Why is CPD Important as a Small Business Owner?
Training is an inherent part of life as an employee. No matter how high in the industry you happen to be, there will be some mandatory training and updates required. Continued professional development isn’t just for employees or those in professional careers though, it’s an important part of being a business owner too.
In this blog, I want to talk about CPD, how it relates to you as a business owner, and the many benefits you can gain by updating and upskilling each year.
What is CPD?
There’s sometimes confusion surrounding the term with a belief that it has to be formal training of some kind where in reality, “continuing professional development” can take the form of many different and varied activities, such as:
- Industry networking events
- Professional training (usually allocates “CPD points” for those in professions that need so many points a year to remain a member of their professional body, such as accountants)
- Informal training – webinars, lectures, short courses
- Reading articles, industry magazines, case studies, etc
- Discussions – engaging with discussions at events but also listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, etc can count too
Essentially, CPD is about gaining new information to help you develop your skills and keep your knowledge up to date. How you choose to do that as a small business owner is really up to you (unless you do have a professional membership in which case, you’ll need to check your CPD requirements with the body responsible for that).
So, let’s move on to the benefits of keeping on top of your CPD.
You stay up to date with new trends
If you’re reading the articles and engaging with others in the industry frequently, you’re much more likely to spot emerging trends and get ahead of your competition. This might be a new service you offer, a new way of working or even changing your job title (Virtual Assistant has gone through quite the evolution of meanings!).
This enables you to not only keep pace with the other business owners offering similar services/products as you, but you’ll develop the skills and expertise to stay ahead in terms of pricing too. When you can offer more, you can charge more, and because these new skills can help you be more effective and productive, you might find you’re saving time too.
Your credibility and reputation are improved
As a business owner, it’s your personal credibility and reputation that counts more often than not when people decide to buy from you. People do business with people, and they want to be confident that you have the skills, expertise, and know-how to deliver what they’re paying for.
Being able to talk about the latest trends, what you’ve learned from recent training/industry updates, etc shows that you care about what you do. That you want the best results for your clients and so you’re upskilling and keeping up to date to ensure that.
How do you share the CPD you’ve been doing? You can talk about things you’ve learned and found interesting on social media, you can write blogs, etc. You can read my blog about some of the training I’ve done to become an Online Business Manager.
You’ll keep on top of regulations and legislation
From a business perspective, being aware of upcoming changes to legislation and regulatory requirements can ensure you avoid hefty fines and even going to court. Back when GDPR was in the process of being developed, I was amazed by the number of business owners who had no idea it would affect them even weeks after it’d been bought into law.
Making Tax Digital is an upcoming regulatory change for self-assessment that will affect all business owners over the next couple of years, but there may be others specific to your industry. Make sure you know what’s around the corner for you and your business by following social media accounts for your industry and attending networking events where possible.
You’re holding yourself accountable
When you’re an employee you have a supervisor or HR department to ensure your skills are up to date and that you are competent to do the job you’re being paid for. As a small business owner, you’re only accountable to yourself.
It’s all too easy to put things off because you haven’t got the time now, it’s not bringing in the money, etc but then you fall into the trap of lagging behind in terms of skills and knowledge. I personally feel more confident when I’ve learned something new and able to use it in my business, so there’s that side to it too.
I think that making a deal with yourself to do so much CPD each year is a great way of keeping yourself accountable and staying up to date, it might look something like one formal course, attending a monthly networking event, listening to two podcasts a week and subscribing to industry newsletters (and reading them!).
Whatever CPD you decide to do, write it down, print it out and sign it, then put it on the wall where you can see it. Check-in every so often to make sure you really are staying on top of things; your business will thank you for it!