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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Using Your Education to Grow Your Business

 

When you are running a business, it can be difficult knowing what to do next, and it can be challenging deciding what is beneficial and what is not. Your business can be as great as you want it to be, but if you do not put in the hard work, and if you do not focus on self-development and growth, then you will struggle to see the bigger picture. Part of growth and self-development can be attained through education. Investing in yourself and developing your skillset will benefit your business, both in the interim and moving forwards.

Why Education is Beneficial to Your Business

To move your business in the right direction, you have to know what areas you need to focus on. If you improve your business acumen and knowledge, you can see where these areas exist. For example, if you were to undertake a master’s in business administration, you would be able to see clearly what is missing within your business and what needs to happen to make it successful. Without this learned knowledge, you would struggle to ascertain what needs to happen, when, and why.

Education and studying can, and will, push your business forwards. When you learn about what it takes to grow and run a successful business, you will see where there are areas for improvement, and you will see what needs to be put into action to make effective change.

Why Your Business Needs to Grow and Develop

If your business was to stay the same as it is now, then it would be stagnant, and your competitors would then swoop in and take all of your business right from under your feet. Growth and development within your business are just as important as personal growth and development. If you do not research new opportunities for your business, and if you do not push it forwards, then you will regret it later down the line. You do not know where your business will go, and you do not know where it will take you. The same can be said about your education. If you do not push yourself to enhance and advance what you already have, then how do you know that you have peaked and reached your full potential?

Knowing Which Direction You Want Your Business to Go in

Which direction do you want your business to go in and why? You also need to look at what direction your business should go in. Again, this is where an enhanced education within the area of business would really benefit you moving forwards. When you have the knowledge and the awareness of what direction your business should be going in (based on feedback, research, and data), then you can start putting into place a plan of action to make the development and growth happen.

 

Setting Business Targets and Goals

When you are pushing your business forwards, you need to know that you can achieve what you set out to do. To make sure this happens, you need to set goals and targets. When it comes to setting goals, you need to make sure they are timely and realistic. For example, a good goal to set would be to reach a new target market within the next six months, whereas an unrealistic goal would be to reach a new target market within the next six days! To set goals and targets that are relatable to your business, you have to know your business inside out, and you have to know what the market you are operating within is doing. The more knowledge and awareness that you have about market conditions and about your business, the easier goal and target setting will be.

Gaining Clarity

Running a business can leave you feeling stressed. It can be a time that is full of cloud and haze. Knowing which way to turn may not be as simple as you initially thought it would be. When you are growing your business and establishing which direction to take it in, you need to have clarity. You can get clarity from understanding what makes your market tick and also what makes your business work. To establish clarity, you must have both knowledge and awareness. While some awareness of market conditions can be gained through experience, you will need to study and enhance your knowledge and business acumen to confidently establish what market conditions mean to your business and how they affect your business both now and moving forwards.

How You Can Grow Your Business with New Knowledge

When you are studying for a degree or for a master’s, you will inevitably increase your knowledge. You will learn more about how businesses operate, and you will learn how to identify and target gaps in the market. With this new knowledge, you can grow your business confidently. When you understand how to conduct market research and you understand its true importance, you will be able to see if your idea has legs!

Your business needs new ideas, and it needs new learned knowledge to ensure that it can survive and even thrive. Focusing on gaining new knowledge and awareness is crucial, and if you fail to identify new areas for growth and new opportunities, your business will struggle to compete.

Deciding What to Study

Of course, not all areas of study or education will be beneficial to you and your business, and it is important to remember this. If you undertake the wrong program of study, then you will waste your time, and at the end of it, you will struggle to see a noticeable improvement in your business. Studying an area such as business administration will be beneficial as it will give you an overall understanding of how businesses work. It will also allow you to see how you should be running your business. Learning to look at your business from the perspective of an outsider is crucial. When you look at your business from another perspective or angle, you will see areas for improvement, and these areas might end up being glaringly obvious.

