You started your business to reach a specific set of goals. Everything you do should move you closer to these goals. The money you make is a tool that you use to help you get what you are seeking.

As your business grows, you’ll need to spend time and money to get the skills you need to move to the next level. Sometimes it is more cost effective for you to do the job yourself. At other times, hiring an employee to do it is a smarter route to take and it is sometimes best to contract the job to an outside service specializing in what you need done.

Always figure the costs of each option and remember that every job you do yourself is taking you away from building your business beyond its current level. Your time is valuable so put a dollar amount on it to use in these calculations.

Seminars

Are these worth the expense to you? You need to walk away from your business for 3-14 days depending on the event. You’ll need to pay for the seminar, the hotel, the airline tickets, food and transportation at the minimum. You’ll definitely be able to network, in person, with others in your industry which may help you in the future. You might pick up some useful information but is it a seminar where numerous guest speakers are lined up to give you a taste of their knowledge then they tell you to buy their course at the back table for the rest of the story? Find out everything you can about the seminar, speakers and what will be discussed before you make your decision so you can decide whether it’s a worthwhile investment of time and money for your business.

Tele-conferences

These can be free or paid but you are investing your time even if you have an unlimited calling plan that doesn’t exclude conference calls. As with seminars, you must decide whether the call will provide real information you can use or whether it’ll be a teaser call that’s showcasing case studies of successful users of the product or service before the sales pitch starts. Know what type of call it is in advance and you can minimize the effect a well crafted sales pitch has on you. If you are looking for this type of product or service, these calls might let you ask questions to make a more informed business decision.

Newsletters and Ezines

I don’t care what business you are in but I can almost guarantee there will be one or more newsletters to keep you informed about your industry. Each will have a different slant on the current status and the future of your niche. If you are in the Internet Marketing niche, you will have hundreds if not thousands of choices. Be very careful who you choose as a mentor in your chosen field and do your own due diligence instead of blindly following anyone.

The person you choose as a mentor has his or her own belief system and goals and these may not mesh with yours even when the information is good.

Example: The Internet, like your business and software, is going through phases and people love to label things for convenience. Web 1.0 gave us static non-interactive web pages to visit and collect information. Web 2.0 has added technology that gives users the ability to interact with web pages and each other better than ever. RSS Feeds, videos, audios and application type interfaces are a few examples of Web 2.0. Web 3.0 may bring new technologies, improved usability and more.

If you blindly accept the perceptions and labels presented by those you listen to, your view and business may suffer because you strayed from your business plan or sound business practices that obscured the path to your goal.

Web 3.0 is already in the works because technology never stops advancing. As I stated last week, continue what works to become great at it and test new techniques as your time and budget allows so you are expanding your business.

You are the decision maker for your business and your goals and plans should be considered whenever your mentor presents an opinion or idea.

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