classes that I was required to take for my major, but these were very basic — not nearly sufficient to provide me with the knowledge I needed to successfully manage my own business.
As such, when I started a business I began attending several business classes taught by my local Small Business Association (SBA) office. You can learn more about the SBA and their purpose, as well as find a local SBA office in your area, by visiting the SBA website at SBA.gov. Give them a call and find what classes they offer. I found my classes to be very helpful, and the information more immediately useful for my business than would be a typical college course.
College, naturally, would be another option. Doing the work required to earn a college degree in business management will provide you with an incredible wealth of knowledge that will help you understand the hows and whys of starting and running a successful business.
Finally, there are the consultants. This is the most expensive, and potentially risky option. Good consultants do not come cheap. You might ask, “If consultants know so much about making money, then why are they telling their secrets to other people?” Get a quote from one and you’ll quickly find out why. These are people that get paid for simply imparting their knowledge. Hardly what you would call back-breaking labor.
But if you find the right consultant, they can be worth every penny… assuming you take their advice and implement their tactics. Back in 1999 when I co-owned a computer retail business, my partner and I were paying a marketing consultant $300 per hour (comparatively cheap) for marketing advice. He once told me that some of his most faithful clients kept coming back because they loved his advice, but almost always failed to implement any of it.
Remember, whatever route you take to gain knowledge, implementing that knowledge to improve and grow your business is going to require work. Be sure you’re ready to commit to what it takes to succeed.