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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Why Upskilling Is Crucial To Survival In Small Business

Photo: Cathy Anderson
Cathy Anderson, The Huffington Post summarizes, "Anyone who leaves a job to start a small business knows that instead of wearing one hat at work you need to start wearing 50."

Small business owners and their teams need to upskill constantly to do all the tasks themselves. 
Photo: | m-gucci via Getty Images

You cease to become a single-task employee and become the manager, the bookkeeer, the marketer, the HR manager, the development manager and the chief dishwasher.

Joe Powell from Seek Learning said being involved in all facets of the business usually required upskilling, whether it was informal learning from peers and mentors or more formal courses such as those offered by Seek.

“There are many different triggers that may prompt someone to feel it’s time to upskill,” he said.

“It could be the realisation that they are missing a skill critical to the current success of their business -- so it’s really about gaining that knowledge as soon as possible.

“It’s certainly not a one-off process either – as business continues to evolve, so too do the ways operators need to work and the reality of this can mean constant upskilling -- formal and informal -- to ensure your business is successful in the long term.”

Resources are often scarce for small business owners too, and Powell said this was why many undertook courses.

“As they’re running their own business, the more they can do themselves, the less they’re paying for someone else to do for them, which often helps manage the cash-flow and expenses of a small business start up,” he said.

“For small business owners there is so much they need to be across, and it’s unrealistic for them to think they can know it all so it’s important to consider; what can I outsource? What would I be happy to keep doing if I can gain more skills in that area?”

Powell said courses didn’t have to be a three-year degree -- short courses, diplomas, certificates and even volunteering could lead to a better-run business. And studying online can help time-poor startups too -- freeing up valuable time to actually plan and run the business rather than sit in a classroom...

Here, three business owners reveal how they retrained themselves in order to run their business.

James Wakefield Co-founder of InStitchu.

James Wakefield went from being an Associate Adviser in Macquarie Private Wealth at Macquarie Bank to co-founding a men’s tailor business after having trouble filling his own corporate wardrobe.
“We were tired of searching for high quality affordable business attire and it turned out we weren’t the only ones,” he said. “One day a mate of mine and (co-founder) Robin’s came home with a tailor made suit from Thailand, and we both realised that we could do something about it and leverage the internet to bridge the gap between high-end tailors in Asia and consumers all over the world.”...

Sebastian Pedavoli, co-founder and creative director of Proxima.

Launching a digital creative company was a logical move for Sebastian Pedavoli, who was previously a graphic designer and project manager for a small creative agency. But soon after he learnt there were skills he lacked.

“About six months into starting my first digital creative company I realised I needed to upskill,” he said.
“The idealistic vision I had of running my own business was quickly coming apart once I realised what was involved in actually keeping all the balls I was juggling in the air.

“I knew my craft well and where I brought value to the business. But it’s the areas that you know exist but don’t have a great deal of knowledge in like sales, bookkeeping and staff management, that start to stack up and consume your time.”...

David Fastuca, Chief Designer Officer & Co-founder of Locomote.

So many business owners fall into an industry they never expected. Just ask David Fastuca.

Before he launched corporate travel company Locomote, he and his cousin Ross Fastuca were in the multimedia and web design business.

“We knew we wanted our business to be related to technology and design; with Ross being majored in multimedia design and myself in communication design, we’ve always been interested in simplifying and enhancing the way people interact with technology.

“Locomote was our opportunity to create a great user experience and seamless interface, unlike any other platforms already out there.”
Read more... 

Source: Huffington Post Australia