When you are working hard to grow your business (and who isn’t interested in doing that), two priorities that can help that growth are taking personal and business development courses, and attending conferences and networking events.
Whether you are a small business owner or a virtual assistant, attending conferences, networking, and constantly upping your knowledge base can create a much more productive environment in which to grow your business.
As a small business owner or a virtual assistant, the one common denominator in your life is that technology and the online world is constantly changing! The only way to stay abreast of these changes is by taking courses that keep your knowledge fresh.
A big part of running a successful small business is learning how to use resources. New technology can help you manage daily tasks so you can run a business that is poised for growth; however, it can be tough to keep up with all the new technology, am I right? Who has time or money for training? You can start by developing a means of assessing the training you need and adapt as needed.
“For the best return on your money, pour your purse into your head.” ~Benjamin Franklin
Where can you find courses that fit your budget and your time?
- Community colleges focus on adult and continuing education and are relatively inexpensive. They are constantly developing new curriculum based on the community’s needs.
- Check with the organizations where you hold a membership. Many have access to programs that are a perfect fit for your business, like IVAA!
- Look for training partners. Training co-ops between small business owners can allow each partner to share resources and the cost of training.
- Many business programs offer a complimentary demo or training course that showcases their product. Do your due diligence, take the demo to learn all you can before making your purchasing decision.
- Do you “Google”? If you Google to find answers to your questions, guess what: that is training! Just be wary of where the information originates. Visit reputable websites and organizations.
If you don’t know where to start, there’s an informative article on INC.com that describes five technology trends that small businesses should consider learning. Although not all of them will resonate with every business, it will give you some insight on where to start.
ATTENDING CONFERENCES OR NETWORKING EVENTS
Working in the virtual world, we can, at times, lose sight of the importance of being face-to-face with others. Many small business owners can’t imagine taking a few days away from their business to attend a conference. Since the internet is so readily available, some business owners feel that in-person conferences or networking events are no longer a valuable way to grow their business. The truth is, human-to-human meetings are more valuable than ever! And they might be the best thing you can do to grow your business!
Following are some excellent (and valuable) reasons to attend in-person conferences or networking events:
1) Opportunities to learn. Working in a virtual environment can be isolating. When you meet with others, you will hear about the trends and ideas that many of your peers and competitors are following.
2) Collaborating with peers. Collaboration is the best approach when networking. Many connections that small business owners make at in-person events, often turn into cooperative and helpful personal relationships down the road. (Who can’t use another friend/colleague?)
3) Show off your expertise. When you actively participate in conferences and networking events (especially where your ideal clients assemble), after time, you can position yourself as an expert. Once you are seen as an expert in your field, watch your business grow! (Don’t keep yourself and your business a ‘secret’!)
4) Make it fun. What’s the saying? “All work and no play…” Many conferences usually schedule a fun activity or two. Never underestimate the power of fun when it comes to growing relationships and, eventually, growing your business.
When you consider attending a conference or enrolling in a training course, the first thing you might see is dollar signs. In some instances, it can add up to quite a bit of money for a small business!
Try not to let the initial costs scare you off. Choosing to attend an appropriate conference or taking that training course can bring endless advantages to your business. It’s all about choosing the right events and training, and knowing how to use what you’ve gained to grow your business.
If your business is seeing great growth and you are ready to hire a VA, IVAA offers a FREE RFP system for you. Simply post your VA needs and our members will reply to you with a proposal. Click here to learn about submitting an RFP.
Karen Kannegiesser is the owner of Lotus Business Resources LLC. She helps heart-centered entrepreneurs and small business owners who are frustrated by having to run their business manually, and who struggle with trying to scale their business. She works with her clients by automating their business processes and by handling their digital media strategy and management, which enables them to work ON their business, instead of IN it!” www.LotusBusinessResources.com