Never Stop Educating Yourself

ID-10041080I’m a huge believer in the value of continued education. No one is ever at a point where they can stop educating themselves, and if you do stop, you’ll surely fall behind in your field.

We can’t always be enrolled in a higher education course, though, so what is the most logical way to continue educating yourself well into your professional life? While the best way to learn indefinitely depends on your lifestyle, your specific field, and your learning style, here are my three favorite ways to keep on top of new (and old!) developments in business.

Read articles and books. Thought leaders are always writing articles and books about their fields, sharing their perspectives on the ins and outs of their specialties. While these pieces will always have some degree of opinion in them, and you won’t always agree with everything you read, well written articles and books will get you thinking, get you interested, and leave you wanting to do your own follow up research.

Attend conferences. When you attend a conference and you listen to the keynote speaker, if those in charge of organizing the event did their job, the speaker not only taught you a little something, but got you fired up to go out and learn more. Not only is the keynote speaker a great source of continued education at conferences, smaller sessions and even other attendees can help get your gears turning, and teach you something you didn’t know before.

Practice practice practice. You probably haven’t reached the point where you can do anything perfectly every time, and even if you have, going without practice can cause you to lose your skill. How can you get better at something if you don’t do it? What’s more, talk to colleagues, people you respect in your field, or consult the internet for new techniques as you’re practicing. If you keep practicing something the wrong way, you’ll get really good at doing it wrong. If you practice something in new and different ways, you’ll be more likely to round out that skill level.

How do you continue your education? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Invest Your Time & Money for the Highest Return

In this video, I talk about how to invest time and money into your business in the way that will ultimately pay the highest return–education.

Many businesses fail within their first three years of existence because they only pay lip service to education yet aren’t willing to invest the time, effort, and money into learning about how to continually grow and develop in order to achieve the business goals and the vision they outlined for themselves at the start.

The fact is, people who immerse and engage in a culture of learning are much, much more successful than those who don’t. Watch the video now to learn about an action you can take this week that will help you measure whether or not you’re investing enough of your time and money into what will truly help your business earn more and achieve more. 

BobGrowthGraphI’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on this video, your comments about what you currently do in order to invest in educating yourself to build your business, and also your results from carrying out the action item I explain at the end of the video.  Please leave your feedback regarding any or all of these things in the comment forum below, and for the first ten people who add to their comment where Bob makes his cameo appearance (and get the answer right) during the video, I’ll send them a surprise gift that will most definitely help them invest in their networking education!  (Note: To ensure you receive your gift, please e-mail your name and complete mailing address to erin@bni.com with the subject line “Bob.”)  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Time + Learning + Networking = Referral Marketing Success

In this short video, I’m joined by two esteemed referral marketing experts, Phil Bedford and Tom Fleming, each of whom offer memorable metaphors which demonstrate the crucial nature of education in achieving success when it comes to business networking and referral marketing.

Watch the video now to find out how lumberjacks, lots of excuses, driving a vehicle, and one good reason can all combine to help you make time in your schedule to learn more and ultimately earn more.

After watching the video, think about the ways in which you might already seek out education in regard to business networking (e.g., reading the blog posts on this site, etc.) and please leave a comment in the comment forum below sharing your suggestions for great educational resources which may help others learn valuable tools and skills to improve their referral marketing success.  I’m always on the lookout for great books, blogs, etc. so if you’ve found educational resources that have been particularly helpful to you, I’d love to hear about them–thanks!

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To find out more about the Referral Institute®, the educational organization in which Phil Bedford and Tom Fleming are both highly involved, please visit www.ReferralInstitute.com.

Building Your Network Effectively–Where to Start . . .

If you’re having a hard time building your network because you’re concerned people can’t seem to understand or relate to your business, it’s helpful to remember that before you can begin to network effectively, you need to find a way to explain your business in a way that people will easily understand. 
We ALL need to heed this rule of thumb and be able to clearly and simply communicate what it is that we do by pinpointing key aspects of our business for our potential referral sources.

My advice to anyone confused about how to clearly explain what it is that they do is to ask yourself these questions and write down your answers:

  • Why are you in business (other than to make a living)?  Why do you do what you do?  How does your business serve others?
  • What do you sell?  Most important, what are the benefits—not the features—of your products or services?
  • Who are your customers?  What are your target markets?  Be specific.  Look at all segments of your business to determine the niche or niches you prefer to work with.
  • What are your core competencies, and what do you do best?
  • How well do you compete?  How do you stand out from your competition?

These questions will help you explain what your business is all about, and make you more effective at implementing a comprehensive referral system.  By communicating these aspects of your business to referral sources, they’re learning how they can refer you; and that’s what networking is all about.

My ‘Business Networking and Sex’ Epiphany

In this video, Hazel Walker, one of my Business Networking and Sex co-authors, asks me what I learned from the research we conducted for the book and, specifically, what my biggest epiphany was.

I explain the answer that really blew me away and caused me to come to a major realization when I was interviewing someone prior to writing the book.  I’m telling you, no matter how much you may learn about networking, there’s always more to learn!

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