I often get asked by business owners and entrepreneurs what's the single most important thing they should do to be successful? For me the answer is really simple, invest in yourself. It is without a doubt in my mind, the greatest investment that we can make, yet surprisingly few do.
Now I know that this might sound a bit cliche for some people, but from my experience, business owners don't invest in themselves (and of course this is a generalization). They don't develop skills, they don't spend money on a coach or a mentor, they don't travel to conferences or events, and they don't take time out to recharge their batteries when they need to.
There are lots of reasons why they don't, but mostly it comes down to a perceived lack of time or money or both. If these are the reasons they don't, they will probably never have the time or the money in future. Investing in yourself often requires a considerable shift in mindset and not surprisingly, real commitment. For some people this is a giant leap with little to no perceived value. I've found the opposite to be true and the invest "big" has been my philosophy for some time now.
I remember one of the first skill development programs that I did cost me $15,000, which I didn't have. It all went on a credit card. The course was a high level professional speaker development program. I was really nervous about spending so much money that I didn't have. Upon reflection, it has easily been the single most valuable investment I've ever made, being a professional speaker now for many years and enjoying the financial reward that this career has brought me.
The point here is that investment takes many different shapes, regardless of what it looks like to you, it needs to be a priority. We need to be developing new skills, learning new ways of doing business, being inspired and developing our networks. We have to treat this as a priority and factor it into our day, our week, our month and our year.
I've worked with many truly successful business owners and entrepreneurs, from all walks of life and all industries and they all share the common trait of working to improve themselves, both personally and professionally. They understand the benefits, and they see the cost in both time and money as an investment that they are more than willing to pay. And interestingly, the more successful they become the more money and time they invest in learning and development.
Talk to successful business owners and entrepreneurs, find out how they invest in developing their own skills. It might surprise you to find out how much they invest and where they invest it - but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be doing it if it didn't give a big return.