How to Approach Professional Development as a Small Business Owner

Jobs are evolving to care more about skills and competencies than degrees, and keeping up with professional development can help you round out your personal offerings. It can be especially difficult for small business owners to try to find the time for professional development, as they are already wearing so many different hats within the business every day and don’t have a lot of spare time. However, business professional development can help you follow the saying of “working smarter, not harder” by giving you the skills you need to be more efficient and well-rounded. The pandemic has a silver lining when it comes to development opportunities, as many classes are now available virtually so you will be able to find and take courses easily with less disruption to your schedule.
Everyone has blind spots, areas of weakness or skills that could use some extra development, and those are the best areas to focus on business professional development. If you’re not sure where to start or where your real areas of improvement could be, look to the results of a personality assessment or employment assessment. Usually, employment assessments identify your strengths and weaknesses and can help showcase the areas with the most opportunity for improvement. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore your strengths, it will help you get more practice using your strongest mental muscles and it may give you an opportunity to see new developments in an area that you’re likely to see success in working with. For example, if one of your top skills is communication, learning new technology will help take your already great communication skills to the next level and you’re likely to know how to best use that technology to your advantage.
Additionally, developing your skills helps your business, not just you personally. Taking the time to invest in your skills as a small business owner will help your business grow and evolve. Professional development also doesn’t have to be costly, there are many free classes available on Coursera, Codecademy, and edX. There are additional low-cost programs offered by udacity and udemy.

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