Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why do we need continuous professional education?

The need for continuous training.
If you own your own business, surely your dream is to grow it, develop it beyond all borders you can possibly imagine, opening up additional offices, hire new staff, increase your client base, sell a lot more, and we could continue like this forever.

And all that is good. In order to move forward with your business, you need to have that drive, the illusion that always pushes you to continue growing, developing new things, promoting internal growth, look for new opportunities, and so on.

Indeed, we could safely say that if you didn't have such drive, your business wouldn't probably ever take off.

Growing up your business means to venture into new areas.

In any event, it means that your business growth will require you to operate new departments or functional areas, if you want to get a bit more formal.

Surely you will begin to hire people to help you manage all the paperwork you need to keep taxes, payments, bank statements and all office stuff up to date. Then you´ll probably move on to the sales department to add personnel to handle your actual sales volume and, definitely, increase your customer base and bring in more business.

You could probably need a receptionist as well, to answer the huge number of phone calls that your company receives daily. Or perhaps you need to hire the receptionist first? In any case, the growth of your business will necessarily require more people on your side to get the job properly done.

And with that, your business will require you to be adequately prepared to manage people.

Are you able to delegate tasks and work as a team? Your first challenge as an entrepreneur, will be to delegate on others the control of certain areas of your business and to be as confident as you can that they will do the job as well as you did or even better.

Is at that moment when you will begin to realize that you must be professionally prepared to delegate tasks and responsibilities. Let’s talk about the receptionist: Can you explain her fully and clearly what her duties will be and what performance you’ll  expect from her?

Of course you do! This is the easy part. The tricky one is what follows: Can you trust that she’ll make her work as you asked her to, or you will become one of those prosecutor chiefs that, when out of office, are continually calling their receptionist to ask who has called in?

And that's where you need to start your continuous professional training.

Even though you can be a specialist on your specific industry, a cum laude graduate, with a deep knowledge of all the details of your professional area, if you haven’t had training in specific areas such as HHRR management, leadership, or even how to relate to other people or speaking to an audience, you’re going to have a problem as your business grows.

That’s why regularly investing money in your professional development, is so important. Not just because your business needs it, but also because for you it’s an enriching process that allows you to grow professionally, and even as a person.

Why do we need continuous professional training?

Because if you do nothing, you’ll lose the ability to effectively manage each of the operational areas your business will demand as it grows. Caution: I don’t mean you’ve to get a college degree in each of the areas, but at least you must be able to handle basic terminology, fundamental concepts and have the required "know-how" to measure the performance of each area and if necessary, actively participate on them.

I'll share with you a case that happened to me recently with a client: The company urgently needed to get new clients through making cold call visits to local companies. What would you have done had it been your situation? Surely you’ll have hired an experienced sales guy and, if at all possible, with his own clientele.

However, this decision involves a monetary cost my client couldn’t afford, not to say increasing his payroll and, for the worst, he has never done the job before himself and doesn’t have any experience in doing cold-calling.

So I decided to put together a sales techniques training program for him, so that he could go out and begin to develop his customer base himself by doing cold calling,  while acquiring the necessary knowledge to manage his future sales team more efficiently.

If, from the very beginning of his business, more than twenty years, he had been aware of how important it was receiving continuous professional training on different areas, he would probably have taken the time to increase his knowledge and skills on different subjects, that now would have proven its effectiveness to help him grow his business.

And this is just one example of many that abound of entrepreneurs like you who have decided to start a business with only a business plan, much enthusiasm and, at best, some capital.

The continuous professional training is an investment not an expense.

All the money you invest in properly training yourself for managing each of the operational areas of your business, directly or indirectly, is an investment that has an outstanding importance on the medium and long term.

Not only prepares you to analyze your business beyond the numbers and financial reports, but also allows you to actively and effectively participate in its development and growth.

When was the last time you invested money in your professional development? What about a refresher course perhaps?

Related post: It´s time to grow: When it´s not good to wear too many hats?

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