Always Strive To Improve Your Business Skills

Posted on December 1, 1998 by Tom Mazza, Contributing Editor

One of the dangers of owning your own company is that you tend to stop looking at your own talents and experience and instead focus on what your staff can or cannot do.

A successful entrepreneur takes a step back from his or her daily responsibilities and focuses on how he or she can become more valuable.

Are you computer literate? If not, take an introductory computer course. It’s not difficult and you will feel great when you make your initial foray into cyberspace. With personal computers selling for less than $ 1,000, it’s good business to computerize your records, sales leads, and client information.

Many times an entrepreneur will say, “My accountant handles payroll, taxes, and bookkeeping. I don’t even look at it.” This is a dangerous attitude. Learn accounting basics so you can monitor your accountant’s work. Your knowledge of depreciation, equipment, financing, and corporate taxes will contribute to your company’s bottom line. Also, when you go to an accountant unprepared, it inevitably increases your fees.

Operators should also consider taking formal management courses. Budget time to attend the class and go without preconceived notions about what “academics” can teach you. Another alternative is to go to the blue pages of your telephone directory and look up “SCORE.” These groups of retired business executives work directly with the Small Business Administration. They will assign you a business mentor whose knowledge and experience will help.

How are your speaking and presentation skills? Are you comfortable making a presentation to a group? Toastmasters’ International, with hundreds of chapters across the country, is a group of business professionals who actively work to improve their public speaking skills. You will not only improve your speaking skills, but you will network with a group of people interested in self-improvement.

The bottom line for an entrepreneur is to remember that your talents and abilities are a major asset to your company. They are every bit as critical and tangible as your vehicles, computer, and client base. But your abilities must be considered a living, breathing, work in progress. You must strive to improve them. Constantly take a hard look at what you know and what you don’t know. You owe it to your employees and yourself to always strive for personal improvement.

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