When we talk about the idea of investment in business, we always address the components relating to the business. But investments are about investing in yourself as well as the business. From an entrepreneurial perspective, you have to address a number of components that relate to you, and you alone. We spend a lot of time talking about investments and training, but we seldom look at it from the perspective of our self-improvement. What does it take to invest in yourself, and what are the most important areas to invest in?
Marketing is one of those areas that can always benefit from investment. Whether you are in the marketing industry or not, it's vital to have an advanced set of skills and knowledge. The fact is that having an astute knowledge of marketing is key to moving your business, whether you are the one executing it or not.
There are many free resources that can help you, however, there is plenty that is worth the solid investment. But you've got to find the finances to invest. While there are companies like Buddy Loans that provide business loans, you have to consider the overall skillset of your organisation, and recognise that you need to learn the fine art of promotion. This is not just to do with analytics and the latest tools, but about making sure that you are inherently aware of how you are perceived. This is why having knowledge of next-level marketing tactics is invaluable. There is that carry over into other aspects of your company. Because promoting requires you to have knowledge of who you are exactly, this gives insight into the best ways to promote yourself, whether it's in a networking event, or getting to the crux of what your business personality is.
You may think to yourself that you have an abundance of communication skills, after all, this is why you are in charge of a business. But we have to remember there are always opportunities to expand and improve. In fact, this is one of the best returns on your investment you will ever make. Learning to communicate is about addressing employees, clients, and everyone around you, but also understanding the signals you give off.
Giving out signals, whether it's at a networking event, or during a training session, will signal the others around you if you are the right person to be with, but also if you are the right leader for your business. Take into account what communication entails in the post-pandemic world, and there's a lot more at stake. Prior to the pandemic, we predominantly relied on every cue, visual, auditory, oral, etc. But now, the future of the workplace is defined by virtual communication skills. Take into account how much you are leaving out when you are communicating via email.
There has been a lot of scope for misinterpretation when you send emails out, and this is why it's important to get a grip on every aspect of communication. Learning to be efficient and clear is vital because it will reduce any sense of confusion, which is one of the biggest pain points for any business. If we are unable to communicate ourselves, whether this is instructions or expectations, we aren't going to have an efficient company.
If you are having issues with pushing your business forward, networking is one of those areas that gives one of the biggest long-term payoffs. Networking is often treated as a duty, but in reality, it is a sizable investment. Networking is the opportunity to plant seeds that will turn into profitable relationships. We've all experienced the business owner who is out for our money, not our friendship. This is why learning and implementing those soft skills is a crucial investment.
It's something that can take a long time to get right, but it's one with the biggest payoff because you invariably find people who are are able to take you at face value as you are being open and honest; and because you are being transparent, these are people you will be able to make a snap decision on whether you would like to work with them or not.
Learning Multiple Skills
It has never been more important to have a variety of multiple or “stackable” skills. Many of us focus on one area, but this is where big picture thinking is so important. When we acquire a number of seemingly unrelated skills, they can be combined to provide greater value to the customer, to the client, and to the employee. We can all suffer from “seeing the wood for the trees.”
When we become so laser-focused on one part of our business, it's difficult to shift attention to something else, not least having multiple areas of focus. But while delegating proves essential in these areas, having a basic knowledge of multiple strands in an area gives you a number of skills within your toolbox. So whether you're a freelancer, or you are looking to build up a company, the number of skills you have at your disposal is an excellent way to set yourself up for success.
Learning to Manage Your Image
Finally, managing your reputation is a skill that requires investment because it demands you to look into the mirror. When you start to address who we are, in relation to our business, our leadership, and our identity, we have a better idea of putting our business into the right areas. This requires, not just a financial investment, but the investment of time.
When we take the opportunities to address our internal needs, this is when we become more internally aware, and this will help us to transform our skills from a number of tools to tangible components that can be applied effectively. You may have read hundreds of books, but if you don't know how to apply those lessons, they are worthless. If you want to invest in your business, you have to invest in yourself.