Learning new business expertise

How can you learn more as your company grows? Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a co-founder, there’s nothing wrong with broadening your scope. As part of our January series on How to Start a Business,  Octavia Goredema, one of our Sage Business Experts, offers her suggestions on where to access expertise.

Whether you’re going it alone or have co-founders alongside you, being an entrepreneur can be isolating. Even with the sharpest of focus and the strongest of convictions there will be times when being “the boss” is as tough as it gets.

If you are facing a challenge in your business, here are some tips to help you access the expertise you need:

Take a class

Research opportunities to undertake training in the area you are looking to address. Organisations such as the British Library’s Business & IP Centre run workshops and seminars hosted by leading experts covering a range of business topics.

If it’s difficult to attend workshops or seminars due to your location or schedule, then you can always take advantage of the vast number of online resources. Companies such as BrightTalk provide access to expert tips as and when you need them.

Find a business mentor

A good mentor will help you leapfrog problems that seem insurmountable and work with you to brainstorm ideas that ricochet into action.

Use your network to seek out mentors who have expertise in the path you’re embarking on.  If you experience difficulty finding the right person there are programmes that can help. Organisations such as Mentorsme connect companies with mentoring organisations that can support and guide their growth.

Connect with other business owners           

Sharing experiences and recommending valuable resources are just two of the benefits that can result from networking with other business owners. Join industry associations, groups or attend events that can connect you offline and online with others you can learn from.

Or, you can do what I did, and start your own networking group to connect and support business owners in your circle.

Create your own board of advisors

Identify the skill sets you need to bring into your business and what you want to achieve. Then create a strategy for attracting that talent to your team. Ask people you respect to recommend people for consideration who are useful in those areas of expertise.

Introduce your business objectives to your target advisors, listen to the feedback and determine the working relationship that is best for your business and your advisors moving forward.

Whether you are thinking of starting a business or have already taken the leap, investing time to engage the expertise you need will pay dividends in the long run.

Octavia Goredema is the founder of CrashCourseCity and the TwentyTenClub, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.