You can run your own business and enjoy the benefits of having full control over your clients, your projects, and your daily schedule. You can offer clients reliable and trusted expertise by positioning your business to your strengths and abilities. You’re also responsible for the future growth and development of your business.
Professional development can help you to stay current with your knowledge and skills, make yourself stand out from your competitors, and gain new clients. This can be in many forms, from learning a technology to pursuing certifications to simply talking with someone about your goals. Here are 10 professional development activities you can do to grow your business.
1. Take a Class Online
Online classes are a great way to get started with your professional development if you don’t know where to begin. What topic would be most beneficial to your services? Are there any new developments that have occurred in your field of work? You can find classes that fit these requirements in universities, traditional training providers, and training instructions.
Consider attending an educational webcast, engaging with industry experts online, or committing to read more industry news if you do not have time to attend a full course. You may find that a small goal can lead to a larger one, such as a secondary degree or a class.
2. Establish Professional Development Goals
A professional development plan that includes concrete goals is a great way to plan the year. Begin by assessing where you are at in your career, and how you envision your business in the future. Consider your past challenges and write down what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses.
Use this information to create a series small, attainable goals that can help you overcome your weaknesses. If staying organized is a weakness, perhaps you should set a goal to try out different project management tools in your next project, or find a short online course or webinar on project management.
3. Attend a networking event
The unexpected benefits of networking can help you grow as a professional. Speaking to others in your field can provide new perspectives and insights. Making connections and building relationships can also lead to future work or partnerships. Find professional events by searching through your local business associations, social media groups, or companies.
If you do not want to attend a networking event, one-on-one online networking is an option. Connect with those who work at the companies that you’re interested in or in your own industry. Keep in touch with your former clients, and follow up on them periodically. This can be an effective way to maintain good relations and get referrals for new work.
4. Consider partnering with another consultant
Bring another independent professional onto a project if it makes sense. It can be an excellent learning experience. Working with someone else can bring a fresh perspective, new ideas and the opportunity to tackle a larger or more complex project.
You could partner with someone with similar skills to you or someone with a different background. Imagine what you could accomplish with an additional set of hands.
5. Pursue a Certification
A certification program will require more time and money to invest. A certification can show that you’re committed to your job and increase the trust of your clients.
Certifications that are well-known can often be worth more to clients. A certification will also give you an advantage over your competitors.
6. Invest in New Technology
If you want to be viewed as an expert in your field, it is essential that you stay up-to date with the latest technologies. Your services will be harder to sell if you don’t know how to use the latest software. Subscribe to industry publications and sign up for news alerts. Follow tech brands in your industry on social media.
7. Find a mentor
A mentor can help you if you are unsure of how to move your business forward or where you want it to go. Consider the people you admire in your industry or life and ask them for advice and guidance. You can ask them how they got to where they are. You can probably follow their advice or get a perspective from someone who has been there.
8. Revise Your Business Plan
A business plan is probably one of your first documents that you produced when you started a company. Over the years, it’s easy to forget those original thoughts and ideas. Look at your business plan to see if the goals and values are still relevant. Do you have anything to change? What have you accomplished, and how could you improve them? Think about what professional development you can do to get yourself back on track. Looking back at your past is a great way to help you plan where you want to be.
9. Accept a new client
It’s great if you’re at an established point in your career and have a stable list of clients. It’s one of the most difficult goals for a professional self-employed to reach! If you feel stuck with your current projects or work, it might be time to branch out and try something new.
The best case scenario is that you get to work with a new client and try out something new. In the worst case scenario, you will return to your current work with new appreciation and a fresh perspective.
10. You can track and evaluate your progress
Keep track of your professional development progress. Review your progress quarterly and make sure you’re on track. Don’t be hard on yourself, but make adjustments as needed. Half the battle is committing to set goals and regularly checking on yourself.