You have the greatest influence over your business.

How it grows, what you sell and who you sell to are all decisions predominantly made by you. That’s why investing in yourself as a business person is so important. Yet, worryingly, self development is often overlooked.

Now that we are globally connected, competition is fierce. Setting yourself above your competitors is crucial, and nurturing your own skills and interests can help this to happen.

Eddie Ricci, author of The Growth Game: A Millennials Guide to Professional Development, recommends what he calls ‘The 3 per cent solution’. By investing 3 per cent of your gross income in yourself, you can achieve substantial business growth. For example, if you make £50,000 a year, £1,500 a year of that should be spent on personal development.

So what does this look like?

Courses and Seminars

One of the first personal development techniques that springs to mind is to take part in formal learning, such as a course, talk and seminar. Listening live to an expert on a subject matter that could benefit your business, whilst surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs, is invaluable. The new ideas you’re likely to leave with can be implemented into your business model and improve the way you work. This learning strategy could take up a day, a week or months of your time depending on how far you take it. For inspiration, use a business course finder to browse subjects and locations.

Online Distance Learning

Learning without leaving your living room has never been so popular. In fact, according to The Financial Times, there’s been significant growth in the number of people undertaking their MBAs via distance learning platforms. Short or long courses are available, and many institutions such as The Open University allow you to work at your own pace and undertake as many (or as few) credits as you like.

Hire A Business Coach

Whether your business is mature or still in its infancy, a business coach can provide invaluable insight into how it can do better. Having someone on your side, but objectively looking at all aspects of the business and giving honest feedback can help you to challenge the status quo and think in broader (and often more exciting) terms. And remember, a good business coach will eventually pay for themselves in revenue increase! You can read our dedicated blog post on the benefits of hiring a business coach here.

Network

A good contact can make the world of difference to your business success, and professional networking will help you to meet them. Using a business events finder, you can locate and register for a number of networking meetings near you. Imagine swapping information with someone who eventually becomes a business partner on a joint venture, or meeting a publisher who’s keen to talk to you about a business book in your niche. Invest time and a little bit of money into attending networking events and you could be amazed at where it takes you.

Listen To Audio Books

Whether you prefer paper books, Ebooks or audiobooks, there’s an abundance of fantastic reading for small or large business owners available. What makes audiobooks particularly handy is you can listen to them on the move. You can’t soak up a hard cover book while driving down the M6, but you certainly can listen to it on your CD player. Spending just half an hour of your commuting time per day digesting valuable nuggets of information from some of the most brilliant minds in business is highly beneficial. Read our top five business book recommendations here. When you become a member of Sales On A Daily Basis, you get a free audible account which allows you to choose one audio book per month!

Don’t Forget Your Employees

For every new employee you hire, you spend, on average, the equivalent of 9 months of an existing employees salary. What’s more, unhappy staff often create unhappy customers, and that’s never a good place for your business to be in.

With this in mind, it’s crucial you invest some time and money into your employees’ training and development. Offering them courses, training days and even access to business books can make a huge difference to their capabilities, sense of loyalty and personal growth. A more competent, harder working and valued employee will generate a more positive working environment and ultimately more revenue for your business.

So what personal investment will you make in 2018 that ultimately grows your business?

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