Why You Need to Increase Your Mental Knowledge Base
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had — everyday I’m learning something new.” – Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.
Just a little piece of advice from one top entrepreneur to another. Learning is one of the quintessential desires for each and every CEO or entrepreneur, because if you stop learning or investing in your expertise, you’ll eventually fall to the wayside on current trends that could keep your business from booming. In the 21st century, there are so many outlets you can choose from to increase your mental capacity, whether that be books, podcasts, webinars, blogs – you name it – the resources are at your fingertips.
A plethora of information can be overwhelming, especially for a busy entrepreneur, so we’ve broken down some of the top ways you can expand your knowledge base as well as keep up with the demand of your busy lifestyle!
Books: The Age Old Classic
Books have been the number one source of knowledge for centuries, literally dating back to the 4th century. While the format of books has been updated in the past century, they are still a popular tool for expanding your mind.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of books chock-full of valuable information, especially titles for entrepreneurs. I’m sure that many, if not hundreds, of books come across your desk in any given month, so it’s important for a busy professional such as yourself to prioritize your reading.
How should you know what book to read next? Think about the challenges that your company is facing. Are you looking to build your margins, leads, or profit? What are the challenges that you face as a leader that you’d like to accomplish? For example, if you’re just starting a business or product, there are product development stages to read up on. Or, if you’re opening up a new Human Resources Department, it’s likely that you’re going to have to learn how to manage a whole new branch of your business. I guarantee there is a book for each problem you come across.
It’s also guaranteed that you’re an extremely busy person, so you might think you don’t have time to read an entire book. Well, let’s not forget that almost every book has an audio file accompaniment. Purchasing the audio file still allows you to get that great content from the book, but lets you listen to it at your convenience like driving in the car, listening at work or home, or even on a nightly walk.
Reading a book can open up so many new doors for any entrepreneur, and puts new ideas into place for an increasingly growing business.
Podcasts: A New Age Classic
When podcasts first came on the scene about ten years ago, not many people knew what they were about, let alone how much content and information they could truly have. Fast forward to 2016 and there is a podcast for every, single topic you can think of – especially in the business world. Currently, in the iTunes charts, there are 200 podcasts ready to be listened to in the business field.
Like books, podcasts can touch on many different topics branching out from the main podcast description. One week could be about digital content, while the next is about social media, and so on. There are podcasts dedicated to strictly start-up businesses, while others want to teach people how to become a better leader. Rusty Shelton, the Senior Marketing Strategist at Advantage Media Group, lists some of his favorites:
- The Action Catalyst with Rory Vaden
- Dudes Doing Business
- Lewis Howes – School of Greatness
- Entrepreneur on Fire
As a busy entrepreneur, you’ll need to ask yourself to prioritize the challenges you want to improve upon just like you did for books. Except with podcasts, you have more flexibility as most shows have hundreds of episodes for several topics. Podcasts offer more flexibility for when you can listen to them, as most episodes are shorter than listening to an entire book. Podcasts are especially great for your commute to work, as you can probably squeeze in an episode each way.
Webinars: Not Your Typical Class
If you’re looking for more of an interactive way to increase your knowledge base, try out a webinar. Now, as an entrepreneur, you may even host your own webinars from time to time, but it’s a great idea to sit in on ones with other leaders that influence you. Think of the core issues you’d like to improve at your company (noticing a theme here?) and do some research into finding a great one for you. Maybe you already know of some coming up because you’ve gotten emails about one from your peers, or maybe you just want to find a fresh face with a new idea.
The hardest part about a webinar is finding the time to sit through one. Webinars have flexibility as to where you can watch them, but not like a podcast. Webinars are usually at least an hour long, and if you want to interact with other people in the webinar you’ll most likely want to be on your computer and in a private place. However, keep in mind that you should always register for free webinar topics that interest you even if you don’t want to commit to that time or date, since most companies usually send out a recording of it after. Then, you can watch and learn at your leisure.
By attending a webinar, you’ll get to learn new ideas from the instructor, as well as other attendees, if you choose to interact with others in the “audience.” If you can double a number of ideas just by interacting with other CEOs, why not? It’s a great opportunity to think out loud and bounce ideas off of each other.
Blogs: Not Just for Freelancers Anymore
How does your daily routine look? Do you skim the Internet for bit before you start your day, or do you take a midday break? This would be a great time to bookmark some of the best blogs about running a successful business. Depending your challenges as I’ve already mentioned a few times before, you can find literally any blog fit for your problems. Finding a blog you love to read daily might take a bit of research, but just remember there are plenty of options. Like a podcast, you will have different topics sprout up each week, or daily. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed for your favorite blog so the latest post will always show up in your inbox.
Educating yourself for your career and business is all about finding the time to do so. Every CEO or entrepreneur is extremely busy, but the best know the value of continuing their education and pencil in time for broadening their horizons. If you start reading a book and realize it’s just not for you, trying listening to a podcast or reading a shorter blog post. Different outlets provide different solutions for each person. It’s just up to you to find the right one!