You know your business inside and out, but is that enough? Being an expert in your own field paves the way toward entrepreneurial success. Expanding that knowledge base to become an expert in other fields and services makes you the go-to person with the potential to increase your business significantly. The additional expertise helps you corner a particular niche and expand your service offerings. Examples include an accountant who becomes an expert in building contractor businesses, a software developer who gains expertise in real estate, or an advertising agency with expert-level knowledge of running restaurants. These professionals position themselves at the cutting edge of the market in multiple industries. Gaining that additional expertise comes in many ways.
Choosing a valuable new area of expertise is crucial to successfully expand your business. You can learn about any field, but if it’s not an area experiencing growth or in need of the service you want to offer, it won’t net much new business for your company. Start with your current client base. What are your clients’ areas of expertise? How does your area of expertise coincide with their areas? Knowing your clients’ industries and business needs enables you to better help them identify emerging markets, particularly those in underserved markets. What can your clients teach you about their businesses? Spend some time on location learning more about their operations and what they do on a daily basis, and identify gaps or areas of need that you can service. Doing this hands-on research with your current clients helps you target your learning to become an expert in additional spaces.
When you want to expand into a particular area of expertise or add a new line of business, consider hiring someone who is already an expert in the new field. This person already has the education and real-world experience to get you up and running. Use your newly acquired talent to help you plan your expansion into new areas of business. Another key role of this person is to create an education plan for the rest of your staff to get everyone up to speed. Work closely with this person to learn all you can about the field, and then work together to create training sessions for the rest of the staff.
Learning new skills comes down to seeking out available educational opportunities. Professional development courses exist in almost any field and fast-track your learning about a new area. If you’re a marketing pro who wants to target the insurance industry, consider taking classes to earn your insurance licence. Online courses and books from existing experts in the field are also excellent sources of information, as are industry conferences and expert speakers in the field. Create an education program for your employees that covers the cost of course registration and learning tools, and set up a learning library in the office as a resource area for employees.
Study the Experts
Who is at the top of your target industry? What can you learn from those people who already know the field well? Studying what those experts do and how they do it can give you key information about how to proceed. Find out how they got started in the industry, where they stumbled, and where they succeeded. Many field experts write books or blogs on the topic, which gives you an inside track into their processes.
Studying gives you a knowledge foundation for a new area, but actual hands-on work in the field gives you a greater understanding of skills and challenges. Dive in to test out new skills related to your planned business expansion. If you want to expand into developing mobile apps, start tinkering to see what you can create. Learning all you can about the new skill is useful, but you can also get stuck in the learning cycle without actually taking steps toward doing the new skill. Don’t be afraid to start trying your new skill even if you haven’t mastered it yet.