No matter what you do for a living, you should always strive to be the best you can be. For some, that means maintaining an existing beneficial lifestyle; for others, it means actively seeking personal change to establish the lifestyle they desire and deserve.
Most entrepreneurs fall into the latter category. Entrepreneurship is a perpetual struggle for success, but the better an entrepreneur is — the more refined their skills, the more wide-reaching their knowledge — the less fierce the struggle becomes. Business owners gain much by investing time and energy in self-assessment and personal development because their ability directly correlates to the fitness of their business. Owners who work hard to be their best also set an example for their workforce, demonstrating the value of continuous self-improvement.
As an entrepreneur or small-business owner, you should commit to improving yourself in concrete ways. Finding ways to change isn’t difficult; it is taking the first steps toward change that tends to be daunting. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways you can ensure regular self-improvement, including:
Managing Your Time Better
There are plenty of ways to be busy without accomplishing goals. As an entrepreneur, you have dozens of responsibilities, but if you aren’t managing your time well, you probably aren’t getting anything done. Successful entrepreneurs understand that completing some tasks before others ensures that their business will progress in a positive direction.
To develop the skill of time management, you should start by considering what actions are necessary to keep the forward momentum of your business. Then, you can fill in smaller tasks that are necessary but not time sensitive. Finally, you should learn how to cross pointless items off your to-do list, delegate duties, and otherwise lighten your load so you can focus on the important stuff.
Reading More Books
Reading is more than an inane task assigned by grade school teachers. Reading books strengthens your concentration and focus, improves your reading comprehension, and builds your communication skills. You don’t have to read fiction; there are literally thousands of books about entrepreneurship, including books on business strategy, finance, and marketing, to help you boost other leadership skills while you read.
Attending Related Courses
However, if you need more direction in entrepreneurship studies, books aren’t the answer — classes are. You might be able to find courses in relevant skills at local community colleges, but if you are concerned about fitting education into your already tight schedule, you should consider online education. There are hundreds of business-related classes online; you can even find AACSB-accredited online MBA programs. Online courses provide flexibility without sacrificing quality, so you can still learn as much as you need while running your business.
Exercising Your Social Skills
It doesn’t matter whether your business is consumer-focused or part of the service industry; as the business owner and leader, you are its mouthpiece and prime communicator. That means you need to be comfortable in social situations and competent and spreading the word about your business.
People skills are acquired and honed just like any other skill — through practice. Whenever you send an email, make a phone call, or have a conversation, you should use the opportunity to flex your social muscles. You can study the habits of effective speakers and employ them in your social situations, and you can ask your friends and family for feedback to help you avoid conversational missteps.
Practicing Your Sales Pitch
Your background might not be in sales, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a sales person. Every entrepreneur should constantly be selling their business — if not their business’s products and services — which means you need a well-honed sales pitch at the ready. Being a good sales person requires strong people skills as well as a sharp intuition and overflowing charm, and you can develop all of these with practice.
Making Time for Rest
Not every second of every day should be devoted to your business. Entrepreneurs are exceedingly susceptible to burnout syndrome, which is marked by physical and emotional fatigue that makes productive work impossible. Therefore, you need to find a way to relax and restore your energy, which always starts with rest. You might go to the gym; you might watch a movie or two; you might spend time in church or play with your kids. As long as you aren’t thinking about your business, you are resting and improving yourself for another day of work.