March 18, 2010
Many of us go out and buy some of the best software and hardware tools available. We read about some tool that could easily DOUBLE our business, or TRIPLE our productivity, so we wisely purchase it.
Many of us realize that we lack certain skills in critical areas of our businesses, so we register for online classes.
Many of us realize that we don’t really know how to use those whiz-bang pieces of hardware or software mentioned above, so we track down and register for in-depth tutorials.
Then we do the DUMBEST thing… we never go through the training. We never learn to use those tools that could easily make our lives easier, and our businesses much more profitable.
We rationalize that “we don’t have the time!”
This is one of two areas that has contributed the most to the growth of my productivity… and to my bottom line recently. I’ve started actually “making the time” to go through those tutorials and really learn to use the software or hardware tools that I have. I’ve actually made the time to go through several tutorials on how to develop critical skills that I need.
As an aside, I’ve also “made time” for more fitness, which is also essential to my long-term productivity.
How does a busy businessperson do this?
You simply put it right on your schedule… and then you do it. You allocate blocks of time for it, and then you don’t “find” something more important.
I spent 20 years and 10 months in the U.S. Air Force. During that time I spent many, many WEEKS sitting at a desk or computer, actually learning how to use a piece of equipment, or learning to do some process. I often wondered if that was the best use of my time, but I wasn’t given a choice! So, I cheerfully completed the training.
I not only learned to use my equipment, but I had to then take “practical exams” to prove that I knew how to do it.
Major corporations, governmental agencies, universities, etc, ALL put their personnel through extensive training to make sure that they actually know how to use the equipment and do the processes that are a part of their jobs.
This training is often VERY expensive.
Many of these corporations consult with major think tanks, and expensive consultants, in looking for ways to improve productivity… and their bottom lines. It’s rare that they are advised to cut training.
Many of us online entrepreneurs have never run our own businesses before, and for some reason don’t fully appreciate the value of properly training our employees (or ourselves). So, we flounder for days, weeks, then months! We operate at a fraction of our potential productivity because we never really learn to use the tools at our disposal.
Consider… if setting aside an hour a day for a week, to actually learn to use the tools that you already use every day more efficiently, would increase your productivity by 20 percent, would it be worth it?
To me, the answer is a resounding yes. Over the next year the return-on-investment would be huge.
When you consider the amount of time many of us spend on time-wasters (we all know what they are), we have to acknowledge that we really can fit proper training into our schedules. That’s just a matter of discipline.
There IS a reason big businesses and governmental agencies set aside training days, or even training weeks! Perhaps we should take our cues from them.
Just food for thought!
Oh – earlier, I said that going through the training was one of two ways that I’ve experienced the most growth in productivity. The other one was that I learned to outsource and delegate more. I learned to focus on those chores that are the highest and best use of my time, and to get someone else to do the rest. Like many, I’m still working on that one, but that’s the topic of another article anyway.
Commit to actually learning to use your equipment today.
Willie Crawford operates his own online businesses, brokers joint ventures, teaches online and offline entrepreneurs, and consults with numerous commercial and non-profit corporations. One of Willie’s favorite tools, used for project collaboration is called BaseCamp. It’s at http://timic.org/BaseCamp