I waded through tons of business training programs and information in my first four years of running a business. All of the courses were excellent, though the timing was off for some of them. In the process, I discovered much about the different kinds of information we need at different points in our business.
Here is a fundamental concept that I hope will help you understand the different kinds of information out there and the ways to take it all in.
There is a difference between business training and customized business strategy – and as business owners we need both at every level of our business. Keep in mind that I am defining these terms “Monica Style”, and these aren’t textbook definitions.
Basic business training is about learning the fundamentals – the step-by-step how to behind marketing both online and offline, running your business, hiring your team, creating systems, etc. These skills are best learned in a group program. That way you can learn from the questions of those in the group. You can also take advantage of the lower price point of a group program while you are still at the beginning stages of generating revenue.
I believe that every business owner should go through a basic business training program at some point in their business – even if you have already experienced success or have been in business a number of years.
I’m always surprised at how many business owners don’t understand the basics. Without a solid understanding of the basics, parts of your business will always feel like a mystery to you, and leave you at the mercy of hoping and wishing (which is helpful, but not always effective).
Learning the fundamentals makes it possible to understand every step of running a business. And it gives you the confidence to know that if you lost everything, you would be able to replicate the process and build it all again.
As you get more advanced in your business, you’ll still want to learn business training, but it will just be on different topics. For example, you may want to take a class on advanced Internet marketing or how to build out your team. Continuing to take in business training will keep you up on the latest trends and keep you sharp as a leader.
Some people do just fine by taking program after program, taking in the information and doing action after action in their businesses. They achieve their goals and keep growing.
But most business owners I’ve met get to a point where taking in more business training is not nearly as useful as getting customized business strategy that is catered to their specific business, mindset issues and lifestyle needs.
Customized Business Strategy
Customized business strategy is when you take all the information that you are learning and work with a business coach/mentor one-on-one to customize it specifically to you.
Generally customized business strategy comes in the form of One-on-one coaching programs, masterminds and VIP Days.
Here’s where a lot of business owners are struggling: they aren’t getting any customized business strategy. They continue to take in more and more information (much of it free), but they are confused about how to apply this information to their businesses and what order to apply it in. Therefore, they aren’t really using the information to generate income – and they blame themselves for the failure.
If you are in this boat, often what you are missing is someone to sit down and help you walk through how to work through all of the marketing and business principles and apply them to your own business and your own life situation.
For example, in my VIP Days with new business owners or those that are going into a new niche, I often help them clarify their target markets, create and name their programs, create a name and tagline for their businesses and develop a specific marketing plan. We can hammer all of this out in 3 hours, and often they have been struggling with it for months. And I find that once we create a plan together one-on-one, they understand the information in my business training programs so much more because they aren’t questioning how to apply it to their businesses.
Sometimes it just takes a trained eye from someone else to see what you’ve been missing. Here’s something else you should know: you can also start with customized business strategy and work one on one with a coach from the very beginning.
The problem with customized business strategy is that it is significantly more expensive than group programs or “free information” that exists out there. Working with a coach one-on-one is an investment for most business owners.
In general, you have two options to generate the money to invest in one-on-one work with high-end coach. You can use money from another source: savings, family money or borrowed money.
Or you can generate money from another job to pay for the training you need in your business.
I paid for my first coach using both options. I borrowed money from my family and I got a job as a marketing consultant for my first year. I paid for my first VIP day entirely on a credit card. Both decisions worked in my favor and I was able to generate significant income leaps from what I learned and implemented.
The most successful solo-preneurs and small business owners I know have invested in customized business strategy for their businesses. The investment takes courage to risk jumping into a relationship with someone whom you aren’t quite sure of (and spending money that you might not have right now, but are hoping to generate).
And frankly, when you are ready for that kind of investment is completely unique to you and your situation. There is no right time or wrong time. But it does require you to step into a place where you are ready to take your business seriously. And you must be ready to trust someone else to guide you along the path.
I hope this clarifies the two different kinds of information I see out there. Know that many programs are a hybrid – they contain one-on-one support plus great business training. And to some extent I’m generalizing the plethora of programs and information out there. But I think the distinction between business training and customized business strategy is an important for you to understand.
Take a moment this week and think about the formats that work for you. What kind of information do you need more of? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.