After a decade long as an entrepreneur, one of the key lessons that I have learnt is that a commitment to ongoing learning is critical to entrepreneurial success. In other words, a success oriented, forward thinking entrepreneur is one who has a growth mentality, thus making him/her open to learning something new every day for their personal advancement and the growth of their enterprise.
So, whether you sign up for online courses, attend physical classes in a college, hook up with an social learning group like African Women Entrepreneurs Ireland,, start working with a mentor, or read books like Blue Ocean Strategy, Eat That Frog, The Lean Startup or other great books out there. The bottom line is – KEEP LEARNING.
In this article, I share with you some reasons why you should keep learning, if you really want to succeed in Business.
- You cannot grow beyond what you know – No one can give to anyone else what they do not have, least of all to their own businesses. Your business cannot grow beyond the present capacity of your knowledge and understanding. If you want to do more with your business, seek for knowledge in the area in which you are deficient and then apply that knowledge correctly as a function of the new understanding you have gained. Learning presents opportunities for the development of new and relevant knowledge, skills and competencies. The continued existence of your business depends on it.
- Yesterday’s knowledge may no longer good enough – Although the acronym VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain,, Complex and Ambiguous – is now a trend, it does indeed aptly describe the kind of environment in which we live and do business. In a VUCA world, dynamism and crazy is normal and, as an entrepreneur (who doesn’t want to stay on the side lines or be left behind), you want to stay current with knowledge, strategy and appropriate responses to the constant changes in the business environment that would undoubtedly affect your industry and your business. In a VUCA environment, yesterday’s knowledge may be ineffective for tackling today’s business needs/challenges.
- Why waste time looking for what someone else has already found – Entrepreneurs are people with no time to waste! So, why waste time looking for answers to a current problem, when you can simply ask the person who has already found the answer and used it to solve a problem. Or you can read a book or article already written about that topic. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! Network with business leaders and others who have already successfully trodden the path you are currently on. Save yourself the headache and time, get out of your shell and find the people. Don’t waste precious time and resources looking for the key to the door that someone has already opened.
- Gain new energy, motivation and inspiration – My experience is that learning infuses me with renewed energy and motivation to become a better person, a better leader, a better business woman…It is insight into a world of possibilities and how opportunities can be recognised and maximised. If you are feeling like nothing is working at the moment and you feel like just giving up, invest in learning something new. It doesn’t have to be connected to business but should be something of real interest to you.
- Mentors are great for sharing their knowledge, their successes, failures, skills and even their contacts. One of the advantages of having a mentor is that it accelerates your professional growth and progress, and it creates a greater “chance” for your business to succeed. I believe that everyone should have a mentor at one stage or the other in their personal and/or professional lives, especially if they are interested in accelerated growth and success. Good mentors are great for investing in their protégés; the successes of these protégés becoming feathers in their own caps. A caveat, though – it is very important for you to have an attitude of humility and respect and a desire to learn, if you are to keep receiving value from your mentor.
It’s time to actively commit to continuous learning and development. Your business success depends on it!
Toluwani Akaehomen is a leadership Development Strategist, an educator and serial entrepreneur. She is Principal Leadership Development Consultant at Vantage Dymensions,