Both in life and business, seeking self-improvement is a must. In a constant effort to become the best version of yourself, you’ll find fulfillment and satisfaction in a hard day’s work. If you’re just fine with where you’re at personally, consider others’ perceptions of you in professional settings. Even if you’re comfortable with the way you present yourself in a business environment, you always have room for improving your professional behavior and your knowledge. With room for development in mind, you’re in the position to constantly put effort into learning, growing, and networking.
Part of furthering your professional development is being honest with yourself. You need to know who you are as a business owner. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, then create a plan to address them.
Are you lacking the know-how to accomplish some of your professional goals? Begin expanding your mind by expanding your reach. Look to experts, or even just people who have more experience than you. Be willing to learn from them and ask questions.
Do you notice yourself saying, “umm”, “you know”, and “like”, frequently while public speaking? Take the time to research public speaking best practices–then practice them. Useful information is useless if you don’t actually use it.
Being able to identify your shortcomings and your major and minor goals is the first step to developing professionally.
Diversify Your Development
Another great way to ensure your continuous improvement is diversifying your knowledge. Depending on your industry, there are multiple avenues to learn from. If you’re a business owner who sells products, learn all about the products from creation to consumption. Whether you learn about the life of your products by working in each stage of the process, or through the people in those positions, you have a lot of expertise to gain. Find out what it takes to market the products, package them, distribute them, and so on. Once you’ve learned the “ins and outs,” you’ll have a greater appreciation for your products and business.
In addition to this diversification, gather insight from other businesses and how they operate. Although your current processes may be working for you, it’s possible that another business has an even more effective way of structuring their procedures.
Weave Your Net(work)
There’s no better way to build up your communication skills than to get out in the world and meet new people. Sign yourself up for networking events of all sorts. Even if you don’t work in the industry that a networking event is being held for, you’ll at least meet some interesting folks (perhaps ones that need your products). In the process, you’ll get a new perspective on various levels of professionalism and a range of effective communication methods. Check your expectations at the door and bring your best attitude–and best-looking business cards–to the function. You never know how many connections you’ll make!
Set Professional Goals and Manage Your Time
As you work to boost your professionalism, put more effort into managing your time. By increasing your time management skills, you’ll find that you have more openings in your schedule for other important tasks. Whether you get a daily agenda to carry around, or you find a phone app that helps you organize your schedule, time management is extremely useful in taking control of your life. Not only does it help you determine the amount of time you can spend on specific tasks, but it allows you to schedule other tasks accordingly.
If you have a dentist’s appointment that’s going to take an hour, put it in your schedule and use the time surrounding the appointment more efficiently. Now that you know you’ll be unavailable for an hour, you’ll feel an urgency to get more accomplished before and after that hour. This efficient method for scheduling your time is called “time-blocking.” Learn more about this tactic, here.
While you’re discovering the time-management style that works for you, start setting goals for yourself, too! This way, you can consistently take actions that will get you closer to achieving your dreams. Examples of professional goals to set are:
- Become a better leader.
- Commit to being a life-long learner.
- Improve your public speaking and presentation skills.
- Build your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
These are just a few ideas for the many ways that you can develop professionally. So, whatever your goals are as a professional, make sure that you’re well-equipped to achieve them.
In addition to the skills we’ve outlined above, business professionals should be able to overcome setbacks while maintaining a level head. Read our blog “4 Keys to Overcoming Everyday Setbacks” to learn how.