Entrepreneurs: Make Sure Your Professional Development Plan Focuses on Building These 3 Crucial Skills

Why is a professional development plan important for entrepreneurs? Because without one, it’s difficult to grow a business. No entrepreneur has a ready-built skill set that provides all the answers to continuously changing situations.

Most likely, you are more competent in certain business functions than others. However, to successfully expand a business that’s changing as new team members join requires embracing different leadership and management skills. Here are three skills that will help you be more successful:

1. Embrace A Leadership Mind-Set

Leaders have certain attitudes toward success that are reflected in their behavior. Embracing a leadership mind-set will help when you add new staff to your organization as people will be looking to you for guidance.

Start by focusing on how your contributions, and those of your staff, connect to a larger sense of purpose. As an entrepreneur, you should have the big picture in mind. Sharing this vision will elevate your energy level and serve as a motivator to reach new business growth levels.

Having a leadership mind-set can be contagious to others in your company and will be the foundation in solidifying a can-do attitude within your company’s culture. A leadership mindset displays confidence in yourself and the people you work with.

2. Be Willing To Delegate

When you first started your business, you most likely assumed many roles. To move the company forward, you probably worked in multiple areas until you were able to hire a team. However, for entrepreneurs, what often becomes a barrier to achieve broad levels of success is themselves.

You need to let go. Maybe you are an expert in marketing, or sales, or program creation; however, at some point you will need to delegate some of your responsibilities if you truly want to scale your business. You will reach your capacity at some point, and if you want to expand your business, you will need to delegate.

By delegating responsibilities, you are modeling that you have trust in your team members and that you are willing to share the glory of success. Part of the delegating process is communicating desired results and what these results look like; the other part is getting out of the way of your subordinates and letting them accomplish their tasks. Realize that team members may not do things the same way that you do, and this is also part of the delegation learning curve.

Learning to delegate is an essential ingredient in building a business, and it takes practice to learn this skill—but it’s well worth it.

3. Learn Outside Your Comfort Zone

The only way to grow is to step outside your comfort zone. No entrepreneur is going to start a business and possess all the skills, knowledge, and abilities to single-handedly grow a new enterprise. Situations will arise that you’ll need to learn how to handle; there will be changes in technology that will impact the business. New competitors will enter the market. New marketing strategies will be introduced. You get the picture: Societal changes will constantly affect your business.

An important reminder: Your business is your most important client. Taking care of number one assures that you are being proactive with the business and attending to changes as they occur. As an entrepreneur, think about your own professional development strategy. Review what skills, knowledge, or abilities you could acquire that would best serve the growth of your business.

You may find as you add team members that you need to improve your leadership skills—including communication, delegation, and monitoring skills. You may also find that you need to learn more about financial forecasting and operational planning, and as your company becomes more well-known, you may find that you need to brush up on public speaking skills.

Our best advice is for you to create an annual plan for your own self-improvement—not simply to acquire more knowledge, but to acquire additional implementation skills. To transform your innovative ideas into lasting success takes purposeful and continuous professional development.

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