Do you blink your eyes and the day is done? Do you often go weeks or even months without taking a day or two to see what’s new? This is a common problem for anyone who runs a small business. It is so easy to get wrapped up in daily tasks that you forget about professional development. However, investing this effort is the best way to avoid becoming obsolete and have a better guarantee of knowing what’s on the horizon. Here’s what you should be doing, and how to know if you’re putting in enough time.
Join Professional Organizations
Starting and running a business is a highly independent endeavor, but it helps to have assistance from professional organizations related to your field. Joining organizations may carry monthly or annual dues, so you’ll want to be selective. But if you pick one or two and participate, you may find a lot of opportunities you might not otherwise have had. For example, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) features chapters all across the United States, with two in California. They offer training and networking opportunities, as well as discounts with partner businesses.
Attend Construction Conferences
Taking a few days off from projects to travel and attend a construction conference may seem like a lot of work. Really, it’s an investment in your business. When you sign up for a construction conference, you get access to the latest tools and tips from industry experts. You might be hesitant to adopt new technology immediately, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try it out. This is one of the best chances you’ll get to have a few days focused on what is new and interesting in your field. You may return with a lot of good ideas to implement and a few new contacts in your area.
Take Education/Training Classes
By the time you have invested the time it takes to qualify for a contractor license, you might think that you already know everything you need to do. Of course, then you blink and realize that all the technology has changed and there are a bunch of new building practices you’ve never heard of, much less used. Taking periodic training classes helps you keep your skills fresh and build on top of your experience over time. It can even help you prepare to add another specialty to your license, which could expand the services you can offer. Sending your employees to training when appropriate can also help ensure that they provide better work for you.
Maintain/Expand Your Licensing
Part of professional development involves keeping your licenses active. Contractor licenses in California need to be renewed every two years to remain active. Without an active license, you can still renew but it’s a more complicated process. You’ll get a notice that your license is about to expire 60 days before it runs out. If this feels like a ton of time, you should know that it isn’t. Take this opportunity to think about what you want to be doing with your business, and how you can best get it. This is a good time to think about adding classifications or changing them, if you’re working your way into a field that feels better for you.
Make Time for Professional Development
With all these tasks on your plate, it might seem like you have hardly any time for paid projects. In fact, you can find a balance that keeps you progressing without compromising on the work that pays the bills. Set aside a day or two each month toward meeting these obligations. When you can anticipate the winter slow season approaching, plan for longer training sessions or attending conferences. This helps you get a bigger bang for your buck and make sure that even periods without as much paid work are productive toward your bottom line.
Professional development is easy to forget, but it keeps your business running into the future. To build a foundation of a business that you can operate successfully for years, contact CSLS today!