As business owners and managers, we have so many work commitments it can sometimes be a massive challenge to find time to attend courses or even network. Yet, these activities are so important, we should consider giving up an occasional “free” day to do them.
But there are other options than giving up precious weekends or evenings to honour the need to keep learning new things that make our working lives better.

Accessing webinars is an easy option — and many times, these are short and power-packed 30- to 60-minute focused knowledge dumps by experts in their fields who want to share what they know to help benefit their markets.
Many of these are free, and while they may also feature an up-sell option for their paid consulting time, the information you can take away from the free portion is still usually highly valuable.
So not being able to afford extra learning is a weak excuse. These webinars also offer you a taste of what various experts can provide if you are seeking extended training options.
There is nothing better than a test drive to give you a solid idea of whether you can work with a consultant or coach — so why not take advantage of webinars?

The other great option is to go on YouTube and watch some videos offered as samples of training by professional experts and, in many cases, amateur enthusiasts. You can learn a lot by searching a topic and committing half an hour once a week to absorbing the information you want.

Of course, books are still an excellent way to increase your knowledge in any area, from leadership and management techniques, to marketing, customer service options.
Books are a mainstay of extended learning and if you don’t have time to read, then get some audio files and listen to these while you drive. You can’t help but improve your business operations when you are filling your head with great ideas and tested theories for improving your business.
In summary, these are the many ways you can obtain extra knowledge to help your company if you really are too busy to attend most training events. These include:
• Weekend training camps;
• Webinars;
• Videos;
• Books;
• Blogs and newspaper articles; and
• Audio books and podcasts.

The secret to making this work
It is all very well to learn new ideas, but how do you actually turn this knowledge into practical solutions for your company?

Here’s how:
• Commit: Start by committing to a programme of learning. Set aside a minimum amount of time every week or month (one day a month to work on your business through training). Once you commit to a plan, then sticking to that plan is critical. Don’t commit to more than you can realistically manage.

• Apply: Consider how some of what you are learning can be applied to your company. If you commit to a plan to learn new things to apply to your business, you can easily become overwhelmed by the range of things you “could do”.
Why not write all the things that inspire you and then return to the list after a few days to really think through what is ideal for your company? Working with a coach is helpful at this stage so you can really brainstorm on some great ways to evolve your company through the extra learning you are exposing yourself to.

• Share: Commit to sharing what you learn. Gather your managers together, or discuss your new ideas with your mentors and how you can implement these in your business.
Maybe you can write an article or blog about what you have learnt. When you share something, you embed it even further into your mind and can better evolve what you might be able to take action on.

• Act: Take action. These is no point in just letting your ideas for gradual improvement in your company rest and gather dust. Do something. And enjoy the process.