Becoming self-employed and rising to the top of a corporate ladder isn’t an excuse to be a control freak. The best business leaders are also great listeners who are soaking up information and advice all the time. There are many ways to develop new leadership skills, as well as general business skills that can better organise your company. Here are a few ways in which you can find such guidance.
Take a course
Courses are a great way of learning new skills that are essential for leadership. If you’ve got an entrepreneurial idea but no business expertise, you could consider a business-related course such as a Bachelor’s in Business Leadership . These courses are available to study on campus or to study online if you have other responsibilities such as another job or family.
Higher education courses aren’t the only option of course. Some people may prefer to take specific short courses in more niche skills. This could be a week long course in HR or even a day workshop in a specific marketing skill. There are sites that can help you find seminars and workshops in your area – whilst you may not get a qualification, they may be enough to build the basic skills you’re after.
Many business owners outsource advice to help them with complex areas of business. There are so many rules and regulations regarding business that it is virtually impossible to be a know-it-all on all aspects. The most popular advice that business owners outsource if financial advice. Accountants and financial advisors can help to give tips on tax-deductible expenses you could be claiming. There are also financial brokers who can help you to find the best deals on business loans, business insurance schemes and other business costs.
Other popular forms of business advice that business leaders outsource include legal advice, IT support and even marketing consultancy. These forms of advice can still allow you to make the decisions, although you may prefer to outsource companies to physically do these jobs for you and save you time and money.
Make sure that when you hire an advisor, they have proof of experience and qualifications so that you know they are reliable. There are dodgy and fraudulent advisors out there – but this is no reason to avoid professional advice altogether. Choose established consultancy companies that have good reviews online and are a member of a professional body (such as a chartered accountancy firm ). These advisors may cost a little more but you’ll be guaranteed good advice and you can hire them on a need-to-know basis.
Find free advice online
There are lots of places online where you can get advice for free. This may be ideal for business owners on a budget, although you may not always be able to get advice that’s as reliable and as specific.
For example, there are plenty of blogs and vlogs out there offering business advice. Many business owners with a good reputation have taken to Youtube have created channels for giving business advice. Similarly there are sites such as Business Insider , which are handy for general advice.
Alternatively, there are also apps out there for getting answers to more specific advice. For example, for those wanting legal advice, apps such as AskALawyer could be handy to have, saving you money on hiring a legal advisor. You may not get as detailed advice, but it’s an affordable solution for those small complexities that you’re struggling to find an answer for online.
Books on business advice can also be handy to own, specifically on niche areas. Being a published work, they may have more credibility than an online blog. That said, you should still read reviews before buying books as some could be complete nonsense. Also, try to look for new books, as old literature could be giving you outdated advice.
There are plenty of online guides on business literature that can point you in the right direction. That said, don’t be afraid to try new lesser-known books. You may even be able to rent some for cheap from your local library. E-books meanwhile can save space if you don’t want to clutter your office or run a paperless business.
Listen to your employees
Your employees may be subordinate to you but you can still use them for guidance. Many of the best business owners hire employees with skills that they themselves lack. This could be someone with experience in social media to give advice on better online marketing or someone who is highly organisational to help re-organise folders and the general organisation of the company.
Overall, employees may have less expertise than yourself, but that isn’t to say that they should be ignored. Whilst there are times to delegate jobs, also consider having brainstorm sessions when it comes to decisions that you yourself are not 100% confident about. By letting your team weigh in their ideas, they may feel more appreciated and may be more likely to want to help with the growth of your company. You can also ask your employees for advice when having one-on-one meetings such as progress reports – as well as letting them know how you think they’re doing, don’t be afraid to ask whether you think you and the company could be doing anything better.
Listen to your clients
Your clients can also be useful sources of advice on how to better run your company. Feedback forms and surveys can be great for giving to clients after you’ve worked with them, helping with market research and to pinpoint mistakes you may have overlooked. Allowing online reviews can also notify what you’re doing well and what you’re doing not so well.