Learn New Skills to Get Ahead in Business – A 4-Step Plan of Action

A 4-Step Plan of Action to get ahead in business


It may be that you’ve got some massive goals for your business but, in order to reach your goals, there may be a skills gap which is stopping you from moving forward.

The children have just gone back to school, and maybe you need to consider doing the same. I don’t mean you have to enrol on a three-year course or study for a new qualification (but you could if you wanted to or needed to), but it’s a good time to investigate any areas that could be holding you back. There could be more day-to-day skills which could do with some improvement, which may not take hours and hours of study but will have a fundamental impact on your performance in your business.

Which skills do I need?

Think about your role and ask yourself are any skills, or lack of, letting you down?  Be honest with yourself.  These may be soft skills or they may be practical skills you need for your job.

However, be clear about whether you need those skills or whether that task could be delegated. I have seen again and again clients or colleagues who hold their business back because they won’t delegate, even though the work would be done more quickly (and cheaply) by someone else. Remember, you don’t need to do it all of this yourself!

You could be struggling with:

  • IT
  • Technical skills
  • Bookkeeping
  • Reading and understanding a set of accounts
  • Organisation
  • Time keeping
  • Delegation
  • Adjusting to home working
  • Marketing
  • Social media
  • Managing your business
  • Business development
  • Networking

Whichever skills you identify, you need to put a plan in place to tackle the skills gap.  This will mean you are more likely to do something about it and also it will make you feel better!

Make a list of all your costs and then consider how you can bring these down. You are likely to have a mixture of long-term and short-term actions. Choose some actions which come to fruition quickly to keep your motivation up, as well as some that may be bigger savings but may take longer to implement.

To get you started, download my free Action Plan.

And that is how it all starts. Now you will need to implement your ideas and reduce your spending. The next 4 steps are some ideas on quick wins which will motivate you to keep up the good work and cut costs.

Plan of Action

1. Which lack of skills is causing you a problem?

Outline the problem as clearly and specifically as possible and break it down into smaller chunks so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Rather than just saying ‘IT’, is it a problem with social media, or finance packages, or your website?

2. What do I want to achieve?

If you have a problem with a skills gap, it could easily be stopping you from moving forward.  To motivate yourself, think about what your goals are, and how this problem is hindering you.

3. Possible Solutions

Write down anything that comes to you to be able to solve the situation.  What do you want the outcome to be? Maybe you could benefit from talking it through with someone else?

If you decide you want to improve your own skills rather than delegate, think about how you best learn. Is it face to face, online or reading a book? How do you best absorb information?

4. Who can help me?

Do you have someone who could help you in an area where you are struggling? What would be your ‘easy way in’ to understand something you currently find difficult?

When I’m mentoring, I often notice how much benefit is received from having someone independent to you who helps you see more clearly.  By sharing and knowing you’re not alone, this decreases your stress enormously.

You could attend a day course, book a session with a mentor or even set up a skill swap with someone else.

Of course, there’s also the opportunity of delegating the work to someone else. If they are an expert in their field, they will be able to do it much quicker and therefore weigh up how much it would costs compared with the amount of time it would take you to do the same task – time which could be better spent doing something more profitable for your business.

Think of this time as your back-to-school time.  What are you going to improve to help you achieve your goals?  What are you going to learn?  Do you need to book on a course? 

If you need encouragement, maybe buy something new for your office which will get you in the mood for your next phase in your working life! Think back to school days, when you got a new pencil case at the beginning of a new school year. This could be your adult equivalent – not that there is anything wrong with having a new pencil case as an adult! Earlier in the year I brought a height adjusting desk – what a difference it’s made to my filing!