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Be A Know-It-All

One of Pink Floyd’s more famous songs, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, has the line “We don’t need no education”, and while I am a massive fan I couldn’t disagree more! Unless you are God, and therefore all knowing, you can find something to learn today that will help you be and do better tomorrow.

Which path is right for you?

Business education is vital but rarely, it seems, do people take the time to learn. Whether about the specific industry they are getting into or the more generic business ‘stuff’ that is required by any endeavour. This just doesn’t make sense! Most people invest their life savings or house to buy a business, with little more than a casual look at what it takes to own and operate a business, let alone a successful one.

What is the best way to learn and prepare? Let’s have a look at some the different ways to gain the education you will need in business. Remembering that you will have to find your own path, the way that suits you, your goals, dreams and ambitions best.

University

University is the most formal avenue, and possibly the most rigid. Generally there is no scope for thinking outside the square. Most university courses have a set course structure with core subjects and electives, with even the electives being limited, specific to the degree.  University is not a place to be spoon fed and pushed, if you decide not to do the work they will simply let you fail. However, if you want to be successful in corporate business than a business degree is the minimum requirement and more likely you’ll need a MBA to achieve your goals.

Mentor

The best way to learn anything is from someone who has already been there, done that, and has the scares to prove it. Mentors take a vested interest in your career and life, genuinely caring about you, while helping you to avoid business obstacles and potholes along the way. Good mentors will not be ‘yes men’, but will tell you the uncomfortable truth when you need it most. Good mentors take a holistic approach, helping you to integrate your business life into other, equally important, areas of your life. Mentors take you under their proverbial wing, helping you to be the best in all situations, not just in business.

Business coach

Unlike mentors coaches are strictly about business, specifically teaching you the practical skills required to run a successful business. A business coach is someone that already knows about business in general terms, but they most likely don’t know the specifics of your industry. However, running a successful business is more about the art of business than your industry. For example, legal requirements, administration, Team building, customer service, not how to bake a loaf of bread. Like mentors business coaches will push you to the point of being uncomfortable to help you achieve your goals. I personally have been coached by Action Coach Australia and found it to be a very worthy investment.

Self Taught

The best thing, most attractive, attribute of this method is that it’s cheap! Books, audio books, podcasts, online newsletters, etc don’t cost much. A book, for example, is generally less than $30, with hundreds, if not thousands of titles to choose from, covering any aspect of business you care to think of. Alternatively you can often find resources for free, especially online. The biggest consideration with this method is how to choose the right book, newsletter, etc. There are so many choices, many of them good and some not so good. Motivation can be a problem, if you are not motivated there isn’t anyone to give you a push or kick you in the butt. Most people find it hard to be self motivated over an extended period of time, especially if you are under pressure to make rent or pay the bills, the irony of not getting an education due these pressures is that the idea that could turn the situation around might be on the next page or book you were about to read!

So there are some examples of education for you to think on. Of course there are many more options available and you should definitely look outside the box to see what else you can take advantage of. As long as you find ways to improve your knowledge and skills the method you choose is secondary. Hopefully this will inspire, motivate and encourage you to keep learning.

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