Blog entry

Back to Business School

September is known for students packing their bags full of new supplies and heading to school for another year of classes. However, education does not stop when you leave school; whether that is high school or university. Have you ever considered different ways to continue your education as a small business owner or manager?

There are two lessons in life that I have learned through school. The first is to always take an opportunity to learn something new. The second lesson is to know more than you think you need to know. While both lessons have worked well for life in general, they can easily apply to business as well.

Taking every opportunity to learn something new is important in staying up to date with emerging business knowledge. Learning something new can come in all shapes and forms. In terms of formal education it would look like going back to school. There are thousands of online university programs available. Finding one that fits your line of work or one that could help you expand your business knowledge may be useful. If you are studying for your own personal benefit, you always have the option of only taking one or two classes rather than an entire diploma or degree. Your education should fit with your life and compliment your business’ schedule.

On the other hand, informal education can be just as valuable as a university class. Informal education includes such things as finding a mentor for you and your business, taking a locally offered business course, discussing ideas with a peer, reading up on new products, or practicing how to use new software in your business. The world never sleeps and neither does the amount of education you can access when you take every opportunity to brush up your knowledge. The more you learn, the better equip you will be to maintain your business and evolve with changing business practices.

Educating yourself further on every aspect of your business ties into the second lesson I’ve learned through school; know more than you think you need to know. I once had someone tell me that they consistently learn about all the departments in their business so that no one can pull a sheet over their eyes. This does not mean you should be the expert in all areas of business. It simply means that you should be able to recognize when something is off in any department of your business. For example, do you know how much your income and expenses are weekly, monthly, yearly, or when you experience seasonal fluctuations? Do you know and understand all the positions created by HR? Do you know what front-line workers encounter with customers? It is a good idea to gain knowledge beyond the position of manager or business owner. Understanding the foundation of each position in your company and having knowledge of the everyday activities will help you invest in the future of your business. It will also help you find areas to train employees and improve their knowledge or skills in the workplace. You can never be overeducated.

Overall, education is valuable no matter where the knowledge is gained from. Never stop trying to learn something new. Take every opportunity to research something you are unsure of and gain knowledge from the experience. You never know where education may lead you and there is no doubt that every bit of information will make you a stronger business owner or manager. To take it one step further, share with your employees anything insightful that you come across in your studies.

 

By Alexis Forseille

Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin

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About Community Futures

For over 25 years, we’ve been fostering entrepreneurship in rural BC. We offer small business loans, business counseling and specialized programs to help you start or grow a business, and to help communities become more resilient and dynamic.

266 Oliver Street
Williams Lake, BC
V2G 1M1

Phone: (250)392-3626
Toll free: (888)879-5399
Fax: (250)392-4813