Studying Online and Making it Work for You

Now that you are aware of the importance of studying and just how it can benefit you and your growing business, you need to commit to studying. When you are running a business, you don’t really have time to commute to a campus every week, let alone twice a week! Your time is limited and stretched already. Making studying and learning work with your busy schedule is possible if you focus on studying online. When you study online, you have increased flexibility to study when you want to and where you want to. For example, you can study at home or even when you are traveling. You are not restricted by having to attend a physical location, and this is a major draw, especially for a busy business owner.

As studying online is flexible, you have a choice of universities to attend. Of course, some universities are better than others, and this is where good research comes into play. For example, if you want to study for a master’s in leadership, you would go for a university that has a good reputation and that specializes in offering this particular area of study, such as SBU Online because you would want to ensure that you are getting a targeted and focused program of study, and not just a one size fits all approach.

Balancing Studying and Running a Business

When you are studying for any period of time, you will want to ensure that you can carry on running your business while successfully studying. If you do not get a balance, then something will inevitably slip, and this is not what you want. To get a balance and to maintain a balance, you have to ensure that you dedicate time to study and time to work. There is no point in trying to work while you are completing an assignment and vice versa. Focusing your attention and your efforts on one area at a time will ensure that you sustain a healthy and workable balance between your business and your studies.

Having a weekly timetable that you stick to is also hugely beneficial. Setting targets and sticking to them on a daily and weekly basis will help you achieve what you need and what you want.

Investing in Yourself and in Your Business

You may not feel that you have the time or money to invest in yourself, and these feelings may actually be holding you back. When you invest in yourself, you will get out more than you put in. Investing in yourself, developing your skillset, and even improving your business acumen and knowledge will benefit your business now and in the future. The time that you spend studying is beneficial because you are learning and growing all of the time. You will learn new things about yourself and about your business, and these will be things that others may not ever see, but they may well be intrinsically important to the success and growth of your business.

Just as you should invest in yourself, you should also confidently invest in your business. Your time and your cash will be spent wisely, especially when you have the knowledge and awareness to back up your actions. Deciding when to invest and how much to invest will depend on a number of factors, such as market conditions and also expectations (what you hope to receive back from the investment). Your newly enhanced business knowledge and acumen will help you spot opportunities. Then when you are confidently able to differentiate the good opportunities from the potentially risky, you will be able to confidently invest, knowing that you will more than get your investment back.

Putting Together a Growth Plan

Rather than just jumping into growth and development, a cautious but sensible approach should be taken. As part of this approach, you should collate and produce a growth plan. A growth plan will allow you to see where your business currently stands and potentially where it could be in the near future. Putting your new education and knowledge into practice and creating a growth plan gives you a base to work from. You can build on this base, and you can add to this base once it is in place, but getting it there and ready to go is crucial.

If you do not put together a growth plan, then you will struggle to drive and push your business in the right direction. Even though a growth plan is only a guide, it will feature up-to-date and relevant market information and data that will be useful to your business.

Continuous Business Growth

You should see business growth as something that is done over a period of time and not just undertaken once every so often. Your customers and your target market’s needs and wants will change over time, and this is why you need to fully embrace regular growth. Introducing new ways of doing things, giving your customers more, and also increasing your customer numbers should be what your business growth plan is focusing on. As the growth plan has no real finish date to it, it is essential that you update it regularly to keep it useful and relevant.

Continuous Personal/Professional Development

Just as business growth is important, so too is continuous personal/professional development. Developing who you are and what you have to offer will help shape you into a great business owner, and, ideally, this is what you should be aiming for. Your business is only as good as you are, so keep pushing yourself and keep developing your skillset. Alongside enhancing your education, your skillset needs to be improved to ensure that you are the best business owner that you can be. To ensure that you stay on track with your personal development and growth, you may find it beneficial to set yourself targets and goals, just as you do with your business. For example, one goal could be to get a master’s in business administration within the next three years.

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