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As an entrepreneur, there is no substitute for the experience you get working day-in and day-out from the moment you first started your business to keeping it running and growing today. However, an increasingly tech-centric economy is encouraging business owners to get back into the classroom for a business education to update their skills and bring their companies to the next level.
And why not? With a rapidly changing business education landscape, it’s never been easier for working professionals to go back to school—although “school” may look very different from the hallowed halls you remember.
More adult learners are opting out of the traditional business education, or MBA, experience to enroll in for-profit institutions like tech boot camps or massive open online courses (MOOCs). Not only are these alternatives more affordable, but they also take a more pragmatic, real-time, and self-paced approach to learning—tailored to an entrepreneur’s busy lifestyle.
Whether you are seeking long-term solutions to jump-start your business and grow as a leader, or you want to learn a specific new skill like how to build a business website, here are three reasons why a business education, whether a formal higher education program or a boot camp-style training course, may be right for you.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to use the latest and most effective technology and tactics to run your company. Refusing to stay up-to-date puts you and your business at risk of becoming outdated or ineffective. Old habits die hard, but so will your business if you don’t keep up with industry advances. Even if you studied business or a related field during your undergrad years, things have likely changed since you graduated. Returning to school for a formal business education will expose you to new ideas that can help grow your business—such as how to use social media to your advantage—as well as effective management training so your employees can be as productive as possible.
Everyone has met or heard stories about that boss who doesn’t know how to use the video-conferencing system or refuses to use Slack to communicate with their team. No matter how intelligent or effective these individuals might be, employees and clients are bound to become frustrated with a business leader who doesn’t have basic technical competencies. Don’t be that boss who views technical advances as a threat. Furthering your business education will help you stay up-to-date with the latest technology, and specialized courses designed around one skill or product can teach you new skills without keeping you out of the office for too long.
Try as you might, it’s impossible to know everything. Even the most experienced business owners have knowledge gaps in areas like sales or finance. Getting an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses can help you understand areas for improvement, and developing your business education will help you fill these gaps sooner rather than later. Not only will you gain a better understanding of your business as a whole, but you’ll be able to spot redundancies or inefficiencies that pose a threat.
Of course, you don’t need to be an expert in every facet of your business—that’s why you have an executive team and legal and tax experts—but it’s always a good idea to have a general knowledge of all the departments that come together to make your business run smoothly. A business education can provide this deeper understanding that can help take your company to the next level.
Whether you’re looking to shift your business model, introduce a new product or service, or make an important new hire—there’s no need to fly blind. Furthering your business education, even if that means taking just one class, can give you the expertise you need to make key business decisions and lead your company to success.
Just as you might provide your employees with education stipends to continue their professional development, you should do the same for yourself. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you should stop learning. As both you and your team develop new skills through business education, your company will continue to grow and evolve.
It can be hard to admit you don’t know everything when you’re leading a company, but as the business and technology landscapes continue to rapidly change, it’s in your best interest to seek out business education courses to further your knowledge. The best leaders are those who are always eager to learn something new. You never know what can spark the next big idea for your business, after all.
A business education will help you stay up-to-date with changes in your industry, fill the gaps on your resume, and inform important decisions that can make or break your business. Not to mention that learning something new is a great way to network with other business owners. With so many education options suitable for a busy schedule, continuing your business education has never been more accessible to an entrepreneur.