How investing in professional development can grow your business

| July 12, 2021

The importance of investing in professional development when running a business should not be underestimated, according to one of Australia’s leading retailers.

Dave Strutton runs one of the most successful franchises in Australia’s Howard Storage World retail group and believes every business owner should join a business coaching program.

Mr Strutton attributes part of the recent growth and success of his home organisation business to joining a business mentoring and networking group two years ago.

He credits the financial investment in professional development with helping transform his business, which is enjoying record turnover and improved customer loyalty. The Adelaide superstore has also survived online disruption, despite the pandemic.

Recently, Mr Strutton has been working towards implementing a new systems management program that will streamline processes and revolutionise stock control, a feat he says he would not have attempted had he not been a part of a business program.

While many believe professional development happens on the job, Mr Strutton says it’s often difficult to see the wood for the trees when running your own business.

“You get so caught up in the ordinary routine of running the business that it can leave you with no time for reflection, energy to innovate or confidence to implement ideas,” he said.

“Being part of a network of like-minded people means you will always come away with a handful of fresh business ideas, updates on tech trends, new contacts, connections and support.”

“No matter how experienced you are at your business, you can always learn better business practices.”

“Nothing beats the human interaction you get from attending these events”.

Dave Strutton’s 6 reasons to invest in professional development:

Stay relevant: The education of being part of a business group can expose you to new ways of thinking and operating. They can also make you more aware of changing directions and trends.

Competitive edge: Guest speakers and experts offer new opportunities for growth. Discussion about innovative products, services and systems, the latest apps and research relevant to your business will help you stay ahead of the game and give you an edge over your competition.

Exchange ideas: Operating your own small business can often be isolating. Without exposure to different points of view, you can miss seeing things from another perspective. You are also at risk of missing new ideas and technologies that might impact your business and your bottom line. There is power in being connected to other people who work in small business or simply share similar goals.

Try before you buy: Small business owners are busy, so the thought of taking a few days away from the office to attend any sort of professional business development can be dismissed as a waste of time. Look for meetings that offer a free introductory session before joining. Keep an open mind and remember, not every business network or every convention will work for everyone. It’s also something that may only appeal at a time that’s right for you.

Social Interaction: Typically running your own business leaves little time for socialising or nurturing existing friendships. Industry business groups provide a great opportunity to network and mix with like-minded people. Regular social interaction can keep your mental health in check and boost your social life.

Culture of Innovation: There is often a healthy innovation culture in business mentoring groups because people attend for similar reasons and feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions and the feedback is genuine. You walk away with a fresh outlook that may spark inspiration.

With so much information swirling around on the Internet and in industry publications, Mr Strutton says it’s a relief to have the information presented in relevant bite sized pieces by experts.

‘You learn new skills that couldn’t be taught in-house or online.”

“The pressures of running a small business can be isolating as friends can struggle to relate.”

“Being a part of a regular business mentor group gives you expert advice and mentoring away from the office, in a social environment with people facing similar challenges.”