When we Black female entrepreneurs set goals for our business, how often do we link them to goals for our own professional development? Have you taken time to select key entrepreneurial skills that you need to build in order to increase your profits and build your dream business? If not, check out my Entrepreneurial Skills List. Have you created a plan with budgeted time and funds for your own development? If not, it’s time, Sis. Here are some key steps to developing a rigorous entrepreneurial development plan so that you can become the boss who wins.
Get in a growth mindset. Start to shift your thinking from a place of I will work with what I know and affirm that you are a lifelong learner who will get better at anything you put your mind to. Begin to focus on the importance of mastery. What I mean is, decide that you’re going to dedicate time and energy to mastering the skills that you aim to learn in your entrepreneurial growth plan. You can read more about growth mindset if you’re not familiar with the concept.
Identify your goals and major improvement areas of your business. Your learning should be aligned with your business goals. You should be developing skills that move the business forward and help you to succeed. So start by having a clear plan for what you want the business to achieve.
Identify the skills that you lack that you’ll need in order to grow the business. Check out our entrepreneurial skills checklist. Think carefully about what your own contributions in your business should be in order to achieve success. Make sure you aren’t targeting skills that are related to a job you should be delegating. You don’t have to know how to do everything in your business. But there are some jobs that the chief must know how to do — that shouldn’t be delegated. If you are a larger company, with a c-suite level team, then you can delegate some chief-level work. But if you are a small business owner, with a small mid-level or entry-level team, your role as chief is critical and all-encompassing. Take a look at my Entrepreneurial Skills List and see if any of the listed skills might be a good focus area for you this year.
Create a learning plan. Find the best low-cost online courses, websites, books, podcasts, and video series that help you build knowledge. Once you’ve leveraged all free, credible content out there, dig deeper. Look for paid, high-quality training or courses that really get at the areas of the topic that you need a deeper understanding of and perhaps struggle with most. Use my entrepreneurial growth plan template to create your learning plan . Don’t underestimate the value of reading in your learning plan. One of my favorite books, Love Is a Killer App talks about how to use a rigorous reading rotation to grow your business.
Commit to execution. What are you going to do with this new skill or learning to grow your business? Make tangible commitments and write them down. Too often, professionals go to great trainings and leave with new knowledge, but don’t put our new learning to use. Incorporate use of your new skills in your own work plan and in overall business goals whenever possible. As you pursue your reading and training, make sure that you document both the process and your new knowledge. At the end of the training, or shortly after, document descriptive commitments with deadlines for when and how to use the newest tools in your day-to-day work!
Hire a coach who has gotten results in your focus area for both their own business and for other businesses. Let your coach help you develop in this area, and hold you accountable to improving your practice.
Remember Sis, you’re worth the investment. Make your own growth a priority during your entrepreneurial journey. It will make the journey a fulfilling one, and increase your marketability as an entrepreneur in your field.
Makisha Boothe is business coach and founder of Sistahpreneurs. She specializes in rapid improvement and innovation, and helps women with business startup and design.
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