If you’ve attended one of our classes over the past 20 years, you’ll remember that at the end of each presentation I have a slide that says, “To keep your money in your company, education is the best insurance you can invest in! If you want to be a success in this or any other business… Read one hour each day.“
I read an article written by Paul Petrone, an editor at LinkedIn Learning, titled, “Many of the World’s Most Successful People Do This 5 Hours a Week.” What do they do? They keep learning.
Yes, the same thing we’ve been recommending all these years. You need constant input from others to stay on top of both your business and your personal life.
Most of us learned our trade hands-on, under the direction of someone with experience. You can learn how to run plumbing drain lines from a book, but it’s a lot faster and more effective to learn how while crawling under a building, under the direction of someone who’s done it umpteen times before. The same goes for framing a wall, roughing-in wiring, hanging drywall, roofing, and every other aspect of our trade. In fact, many of us in the trades prefer hands-on training.
Now that you’re running your own business, you need different skills. Most of those skills can’t be learned hands-on. If you want to run a profitable business, you need to learn how to market your business, estimate and sell jobs, supervise employees and subs, manage the office, and understand your financials.
Fortunately, there are many options available today for training based on your learning style.
There are books, but you don’t have to read them. Many are available on audio, you can listen while driving or even working on jobs. Our book, Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide came out on audio last summer, and Markup & Profit Revisited will be available on audio soon.
If you learn visually, educational YouTube and streaming videos are available. You can attend classes or conferences. We offer many of these resources, and there are others in the industry who also offer training.
We held a one-hour online class last week that was well-received, and we plan to continue those classes every other week or so throughout the year. The cost is only $10, and those who purchased before the class have access to the recording. The best part for those who attended live was the ability to ask questions.
You can also join a local association, but first be sure to find out how many educational opportunities they actually provide. Sadly, some associations focus more on social events than on education. While that’s fun, it’s not what we’re looking for here.
Make this a year when you’ll invest in your business and your personal life by spending time learning. In his article, Petrone states that successful people invest at least 5 hours a week. He also says, “It isn’t as if most people are actively opposed to learning. Instead, many people feel that they don’t have the time to learn.” Isn’t that the truth?
My personal preference is to either read books or watch videos. Recently I’ve been spending time on YouTube to help with my woodworking. When I run up against something I don’t know, I get on YouTube and watch the experts do it. Sometimes I’ll watch several videos of the same task by different people to see what approach fits me and my shop the best.
This works just as well in business. Make an intentional effort this year to spend time every week improving your business and your personal life. Write it down, then make it happen.