Lifelong Learning for Business Success

I used to be surprised when I heard statistics like this: 50% of all businesses fail in their first three years. Well, I’ve been in business for several decades and have seen many entrepreneurs come and go. Quite frankly, I’m more surprised that 50% of businesses actually make it past the first three years because so many of them don’t focus on, or invest time on, education for improving their business. I know that may sound a bit harsh, however…

One thing I’ve learned is that most successful business professionals embrace and engage in “a culture of learning” in order to excel in their chosen career. Personal and professional self-development is an ongoing journey – not a destination. It is always a work in progress. 

Often, businesspeople get so caught up working “in” their business that they forget to spend time working “on” their business. I believe that working “on” a business includes one’s professional development.

Most entrepreneurs only pay lip service to education (well, maybe not you since you’re  taking time to read this blog about business – but I’m talking about the average entrepreneur). When you mention education, everybody says, “Yeah, it’s really important,” and yet many people don’t consistently schedule time to listen to podcasts or audio programs; they don’t read books or blogs or watch videos to learn more about business and networking and leadership and other topics that can help them be more successful.

Ask any number of businesspeople and entrepreneurs if they would be willing to attend a seminar on building their business, and 75% of them will say “Yes!” And yet, if you continue to tell them that the seminar is three weeks from tomorrow at 7 pm, only a handful of those who initially said that they would attend will actually sign up.

Ben Franklin’s Wisdom

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.”

Franklin didn’t mean to spend every penny you have on education. He meant that if you do spend money on education, it will be money well spent.

I love the enduring truth and wisdom in that quote. In fact, Lifelong Learning has been part of my personal values for most of my life. It is also one of the Core Values that I incorporated into BNI®, the company I founded in 1985.

Invest in YOU

Here’s a suggestion that can help get you started on the path to immersing and engaging in a culture of learning:

Look at your financials (or credit card statements or checking account) for the past year. Have you invested money into any type of ongoing business education? If you aren’t “emptying some of your purse into your head,” take a few minutes to think about what you want to learn that will help you build your business and then sign up for something this week. Yes, do it now.

I recommend that you invest an appropriate amount of money on learning for yourself and your business. If you don’t have any budget at all today, there is so much free material available online such as this blog, my videos, BNI, and other books and things from reputable leaders and authors. But still, you’re going to have to take time. And guess what? Time is money.

I think that successful businesspeople understand that if you want to earn more, you have to learn more. Be intentional about learning now to build your future success. Remember, your personal and professional self-development is always a work in progress. Invest in your education and enjoy the journey. 




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