At Direct Capital, we work with small businesses daily. If there’s one thing they all have in common, it is the tight schedule.
The many facets of running a business can leave you strapped for minutes, which means learning about new technologies and innovative sales and marketing techniques becomes very hard to do. You can download whitepapers, but you have to set aside the time to read them. You can sign up for a webinar, but in order to really retain anything, you have to set aside the whole hour or more that those go on for. Even just reading the news every day chews up time you might need to meet with fellow employees, make purchases or talk to customers.
Of course, you still want to be up on the latest trends and get any advantage you can on competitors, so it’s not like you can afford to ignore these things entirely. Your solution should be to prioritize.
Three Ways To Prioritize
I’m sure there’s more than three ways to make time in your schedule, but here’s three that spring readily to mind and are easily implemented:
- Set aside the time well in advance. You’d be surprised how easy it is to carve out a little time if you do so a couple of weeks in advance and keep it in mind. Tell everyone at your company that you must take time to attend a webinar on a Wednesday two weeks out and they’ll help carve out the hour you need. When you have two weeks to clear away the usual demands on your time, you’ll hopefully find that things don’t pop up at the last minute. Hopefully.
- Don’t try to take them all in. There’s absolutely no way you can catch up on every article and video that lands in your inbox. You can’t even necessarily keep up with one company’s output, since there are firms dedicated to doing nothing but pumping out learning materials. I’m about to use the word prioritize again, as you might have guessed.Prioritize. Find an author, speaker or expert whose advice seems to matter to you every time out and keep up with what they’re producing. Ditto with any companies that particularly interest you. If you’re reading news, pick two sources you trust—one might have a particular slant that will inoculate you to what’s really going on—and keep up with them. By doing this, you can probably cut the time you spend weekly absorbing new information down to a handful of hours, if even that.
- Go through them with the team. This is the ultimate way to prioritize. This way, you can still take in webinars, white papers and other materials without feeling like you’re cut off from the world. If it’s a webinar, get the entire team to sit in on it with you. If it’s a white paper, pass it around and ask employees who would benefit from the information to take it in by the end of the week. That way you’re carving out the time and improving your company knowledge at the same time.
How Do You Prioritize?
As usual, we turn it over to you. When faced with your mountain of daily challenges, how do you make time to take in the news and learn new things? Do you even have the time?