Use This Summer to Give Your Biz a Boost

By Susan Payton, Small Business Content Developer at


Summertime often draws the short straw when it comes to business. At the beginning of the year, everyone’s diving into new year’s resolutions, and at year’s end, business owners are busy reviewing the year and determining future plans. But what about the middle of the year?

Summer offers a great opportunity to not only assess your business, but also work on growing it.  It’s perfect time to hit the books (or blogs, as it were) and make your venture really shine. Whether it’s webinars or workshops, books or blogs, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get ahead.


Step 1: Figure Out What You Want to Learn

Likely, you can think of one or two areas of your business that you’re deficient in. Maybe it’s selling. Or accounting. Whatever those areas, make them the focus of your continuing education.

Now decide what specific skills you want to learn. If your weak spot is accounting, will it suffice to learn how to use QuickBooks, or do you also want to learn how to do your own business taxes? Be clear on the exact skills you want to learn right now. There may be one or two that are more pressing, and others that take a back seat (put them on the list for later).


Step 2: Look for Online Learning Opportunities

These days, there are ample places to teach yourself any skill under the sun, all conveniently located online:

  • Blogs

  • Webinars

  • Podcasts

  • Slide presentations

  • Online courses

Search for those that relate to what you want to learn. For example, if you wanted to learn how to better leverage the social media platform HootSuite, there are webinars for it. If you want to learn how to write a business plan, you could watch this video. There are tutorials that will hold your hand through learning something new, and those that teach by encouraging you to try out your new-found skills as you go along.


Step 3: Look Elsewhere

Now that you’ve taken the easiest route to teaching yourself new skills, look offline in your local community for more ways to learn. Your local community college might offer continuing education courses geared toward business owners, or there might be a conference or workshop you can attend in-person (with the added bonus of being a great networking opportunity).

If you have small business resources in your city, like Vancouver’s Small Business BC, you may have access to free or affordable events on topics like customs compliance, marketing, and business planning. Take advantage of these (especially the free ones) to expand your knowledge.


Step 4: Start Consuming

Even reading a blog article can net you big results in terms of branching out your skillset, so stop making excuses and start learning. But don’t just use this time of year to do so; aim to read magazines, books, blogs, and other materials throughout the year to continually stay on top of your industry as well as important business skills to help your business grow.


By Andrew Patricio

July 02, 2014