Professional development is not a new idea. It’s been around for a while, and that’s because it’s a good thing. Business Dictionary defines professional development as the:
Process of improving and increasing capabilities of staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace, through outside organization, or through watching others perform the job.
Type in ‘professional development’ on Google and the search engine will produce pages on pages on pages of articles and writings on the importance of it for employees. Small business that provide professional development have a higher employee retention rate, they make more money, and they have employees who can be promoted. Some career paths, such as education and medicine, require a certain amount of professional development hours over a period of time, but everyone can benefit from the lifelong learning process.
Professional Development Ideas for Employees
Offering professional development ideas for employees can range from multi-day off site training programs to simply hosting a business book club. When deciding what sorts of professional development to consider for your company, try to make it a win-win situation: choose something that will benefit the company as a whole, but also something that the individual can get excited about as well.
Why Professional Development is Important for Business Owners Too
As a small business owner, you can’t forget yourself when it comes to professional development. Have you heard to concept of “filling your own cup” when it comes to self care? Basically meaning that you can’t ‘pour’ from empty cup–you can’t help others when you are burned out.
As a small business owner and leader, you need to continue growing and learning in order to best help your business and your employees. You need to make sure that your own cup is full too, so to speak.
5 Professional Development Ideas for Small Business Owners
1. Join a cohort
One can be the loneliest number, right? Being a leader can be difficult. You may have a team that you can bounce ideas off of, but unless you have a partner no one else in the business can really get it. No one else knows what it’s like to be wearing your shoes…and we are betting that you are wearing some pretty big ones.
Try and find a cohort of similar people. Even better if they are in the same business as you. For example:
My father has run a successful business for almost 30 years. He is part of a group of businessmen that come from all over the country. They all own the same type of business but are located in different states. Every few months they all visit each others’ businesses. They talk, observe, offer feedback, and garner new ideas from each other.
2. Take classes
Depending what line of work you are in, this may be a necessity in order to keep up with certifications. Even if continuing education is not mandated, it can still be a good move. Check out local universities or community colleges for any classes that you could enroll in. Don’t be afraid to be open minded with the course content–something seemingly unrelated may end up helping you a lot!
3. Read books and then read some more books
It’s no secret that successful people read a lot. Making an effort to read regularly is a great way to sneak in some extra professional development. Not sure where to start with reading? There’s been evidence to show that successful people tend to read biographies and autobiographies. You can also find many highly lauded books about business.
In order to reap the maximum amount of benefits out of reading, be sure to make it a regular part of your routine–not just an afterthought if you have time. Scheduling in reading and learning time sets a good example for your employees so they are also encouraged to continue learning and growing.
4. Attend conferences
Meeting new people and making connections? Check. Listening to talks by experts in the field? Check. Learning about new innovations and checking out new materials? Check. There are plenty of reasons to attend a business conference in your field. An added bonus? They are usually held in different places, so you can maybe squeeze some sightseeing in on the bookends of the trip. Plus, who doesn’t love hotel room service?
5. Join in with your employees during their professional development
It is true that there are specific professional development ideas and learning opportunities that are geared for business owners and entrepreneurs. However, if you have professional development planned for your employees, don’t just assume that you can’t learn anything from it either. You may learn more about your field, about working together as a team, or you may simply learn more about your employees.
Looking for more ways to help your business succeed? Contact us at Lumen Advisory and Finance!