5 Reasons for Entrepreneurs to Get Back to School

Entrepreneurs Get Back to SchoolAugust is “Back to School” season in my town. Back in July, stores were brimming with binders, pencils and notebooks. The state had its sales tax holiday two weeks ago. Kids anxiously selected their first day of school outfits and parents packed their lunches.

On Monday, the familiar yellow buses pulled up, and we’re off and running on another school year.

Something changes in the air when school starts, and even people who don’t have children can feel the shift in the daily rhythm of life. You might think of summer’s end as time to get “back to business,” but maybe it’s time for you to get back to school, too.

The most successful entrepreneurs I know are lifelong learners, even though they don’t necessarily hang out in a classroom on a regular basis. They’re never satisfied and don’t ever believe they know it all. They’re inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning new things. What about you?

Here are five reasons you might want to get back to school – at least metaphorically – and learn something new:

  1. Your competitors are doing it. In business, anyone standing still is rapidly falling behind. You might think you’ve “arrived.” Sorry to say, there’s no such thing. You have to keep moving and keep learning in order to keep building and growing. That’s the only way to maintain a competitive edge.
  2. Your field is changing at breakneck speed. I’m a marketer at heart, and that discipline evolves dramatically every day. It’s not the only one. Whether your expertise is in engineering, finance, HR, customer experience or some other function, there’s always something new to learn.
  3. Technology won’t wait. Technology touches every aspect of business today. People don’t work the way they did even three years ago. Are you up-to-speed on the latest apps for personal productivity? What about innovations in your industry? Even better, do you know what’s coming?
  4. Experience is relative. Having years of experience is wonderful, but it’s only relevant if you can put it in context. Can you compare and contrast what you knew then with what’s happening today? Learning something new let’s you draw parallels and identify distinctions that others might not see.
  5. It’s fun. There are lots of ways to learn, from MeetUps, MOOCs and masterminds to ebooks, webinars, and of course, traditional classes, However you choose to beef up your knowledge, it’s fun to discover new ideas. Even a 5-minute podcast can be eye-opening, so give it a try and see.

I’ve made my case and you might be thinking, “I don’t have time for that!” You’re wrong. Learning can happen every day if you let it. Here’s how:

  • Ask questions everywhere you go, from employees, partners and people you meet on the street. Inquire about why, when, where and how. Who knows what’s you’ll discover!
  • Commit to doing something new and different every month. Make a list of 12 things you want to try, and you’ve got a whole year’s worth of learning.
  • Make it social. Find a peer group, gather friends or corral your family. Learning together completely different from doing it on your own, and sharing the experience makes it even more valuable.
  • Cultivate the habit. Something as simple as reading a daily paper or taking a weekly class can get you out of a rut and into a learning habit that makes you want more.

There are no grades in life, but your bank account, qualify of life and personal legacy are certainly a reflection of how well you’re learning and growing. Enjoy the process and discover something new today.

What’s your favorite way to learn? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

School bus photo by Holger Selover-Stephan on FreeImages.com.

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