Ask any entrepreneur that has enjoyed considerable success, and they will all tell you the same thing: keep learning. Some business people think that once they’ve secured a few big profits and got their FoundersCard, the hard work is over, and they know all they need to know. In reality, the hard work has only just begun, and there is so much more to learn. Sure, there is an inner drive and determination to make things happen that is apparent in every entrepreneur. But there is also a keen mind that knows its limitations and strives to self-improve.
According to research, entrepreneurs and highly successful business people tend to read over 60 books every year – that’s more than one a week. So, the next time you think to yourself that you are too busy to learn, think again. Continuing your education – whether it’s taking online courses or going to college – will form a critical part of your success in life, and in business. Here are the top five reasons why entrepreneurs keep learning.
If you want to be the best, learn from the best
Forget what you think about ‘natural born entrepreneurs.’ No innate talent gives people the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Even those with the typical entrepreneurial traits and characteristics can’t possibly know everything about anything. It’s hard work and learning that separates the wheat from the chaff, and if you want to enjoy even a tenth of the success of the wealthiest entrepreneurs on the planet, you need to engage your education.
And here’s the thing: all those entrepreneurs who have tasted incredible success have all made mistakes. Learning from them means you won’t have to go through the same failures or agonizing and costly errors that occur in business all the time. It’s why top entrepreneurs in one sector will always read up on the advice and stories of those in another – and you should be doing the same.
Business is all about networking, and continuing your education puts you with lots of like-minded individuals that you could end up making connections with. In the long-term, who knows where this might lead? Whether it’s attending industry conferences, taking classes at a college, or joining in on a video conference call, you will be hanging out with people just like you. Whether it’s exciting new ideas or a simple conversation about how your colleague works differently, every person you meet will have something to offer.
It’s also worth pointing out that the life of an entrepreneur can often be something of a lonely existence. If you are just getting started and don’t have the benefit of a surrounding community, it can be incredibly tough going. You don’t have an outlet, release, or support – all of which are vital for a broad range of distinct reasons. Put simply, educational and learning environments are a great place to keep your sanity.
Want to know one of the biggest reasons entrepreneurs love to keep on learning? It’s because they can. It wasn’t so long ago that continuing your education meant returning back to college or university. And many business owners simply didn’t have the time. These days, however, it’s a different story. There is a multitude of avenues you can explore, from attending industry conferences through to taking privately-run courses by leaders in your industry.
Of course, you can still go to college – but the ways you can learn are changing in a big way. These days, you can save on traveling to and from a campus and be more efficient with your time to do an online masters program, for example. You’ll save on fees, too, and you will also have access to all your course materials forever. If you want to continue your education in any setting, there has never been a better time to do it than now.
Understanding your industry
No industry is safe from change. Take the music retailers 10-15 years ago – there were some that are still around today that adapted quickly to the threat posed by mp3s, streaming and digital music. Others, however, failed to grasp what was happening and are now out of business. In every industry, it’s vital to be aware of the coming disruptions, and learning about the ins and outs of your sector is going to help you avoid coming to an untimely end.
Don’t forget, when you are an entrepreneur it’s important to be able to understand the wider industry – not just your niche. Outside of your little sector’s bubble, who knows what could be going on in the wider world? Educating yourself to a broad industry level will help you pivot when necessary, invest if you need it, and protect your business when trouble rears its head.
A continual source of inspiration
Ultimately, entrepreneurs love learning because it inspires them to achieve great things. Inspiration rarely arrives when you are doing the same old thing every day, whether it’s making sales or chatting to the same type of customer. Everyone needs a difference in their lives to be creative, and it’s also important to challenge yourself with new experiences, sources of information, and ways of doing things that you may not be aware of.
Once you start getting set in your ways and stop learning, you will find that your bright ideas begin to dry up. Not only that, but you also risk becoming antipathetic and casual about your business. If you want to experience real success, inspiration is one of the most important drivers – and without continuous education, you will find those new ideas a lot harder to come by.
OK, so there you have it – five compelling reasons why entrepreneurs love to learn. Unless you are incredibly lucky, it’s certainly a route you should be considering for yourself. After all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Educating yourself will ultimately improve your business, protect it from disruption, and give you the skills, confidence, and knowledge you need to embrace new challenges in different sectors. And if that’s not enough, you will also make some excellent friends and contacts.
Is learning important to you, or do you struggle to find the time to fit it in? We’re keen to hear your thoughts, so why not share them in the comments section below?