Learn why professional growth matters for entrepreneurs and small business owners, and see how to leverage these 10 opportunities to grow. | Bplans Blog

The best leaders are known for being the best learners. Anyone can succeed if they prepare themselves to advance in their career.

If you’re looking to develop yourself professionally, you’re already one step ahead. Here’s why professional growth matters and what opportunities you can examine moving forward.

Why professional growth matters

Entrepreneurship can be challenging. Even though people view entrepreneurs as visionaries, they still have areas where they need to grow and develop, just like corporate employees.

Feedback and structure are great opportunities to learn new adaptive skills. However, some entrepreneurs never fully comprehend the areas they need to strengthen. 

Professional growth is crucial because, without it, it would be difficult to grow a business. According to Harvard Business Review, “Adaptability is the new competitive advantage.” Many companies are growing three times faster than others in the past because they adopt a growth mindset.

Opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow

To remain successful in business, you need to embrace change. How can entrepreneurs do this in the absence of a corporate growth program? Start by focusing on the following opportunities for growth.

1. Adopt a learning mindset

The willingness to learn is one of the most crucial skills to acquire in life and entrepreneurship. Studies show that individuals achieve more with a growth mindset rather than having one that’s fixed. A desire to learn can be vital to business success.

Even so, failure is one thing to consider as an opportunity for acquiring new skills. These abilities are necessary and viable in expanding knowledge and understanding of how business works. 

To pace yourself quickly with changes, set aside time to keep learning new skills regularly.

2. Learn business strategy

Alongside adopting a learning mindset, entrepreneurs should develop a business strategy. Successful entrepreneurs build thriving companies because they have many skill sets, but they also need to focus on the future.

Maintaining a growth mindset can often lead to the ability to learn business strategy. However, structure and growth can be acquired when using sense and adaptive skills.

To maintain success, entrepreneurs must ensure they have a solid strategy in place to achieve growth. 

3. Enhance your vision

Some entrepreneurs can get caught up in how others are achieving their successes. They look at how they built their brand and lose sight of their own vision. Some also become too invested in motivational speakers and coaches.

They often attempt to follow in their footsteps as a way to achieve growth. However, entrepreneurs need to realize they can dissect their own strategies, adapt, and move along their journey.

The key is to learn from everyone you meet and strive to be the best you can be.

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4. Utilize your professional network

Focus on gaining practical advice from professionals in your network. This offers you the chance to take your strategies and turn them into an action plan. 

A few methods for utilizing your network can be in the form of a mentorship program, friendly gatherings, or professional groups such as:

You might find chatting with someone for a few hours is more productive than taking a month-long course. Overall, the objective is to have a clear goal in mind when talking to someone.

5. Invest in education

A successful entrepreneur retains some of the skills through their natural abilities. On the other hand, they also develop them through training and education in business and management. 

A typical route that entrepreneurs take is achieving their Masters in Business Administration (MBA). This can involve a broad spectrum of courses ranging from accounting to communications and much more. While MBA programs prepare students for the financial sector, they also pivot their careers for management positions, startups and foundations.

Other opportunities that entrepreneurs should consider are online courses. These courses are available for entrepreneurs with topics ranging from growing your business to podcasting. Udemy offers a wide selection of business courses with affordable fees ranging from $12 to $25.

Hubspot Academy also offers free lessons on how to become a leader in sales, marketing, and more. They also offer free certifications on a range of topics, including digital marketing and inbound marketing. 

Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? Businesses can fail with innovative ideas and a solid structure due to high competition and market pressures.

However, successful entrepreneurs know how to take risks and not let these factors deter them from starting a business.

6. Find mentors

Having the resources and tools to back up your knowledge is invaluable. However, there’s nothing like accessing someone else’s perspectives when trying to develop new ideas.

Entrepreneurs should find a mentor they can trust outside of their business. Consider a coaching platform like BetterUp to enhance your career. They have several professional coaches you can choose to help you get started.

Another method is to seek out potential mentors, develop a board of directors and conduct supervisory mentoring. You can approach this tactic by incorporating a mentorship program within your organization so your team can get to work.

Either way, choose wisely in seeking someone as a mentor. They can be resourceful and provide you with validation, ideas, and new perspectives. A mentor may be just what you need to boost your confidence and your business.

7. Ask for feedback

Some entrepreneurs find it challenging to ask for feedback. Many only want to hear the positives in what their team has to say. Of course, everyone feels like this is in some way. 

However, if you truly want to be the boss, you need to understand your employees’ feelings and insights. How do you get them to share their feedback?

One approach you can take is providing an open-door policy. Invite your employees to give you feedback whenever they feel the need. Just make sure you are open to being approachable. In return, you can thank them for their insights and suggestions.

It may take time for your team to open up, so keep asking for feedback time and again. Constantly asking is critical so you can offer support and be the leader they care about.

8. Read regularly

Reading is an excellent way for business owners to invest in themselves. It gives you a chance to recover from your mistakes and avoid business pitfalls. Reading gives leaders the advantage of building self-confidence and broadening their horizons.

Entrepreneurs can seek relevant articles, current events, and historical subjects about their industry. The best books are those written by leaders who’ve experienced failures and successes.

Reading also enhances your creativity. It reduces stress, stimulates memory function, and can lead you to some truly innovative thinking. 

If you don’t have time for reading, audiobooks are a great alternative to developing yourself professionally.

9. Pass your knowledge to others

Teaching people what you already know helps you become a better entrepreneur. When you teach others, you open yourself up to new viewpoints and possibilities. This type of engagement also leads you to broaden your perceptions about the business world.

Entrepreneurs can master new things when opening up to others about their knowledge and skills. Apart from what you already know, sometimes teaching can provide you with something more to learn. 

When you sit down to share your wisdom, two things come into play. The first is recalling your skills and ideas and being able to retain them better. Second, teaching someone can help you learn about the subject in more detail. Overall, you can realize what you overlook or lack in your business.

10. Build self-awareness

Self-awareness is critical to those who want to be influential leaders. Entrepreneurs should observe their own actions as they go about their workdays. It’s a good idea to set some time aside and think about what improvements can be made.

When it comes to self-awareness, entrepreneurs should find out what drives their motivation. They need to know where their strengths lie and leverage them.

A successful leader will also address their weaknesses so they can make improvements more quickly. If setting the time aside to do this self-audit regularly isn’t possible, try to tie it into your monthly plan review and reporting processes. Ask for feedback from your team, review your own goals, and examine why you have or have not achieved them. Doing this will showcase how important process reviews are to the rest of your team, making it far easier to identify potential pitfalls and opportunities.

Growth is ongoing

Several opportunities lie in wait for you to discover when it comes to developing yourself professionally. The business world is dynamic and fast-paced, but you don’t want that to stop you from growing as a leader. As long as you keep learning to adapt, success will come more easily.

AvatarEleanor Hecks

Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.