As SVP of the Small Business Group at Carbonite, I spend a lot of time speaking to small businesses about the challenges they are facing. The one that I hear over and over again is that there’s just not enough time to get everything done. While I can help ensure small businesses are able to back up their data without having to take any time away from their work, nothing can add hours to the day (though I’m sure it’s being worked on in some lab right now!).
When you’re running your own business, it can seem like you don’t have time to catch your breath, much less take the time for professional development. But one of the responsibilities of leading a business is keeping up to date with the newest trends and developments in your industry. Here are some ways to stay on top of what’s going on and connect with other professionals that I’ve found helpful in my 25-year career.
Webinars – Webinars are a great way to learn about best practices, new solutions and trends without ever having to leave your desk. No matter your interest, there’s probably a webinar for you. Look for free, live webinars that allow participants to ask the panelists questions after the information is presented. Carbonite has an ongoing educational webinar series that covers such topics as disaster preparedness and backing up in a HIPAA-compliant office.
Industry events – If you’re looking to actually leave your office, industry events are a great place to learn from and network with others in your field. You can find listings for upcoming events in a variety of places, including professional association websites, media outlets, and event directories that let you search by keyword and location, like Eventbrite. You may find it valuable to attend both industry-specific events (for fields such as accounting, real estate, law or IT) and broader business events, such as the NY Business Expo —which I’ll be speaking at on November 15 — or Entrepreneur Week.
Community organizations – Getting involved with an organization like your local chamber of commerce or small business council can offer many benefits. Becoming an advocate for your business community will allow you to work with influential business leaders and play a role in local economic development. Community organizations also often put on educational events for members, which can include panels, roundtables and networking nights.
Online communities – Facebook is helpful for keeping in touch with friends and interacting with your favorite brands, but there are a number of other communities that promote education and news specific to an industry. LinkedIn is a great place to start looking for professional groups for nearly any industry, and there are industry-specific communities like Spiceworks (for IT professionals) where people can share insights, ask questions and interact with likeminded professionals.
Specialized news – Take a few minutes a day to browse industry news from your favorite media outlets. Some publications produce newsletters that can be emailed to you daily or weekly. You don’t have to read every word every day, but you may find that you enjoy having something to read that’s related to your profession when you find yourself waiting in line, on public transportation or early for a meeting. I subscribe to emails from a range of sources, such as SMBNation and SearchSMBStorage and follow blogs including New York Times’ You’re the Boss and SmallBizTrends.
These are just a few ways you can stay connected to other professionals in your field. If you’re interested in how technology can help your small business, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or shoot me an email at Pete.Lamson@carbonite.com. And if you’d like to learn more about how you can protect your valuable business data, or start a free 30-day trial, visit www.carbonite.com. Have more questions? Call the Carbonite business team at 1-855-CARB-BIZ or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost consultation on backing up your business.