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If the past year has left us with any lesson, it's that the world of business is not immune to the negative impacts of rapid change.
For modern business owners, the most vital quality that they or their business can have, is the ability to be adaptable.
This rings especially true for small business owners, who are usually fighting on the frontlines in times of economic uncertainty.
Small business owners can develop greater adaptability by expanding on their professional skills, and gaining greater and more knowledgeable control over all aspects of their business.
It's worth noting, however, that upskilling can mean different things to business owners operating in different industries.
Here are just a few ways small business owners can further develop their professional skill sets.
Enrol in short courses
As a general rule, courses for small business owners come in a variety of different formats to ensure that they're inclusive and flexible for any students who may potentially be working full-time.
If you're looking to gain comprehensive skills in a field that's completely new to you, you can complete your certification before moving onto an advanced diploma or even a bachelor's degree in that area of study.
If you're looking to gain skills that don't entirely require heavy qualifications for you to utilise them in your professional role, you can also do some short-term professional courses to ensure that your studies aren't too extensive, but can still be enriching and in-depth.
You can even find many valuable business management courses that are taught primarily online. These courses can also be of varying length and can focus on a diverse range of fields that may be relevant to modern small business owners, such as finance, marketing, logistics, and project management.
Invest in new technologies
As modern business is becoming increasingly digitised, the benefits that going digital can hold on your business can no longer be ignored.
A digital presence is becoming vital for all modern businesses, not just for ensuring that a wider audience can engage with your company or your brand, but also to provide your business with an added sense of reputability.
Having an established website and social media presence can build external trust in your organisation.
It's well worth taking the time to learn the ins and outs of curating a digital presence for your business to ensure that you're representing your organisation at a consistently high standard online.
Even an introductory course in digital marketing can be greatly beneficial to any small business owners looking to expand into the digital sphere.
Alongside providing your business with a digital presence, it's also worth considering investing in some new POS technology, PDA devices for stock management, and other similar technology if you own a business in the retail or hospitality sectors.
Although these tools come with a similar learning curve to website design, learning how to use them is an endeavour that's well worth sticking to.
Utilising all the digital tools at your disposal can not only streamline your day-to-day business operations and processes, but it will also allow you to better serve your customers or clients.
This superior service can in turn, allow you to generate more business and increase your overall profitability, making your business ripe for expansion!
Tailor learning to potential growth opportunities
Now that you've digitised and taken on some short courses, your small business may be at a point where it's ready to expand and offer more services.
This brings us to one of the most compelling methods to expand your professional skillset: learning with your organisation's potential growth opportunities in mind.
If you own a coffee stand, you may look to expand your business into a coffee shop and bakery, or even a hotspot for brunch-goers in the not-too-distant future.
In order to get to this future goal, you can develop your own pathway for upskilling, which may likely include some financial management, alongside some baking or culinary courses, if you're looking to prepare the food yourself. Your pathway can look different depending on what goals you are looking to achieve.
This is the power of self-directed learning. You don't need to adhere to any set coursework to guarantee results.
If you're an entrepreneur, you'll likely already know this. So long as you stick to your guns, and keep your goals clearly in view, you can tailor your education to attain your version of success.
Upskilling can be a complicated process, simply because it is difficult to define in a general sense. Wherever you choose to go will entirely depend on where you'd like to see yourself. Be sure to identify your own goals to ensure that your upskilling journey is both enriching and rewarding.