There are numerous “entrepreneur quizzes” to help people evaluate their chances of being a successful entrepreneur. Many of the questions deal with personal traits such as innovation, initiative, stamina, risk taking and adaptability.
But even if small-business owners have personal traits that match well with the typical traits of a “born entrepreneur,” this does not guarantee they will be successful. Current, relevant business knowledge and skills are critical for operating a successful business.
Today’s tight economy, along with savvy competitors and changing customer needs, makes it even more important for business owners to continually educate themselves and improve their skills.
But many small-business owners think they don’t have time to participate in more training. They are too busy trying to run the business every day.
Truly successful entrepreneurs are willing to make ongoing education a priority to help them have continued long-term success. They are willing to take the time to stop sawing long enough to sharpen the saw.
If you are a small-business owner who wants to improve your chances for success, take an honest look at yourself to see where your weaknesses are regarding your business knowledge and skills. There may be some basic core skills you are lacking.
And even if you have the solid basic skills needed to operate a small business, you still need to be looking for opportunities to learn about new ideas and tools and to stay abreast of changing conditions.
Once you have identified some areas of knowledge you want to pursue, set some continuing education goals for yourself. Then be willing to set aside the time to achieve those goals. You also need to develop a continued education budget and commit the necessary funds to participate in the training you need.
Most of the time the benefits you see will be long term based on an accumulation of knowledge and skills and the ongoing application of these to your business. In some instances, you will participate in training that immediately yields a valuable “nugget” of information that will make a huge, positive difference in your business.
And you will not only gain these skills and nuggets from the instructor or the materials, but you may also learn a great deal from the experiences of the other participants. Networking with other small-business owners can be a very valuable benefit of continued education.
You will find there are many organizations in our area that provide opportunities for continued education for small-business owners. Our Savannah Small Business Development Center office co-sponsors classes with a variety of these organizations such as chambers of commerce, small-business groups, other universities, technical colleges, private businesses and government entities such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Georgia Department of Revenue.
So be on the lookout for opportunities to learn and be willing to invest the time, effort and money for ongoing entrepreneurial education. You will find that these efforts can bear ongoing fruit for your small business.
Connie Edwards is a business consultant with the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at 651-3200.