Professional development for small businesses

As we celebrate small business day this November we thought we’d share some insight into how we keep on top of our professional development here at Black Lab. We’ve been using an online CPD platform called Leap Like A Salmon for the last few months to stay on top of our online CPD. It’s really helped us stay ahead of the game and up our industry knowledge.

It can be challenging keeping on top of your professional development, and yes there are plenty of webinars to attend, training events and publications to read but how can you keep track of all our learnings in one place? A friend recommended Leap Like A Salmon and we haven’t looked back. Being visual and analytical people, we like seeing how far we’ve come and the Leap Like A Salmon’s system helps us visualise our professional journey to date. It also reminds us that we’re actively developing ourselves as well as our clients. As a small business, providing a service to other businesses it’s important we keep on top of our knowledge and offer the most up to date information. Professional development can come in many different forms and it’s good to mix up where you source your knowledge.

Here are our top tips for keeping on top of your learning if you’re a business owner:

  1. Set aside some time for your professional development. This might sound simple but professional development is often neglected, we have been guilty of neglecting our own development in the past, always choosing to priortise clients work. While this is undoubtedly the ‘right thing to do’ you can only be achieving results for clients if you’re on top of all the latest industry insights and tips. Set aside a couple of hours as often as you can to read online resources or attend events and conferences.
  2. Make it fun. Topping up your knowledge doesn’t have to be taxing. Try reading an autobiography from a top business professional or a coaching book, we’re big fans of Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the mastermind behind the rise of Nike.
  3. Use an online CPD platform like Leap Like A Salmon to track your learning. It’s important to reflect on what you have achieved as a business owner, having an online record of this will remind you of the journey. 
  4. Variety is the spice of life. Get to know what type of learner you are to get the most out of your professional development. If you learn through reading, read more blogs, books or enrol on a self-study programme. If you’re a better listener, attend events, webinars and conferences to step up your professional development.

The benefits of online CPD during COVID-19

In March when lockdown V1 was announced it was a nervous time for a lot of small business owners. The ebbs and flow of work changed and being at home for longer periods of time meant it was easy to get stuck in a rut. Doing online CPD helped us stay focused by tracking our development. It was a time of unknown’s and what ifs, however knowing our professional development was on track and our target hours logged was a real benefit to take away from the time. We had a professional development plan and we stuck to it thanks to having an online CPD platform prompting us to keep our knowledge topped up. Our clients are really benefitting from the extra hours of CPD we have put in this year, see how Lister & Bruce have used Black Lab to enhance their shopify website.

How the Leap Like A Salmon Wellbeing Wheel has offered a healthy insight

Leap Like A Salmon’s new wellbeing wheel has offered a healthy insight into our everyday wellbeing here at Black Lab. Thinking of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if our basic needs are out of kilter everything else we do is affected. The Coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly rattled our basic physiological and safety needs which in turn disrupts our psychological and self-fulfilment needs. It was interesting using the wellbeing wheel at the start of every week as it was clear how our attitudes towards work are directly affected by our hierarchy of needs outside of work. We started to see how important it was to keep on top of our wellbeing to ensure the work we were delivering to clients was work we were proud of and confident in – only then could we meet the self-fulfilment needs at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Using the wellbeing wheel to track how much rest we were getting and self-care we were doing had a positive impact on our work performance and only once we started to pay more attention to these areas of our wellbeing did we notice the impact. The wellbeing wheel is a great visual tool for any small business owner or professional, it’s a reminder that to perform at peak we must look after number one. 

I’d urge any small business owners out there reading this to check out Leap Like A Salmon’s online CPD platform and wellbeing wheel if they are serious about taking their business to the next level. 

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