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You can get so engrossed in the process of building your business that you forget to make yourself a better businessperson.

There’s always going to be an excuse for not improving ourselves. And if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll have plenty of them. Where’s the space in your crowded schedule to attend a course? Would it not be wiser to put the money you’d spend on this into running your venture instead? And, does it really make a difference in the end?

First, investing in yourself as an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean piling certifications (although learning new strategies at relevant programs certainly could count). There are other ways to get sharper at being a businessperson- that’s what this article is actually about. The great thing is, many of these approaches cost next to nothing.

If you’re still wondering why you ought to make self-improvement top priority, these snappy points should make it all clear to you.

•The world is changing at a faster pace than it’s ever done. Staying in touch with the trends- or ahead of them –could be the difference between your business’s survival and its failure.

•You’re going to be much better at doing what you do if you sharpen your existing skills or acquire new, relevant ones. It’s what you might need to do if you’d like to improve the speed and quality of your decision making and execution on the job.

•The more you know (whether it’s information or people), the more opportunities for growth you’re likely to spot and exploit.

In a nutshell, investing in yourself will help you stay relevant in a business sphere that’s changing very rapidly; it’ll boost your productivity; and it’ll broaden your horizon of opportunities. Let’s put it even more succinctly: it’s a reliable route to growing your business.

Now that we’ve outlined a few reasons why you should focus on becoming a better entrepreneur, let’s look at some smart ways to get this done.

How to Invest in Yourself as a Businessperson 

1. Take Courses

We managed to circle right back to taking those courses. The costs involved are a bother, right?

Thankfully, you can find a lot of free courses online, including many that are relevant to the work you do. Some of them are listed here. The great thing is that a good number of these programs are run by globally recognized agencies and companies, so the certificates you’ll get with them come with some weight.

Still, you might eventually have to go for paid programs, like an MBA or a professional course. The benefits could far outweigh the expenses you incur on them. Besides the actual learning (which is great), you could make useful connections with coursemates who may be working at a similar job or building a business in your industry.

2. Read

You may never know what wonders books can do for you until you become an avid reader. The saying that reading broadens the mind may be a cliché, but it’s certainly true. If you want proof of this with successful businesspeople, look no further than the moguls of this age, and their reading habits: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg,  etc. It’s no coincidence that they’re all voracious readers.

Here’s why reading works: it gives you an insight into minds other than your own, and lets you into the experiences of other people. It equips you with an ability to visualize things in a way that most other media can’t. And of course, there’s the information you gain from reading stuff.

It’s a good idea to read more than just business books; try to get your hands on literature that provides insights into human thought, culture, and sentiments.

Trade publications, articles about the economy, and business journals are all good reading material as well. They could help you stay in touch with what’s going on in your industry or niche.

3. Connect With Other Businesspeople

The inspiration and energy that stem from attending meetups for entrepreneurs are better experienced than described. When such forums glow with inspirational success stories and shared dreams, it’s easy for attendees to get fired up to achieve more.

Ideas are not the only thing you’re likely to gain at these meetings. They also offer you a chance to network and grow your network of connections, including potential leads, partners, or investors.

If you think you aren’t cut out for networking, this video should help calm your fears. For interesting questions to get you through conversations at networking events, read our article, Six Questions You Should Ask at a Networking Event.

4. Create a Strong Personal Brand

While you’re working to fashion out a brand for your business, be sure that you’re doing the same for yourself. This will probably not be a significant distinction to make if you’re a solopreneur. Nonetheless, it’s a point worth emphasizing.

In practical terms, this will mean that you create and push an image of yourself as an expert and professional in your field. You should know a good deal about solving the problems that your industry exists to tackle and publicize this knowledge.

The mastery that’ll make you a thought leader will come with learning from books and courses (points 1 and 2 above), and your experience on the job. You can let the world know of your expertise by getting speaking slots at industry trade shows, guest posting on relevant websites, and being active on social media and online forums.

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This article was first published on 20th May 2019


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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