Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that a prestigious MBA from an expensive business school is not enough to guarantee you success in business. You need to keep educating yourself, self improving whenever you get an opportunity. Learning happens everywhere. Your antenna should always be up, looking for anything that makes you better, sharper and more prepared to face the daunting tasks ahead. Here are 6 reasons why learning is important.
Learning expands your network and resources. Without connections and resources, the world of entrepreneurs is tough, if not impossible. Read more. Listen more. Ask a lot of questions. Do not lie to yourself that you know everything. The truth is you still have a lot more to learn. You build your network by attending industry events, workshops and conferences where you share valuable experiences and knowledge with colleagues. Make it a habit to understand every business you come across by asking questions wherever you are. You will gain useful insights by so doing.
Founder of FUBU, Daymond John once said, “Life is indeed a series of mentors”. As a child, your mother is your first mentor, she teaches you all about trust, respect and hard work as you grow. At school, your teacher requires you to always be punctual. The learning continues in and out of class and the list of mentors is endless. These principles are needed in business. Even when you are stuck in a dead end job, you need to get into the habit of talking to your managers, subordinates and indeed anyone who you meet. You will soon find out that they all have something to teach you which you may find useful later in life. You need to surround yourself with mentors who will guide you along the entrepreneurship journey. Learning gives you access to these mentors. Sometimes your mentors do not even know you personally. You watch their videos on YouTube and you keep learning from them. Whichever way you look at it, such mentorship is important.
3. Learning sharpens your financial intelligence
If you are not attending a formal financial course, a lot of the learning is through listening or reading about other entrepreneurs’ successes and failures. You learn how to manage your wealth from those who have been through it. In other words, you learn from the best. All entrepreneurs who have tasted success have made mistakes along the way. Learning from them means you are not going to fall into the same pitfalls.
4. Understanding your industry
Every industry evolves and changes. Many entrepreneurs who ignored the internet boom have found it hard to sell anything online. They never thought it was possible that products can be sold from thousands of miles apart. As such, it is important to keep abreast with any upcoming disrupters in your area of interest. New ways of doing business and new laws and statutes are always being introduced and without learning these, you are not going to survive in business. You need to be able to anticipate developments and position yourself correctly in order to stay ahead of the pack.
5. Learning protects your brand
As an entrepreneur you are your own brand. By knowing what is happening around you, you are able to protect yourself and your brand. There may be a certain risks associated with your industry and if you already know about them you will be ready to protect yourself. Take for example the issue of fake day old chicks being sold around the country. Only unsuspecting entrepreneurs will fall prey to such conmen and yet if you take time to read around your industry regularly and network with others, you would know that something like this is happening and needs to be guarded against.
6. Learning keeps you open minded
Building the business is very important but you should not drown in it and forget to look around. Modern learning techniques allow you to learn at your own pace and this enables you to take a breath, and look at the bigger picture. When you speak to entrepreneurs in different industries or network with disrupters, you are opening your mind up to think widely. You never know. This may be a chance to think of venturing into something new, challenge yourself with something different from what you are currently doing. If you are just stuck in your office talking to the same people everyday and not reading or researching around, you may remain stagnant thinking that you know everything.
Educating yourself, whether formally or informally, will improve your business and those around you. It will prepare you to face new challenges and embrace novel ideas. You will also gain useful contacts along the way.