By Danny Groner, Skillfeed
All small business owners know that if they don’t pay attention to what the competition is doing they will get beat. But another area to consider is how they themselves are investing in their skills to stay fresh, polished, and engaged.
Building up your brand and becoming known as a leader in your industry are two different skill sets that require arguably equal amounts of attention. Savvy entrepreneurs find any number of ways to develop and to hone their professional skills amid running a small business. Some have found advice and guidance through more traditional outlets.
“We subscribe to, and voraciously read, all of our trade rags. Subscriptions can often be costly, but there is nothing more important than reading about your industry and being on top of changes and trends,” said Andy and Evan Industries, Inc. Partner and Co-founder Evan Hakalir.
Hakalir also points to the benefit that comes from attending trade shows where he can meet with and share insights with others in the fashion and apparel business. Even in this technological era, nothing compares to the in-person and human-to-human interaction, others agree.
Adam Seth Turk of the New York City law firm Turk & Davidoff
said that the courses he’s attended have awarded him opportunities at more than increasing his knowledge base. It’s build up his network, too. “I turn to my professional contacts for problem-solving legal issues that I may not have dealt with before but they have. I have found many other small law firm partners are happy to help out a colleague with the hope that I will be there for them when they need some help,” Turk said.
While Turk is cautious not to simply turn to Google for answers when he’s stumped, some young startups have found that search engines can be their best friend. Take Zach Abramowitz, for instance, who recently launched ReplyAll
, a micro-blogging site in the form of broadcast conversations with peers. “If I have an issue that requires research, my first stop is Google,” Abramowitz said. “My second stop is email and my third stop is LinkedIn.”
The power of sharing and social media has helped revolutionize the way that some small business owners approach problems and seek out answers. This is a generation that learned how to knot a tie and peel a potato thanks to helpful YouTube videos. Now, as they launch and run their businesses, young professionals are finding solutions in familiar digital places.
Even those who rely on conventional marketing and networking to get the job done acknowledge that the digital era has made their work lives better. “The ability to find information and communicate faster frees up so much time to concentrate on growing our business and focusing on our customers and product,” said Hakalir.
About The Author:
Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Skillfeed, a new website that offers online courses for professionals.