Businesses grow when owners invest in their leadership education. Budget, schedule, and plan for growth.

As the leader of your company, you have a great many things – important things – vying for your time.  From the daily needs of running a business to the additional yearly needs of ongoing education, personal development, conferences, conventions, etc., it’s no wonder we can feel as though there simply is not enough time or other resources to do everything we want to do.  Rather than just letting these things happen or not according to the day, here are a few guidelines to help you make some of these decisions intentionally.

[EasyDNNnewsToken:Left Justify Embed 300 x 250]Budgeting for trips and other opportunities has to be done upfront and in advance so you don’t make the mistake of over-spending or compromising your cash flow.  When you are setting your budget for the upcoming year, make sure to include your education; many business owners typically do their annual budgeting between October and December.  Generally, you’ll want to budget .7 – 1% of your total annual revenue for all of your educational needs. 

Timing is also very important.  If you try to schedule yourself out too early, you will miss out on some potentially valuable programs that pop up in the year, but if you wait too long, your cash flow can get out of whack.  Try scheduling half your budget at the beginning of the year, leaving some gaps in time to fill in as new opportunities come along.  Are there some programs that you know you don’t want to miss, like the ARCSI convention and ISSA Trade Show?  Put that on your schedule during the budgeting phase and begin making the decision of how to pay earlier vs. later.

What are your needs?  It doesn’t make sense to do everything that comes along, even though at the time everything may feel necessary.  Evaluate your needs up front and in advance so that you are making the most of the opportunities that come along.  Look for those programs that fit with your pre-determined needs rather than looking for how you can use the information that is being given.  Occasionally a program will come along that you didn’t realize you needed.  Maybe you’ve newly decided to get into carpet cleaning because an opening in the market came along that you couldn’t pass up.  That’s the time to look for what will help you strategically advance.

Now that you have the money, know when you’re going, and for what purpose, who will be taking care of the shop while you’re gone?  Will you be going over the weekend when no work is scheduled and there is no impact to the company?  If not, you need to have a clear plan regarding who will be taking the reins for you in your absence.  Without this person in place, your learning experience will be drastically reduced.  Not only that, but coming back will require so much additional effort that you may lose all the momentum you gain by going! 

Set yourself up for success!  Make your leadership education part of your strategic planning session, and you’ll be on the fast track for growing your company even faster!  As Jim Rohn said, “If you want to have more, you have to become more,” and that’s an investment worth making.

Liz Trotter is founder of American Maid Cleaning as well as an entrepreneur and leadership trainer based in Olympia, Washington. She is also a former ARCSI board member, creator of the HiPEP leadership development system and the DEV daily employee training series as well as a charter member of Cleaning For A Reason.