About Small Business Owner Development
Small business owner development is essential for small business success. Many small businesses fail due to lack in the business savvy and leadership skills of their owners. That includes areas such as strategic planning, organizational structuring, marketing, selling, finance, accounting, human resources and production. Without business know-how and the ability to spread risk across several managers and/or high-level employees, you make your small business vulnerable and noncompetitive.
Successful small business entrepreneurs do research and learn. Besides this, they reach out to small business coaches, mentors and consultants to help develop their skills in running, improving, growing and expanding their small businesses.
Getting help as a small business owner will shorten your learning curve and help you avoid making mistakes that could potentially ruin your business. In fact, as you gain in knowledge and improve your skills, you will be more content and confident. In addition, you will be less stressed and more able to guide your employees in the “right” direction. Be smart, invest time and money (if required) since small business owner development is closely linked to small business success.
Small Business Owner Education / Learning
Continuous education or learning is the transfer of knowledge via systematic instruction. Especially, with the purpose of developing your capabilities, cognitive skills and attitudes. In addition, it helps you to stay current with the latest technologies and developments in the field you are studying. What’s more, education and learning improves your brain function, focus and confidence.
With respect to business, education and learning deals mostly with business formation, functions, management and environment. These topics are also covered extensively in our online Small Business Success Roadmap – click here. Continuous education or learning improves your self-esteem and chances of success as a small business entrepreneur.
As small business owner you might not have the money or time to get a full-fledged MBA program at a top business school, such as the Cameron School of Business at UNCW (University of North Carolina Wilmington). Several free MBA courses are available online that can be completed in a few hours a week. Education and learning are useful small business owner development avenues.
In Wilmington NC you also have available the Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) which offers a Business Administration Program. The Small Business Center (SNC) at the Cape Fear Community College offers free business seminars on starting and growing small businesses.
Small Business Owner Coaching
Coaching is another useful tool for small business owner development. Business coaching is the process to take you as small business owner from where you are now, to where you want to be in the future. A small business coach is professionally trained with a background in small business matters. The coach guides you to develop the skills and get the resources you need to run a successful small business. It is worthwhile to mention that small business coaches never do any work for you. Besides, the purpose of coaching is to improve your performance as a small business owner.
To start with, the small business coach clarifies your vision of where you want to take your small business. Thereafter, the coach will help create action plans that define strategies and set goals to meet your needs. It is critical that you accept the responsibility and accountability to execute these plans.
The small business coach will meet with you regularly to monitor progress towards reaching your goals. The coach will help you to stay on track with your action plans and follow up on your commitments. In addition, the coach will motivate you and act as a sounding board to help you move forward. Their role is to help you as small business owner to focus on the end result, and not get lost in the clutter.
Small Business Owner Mentoring
Mentoring is a bit like coaching as outlined above. However, mentoring is development driven and not performance driven. It is a broader and more holistic approach. Mentoring helps you as a small business owner to shape your beliefs and values in a positive way.
Mentoring is based on a trusted relationship with someone with experience who has done “it” before. Your mentor is your trusted adviser who offers knowledge, wisdom and advice to you as the less experienced person. The mentor assists you as a small business owner to develop specific skills and gain knowledge that will enhance both your professional and personal growth. In addition, you share your problems, frustrations and successes with your mentor in a confidential setting.
Your small business mentor can be anyone such as a business acquaintance or even a friend. You have probably had someone (a mentor) in your life before, whom you looked up to, and who helped you to develop as a person in some way. Needless to say, mentoring is timely and very effective in small business owner development.
Small Business Consulting
Small business consultants offer a wide range of tailored consulting services to help you start, grow and run your small business. They work in an advisory capacity and in most cases, they are not accountable for the outcome. Consultants have expert knowledge and provide professional advice or services in their field of expertise. The most common fields of consulting for small business include business management, information technology, human resources, financial and legal. Small business management consulting services are particularly useful when starting a small business.
A small business consultant supports you, as a small business owner, in the areas where you lack expertise or need assistance. On the strategic level, the consultant helps you to identify internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis). Based on this the consultant assists you with strategic thinking and planning for the future. This is normally documented in a business plan.
On the operational level the small business consultant helps you to develop business skills and solve business problems. Based on findings, the consultant also recommends practical solutions to save money, improve efficiency and performance.
In many cases small business consultants only provide services you need and want, i.e. accounting, legal, payroll, computer networking and more.