Don’t let ignorance become your biggest business expense.

Last year sometime, I was listening to a young entrepreneur talk about her business journey. She was asked to share one piece of advice with the audience, and she said, “Be teachable.” I loved that, because I think, that business owners, more so than anyone else, need to have a lifelong learning mindset. Looking at the rate of change in business and technology today, it’s critical that we prioritize our learning and be teachable if we want to stay ahead and not become redundant.

I know some of you may be thinking “but I don’t have the time or resources.” I am not talking about getting degree upon degree. I’m talking about having an open, curious, questioning and seeking mind. Dennis Kimbro in his book, the Wealth Choice, writes that “Education is not an end process. The best educated are those who are always learning, forever absorbing information from every possible source and at every opportunity.”

So, if you think you don’t have the time or money to be continuously learning, here are my 5 hacks for staying informed as a business owner:

1)  Listen to talk radio: The afternoon / early evening business shows are interesting, current, and informative. You get to listen to industry experts, talk about topical issues affecting business and the economy. If you’re anything like me, if I hear something interesting, I then take time to further research online – ensuring I get a better and deeper understanding.

2)  Choose a book and read or listen to one chapter a day: Don’t be intimidated by the statistics you see on social media, such as “Bill Gates reads 50 book a year.” My suggestion is for you to find your own pace. Start slowly. Read a chapter a day or even read for 30 minutes, in the morning or evening. The important thing here, is to read.

3)  Listen to Podcasts: Personally, my favourite podcast is called “How I built this” by Guy Raz – I find so much wisdom in other people’s journeys. But there are so many informative podcasts you can listen to. I listen to podcasts when I’m travelling somewhere or when I just don’t want to listen to the radio.

4)  Register for an online course: There are so many inexpensive online courses you can register on and learn something new. I was chatting to a fellow business owner the other day, who has created amazing videos for his app. When I asked who created them, he said “I did. I learnt it on Udemy.”

5) Attend forums and conferences: When I started my business, my biggest investment that year was attending a week-long conference that cost me an arm & a leg (at the time). But I learnt so much there and even got to network with people I would probably never have met in my normal life. It doesn’t have to be an expensive event. There are a lot of free and inexpensive forums that take place.

Find the time; listen to what people have to say and be open to learning because, in the words of Eppie Lederer, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” 

By: Nokwazi Mzobe, April 2018