Everyday we should strive to learn something new to help us in our small businesses. Oftentimes, we feel as if we have hit information overload or just don’t have the time because we are busy running our businesses. To stay competitive and stand out from our competition, it is imperative that we become continuous learners. How do you stay current on the latest technology and marketing trends while running your business and stretching your dollar at the same time? Here are my five ways to help you learn and train while stretching your dollar:
- Podcasts. Podcasts are audio or video files available via RSS feeds via the Internet or Apple’s iTunes that can be downloaded and viewed on your iPods, mp3 players, smartphones, iPhones, or computers that can be listened to or watched at your convenience. What does this mean for you? There are numerous free podcasts on all subjects available from Apple’s iTunes or various podcast directories on the internet. Also, by subscribing to the podcasts, you receive new podcast episodes as they become available. Automatically. Can’t beat that! Many colleges and universities are making their classes available via podcasts through iTunes. Need another reason to try podcasts? Many podcasts are free so they are a great way to stretch your training dollar.
- RSS feeds. What in the world are RSS feeds? Without being too technical, RSS feeds allow us to automatically receive the latest content or “news” from a particular website or blog without having to visit the website or blog periodically to check to see if there is new content available. It’s delivered to us automatically. All we need is an RSS reader such as Google Reader , Feedreader, or others that we can use within our web browsers to store our RSS feeds in one place. All we need to do is subscribe to a website’s or blog’s RSS feed (indicated by the orange RSS feed icon). I like to use Bloglines as my RSS reader. It doesn’t matter which RSS reader you use as long as you use one that works best for you. Did I mention that these RSS readers are FREE?
- BlogTalkRadio. BlogTalkRadio is a great Internet radio channel that offers talk shows as podcasts on any topic you can image. All you have to do is search for your topic of interest. For example, if you want to learn how to stretch a dollar, you can tune into my show Stretching A Dollar For Entrepreneurs to learn more (I couldn’t resist the plug :>). You can listen to these at your convenience on your device of choice (just like podcasts). Once again these are FREE resources that help you stretch your dollar.
- Teleseminars. Teleseminars are great ways to learn something new from the comfort of your home or office via the telephone (or Skype). Not only are you saving time but also gas because you are not driving to a training location. There are many free teleseminars available on various subjects. You can search for teleseminars on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn Groups, and other social networking sites. Another great way to stretch a dollar!
- Webinars. Just like teleseminars, webinars can be watched from the comfort of your home or office via an Internet connection. There is usually a call-in number so that you can hear the audio component of the webinar. Sometimes the call-in number is free and other times it is not so long distance charges will apply. Once again, many are free but their drawback is that they occur at a specific time.
These are just a few ways to stretch a dollar for your online (and offline) learning. There’s no excuse for not learning something new everyday. Pick one method and go from there. Just keep learning! In Part 2, I’ll discuss some additional ways to learn while stretching your dollar. Stay tuned!