At a seminar a few years ago the speaker said that the body of knowledge we have for any given industry DOUBLES every 6-months… That sounds ridiculously high to me and begs the question, How exactly would you even measure a “body of knowledge”… To explain the idea more thoroughly, the presenter said that in a field of study such as marketing or sales or recruiting, the amount of information (books, websites, blogs, articles, seminars) doubles every 6-months. Though I can’t say I completely accept that number it’s easy to see that new information is coming out at an overwhelming rate.
A few years ago the US Department of Labor published a study indicating that people who read at least 7 business books per year make 2.3x more money than people who don’t. The study claims that part of the reason is that they always have new ideas. Both of those claims make sense to me…
So how in the world can you stay up on the latest studies, lessons, and technologies to make sure you don’t get left behind? Here’s what I do.
- Read 1-2 Books per Month – We have all heard the recommendation to read a book a week and, though I can’t say that’s bad advice, it’s just not efficient. I’ve dropped to about 1-2 books per month and replaced the additional time with the items below. Dollar for dollar, though, there’s nothing better than a good book. People will pour out their life’s work, knowledge, research, and expertise for $15 ($10 on your Kindle). That’s almost offensively cheap.
- Participate in 1-2 Webinars per Month – The trend these days for information marketers (i.e. the guys who are replacing professors and authors) is to leverage their time with free, informative webinars that take 45-120 minutes. Some are not worth the time. Others are well worth it and in 2 hours you can glean a lot more information than 2 hours reading a book. You will have to deal with the sales pitch at the end but you can always hang-up or disconnect at that point. However, you may even find it’s well worth the investment in their product.
- Sign-up for free E-books and email training courses – Firstly, setup a separate email account just for this purpose so your smartphone isn’t constantly buzzing with these emails. If you receive the free E-book or email course and it’s low quality, immediately unsubscribe so you won’t waste your time any more. If it’s high-quality and remains that way, never unsubscribe. I’ve stayed on great email lists for years. If it’s in-between, I’ll usually get a few weeks to months of content and then unsubscribe once I determine it’s not worth my time. Don’t ever delete an email since you may be searching for that information again in the future.
- Follow great blogs – Whether you follow their RSS feed or sign-up for their email list, if a blog writer regularly provides quality content in an area of your interest, there’s hardly a better way to get information these days. Since blogs are generally short and to-the-point, you can get great information quickly and efficiently without disrupting your day or scheduling hours of time to sort through a book. Every day I spend time reading the emails from my favorite bloggers.
- Like great Media Sources on Facebook – For entrepreneurs, consider liking Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Brad Sugars and of course, the Ethical Business Builder. It’ll keep your feed populated with the latest articles and blogs from these top resources.
- Write your own blog or record videos – Everything above provides you with knowledge. However, if you’re keeping up with the above 4 points, you’re gaining knowledge more quickly than you can implement. So to make sure you don’t lose the energy or excitement of this added knowledge, record it somewhere. Write down all the great ideas that come to mind and blog or vlog (video blog) your thoughts and ideas. You’ll find that when you are ready to implement, re-reading or watching your own interpretation on the original concept will get you up to speed much more quickly. At the very least, make lists or notes for every book or webinar so you can quickly get back up-to-speed when the time is right.
As a business owner and leader, it’s imperative that you’re constantly educating and re-educating. Your mind, just like your body, can always benefit from a good workout.
To your knowledgeable success, Bryan
P.S. Another way to get great information and new ideas on a regular basis is to hire a business coach who keeps up with the 6 items above. Contact me to learn how I can help you grow your business to run without you.