We have just concluded a poll asking participants to tell us about their 2013 professional development budgets for business skills training.
The responses aren’t a total surprise to us here at WorkInCulture. A whopping 48% have less than $50 budgeted to further the advancement of their business skills.
Here is the dilemma. In our research we have found that people in our creative community collectively identify improved business skills as a way to move their businesses, organizations and careers forward. We also know that this need isn’t reflected in budget priorities – in fact training for business skills is often one of the first things cut when money is tight or, particularly for individual creative entrepreneurs, never budgeted at all. We know all too well that money is tight and training takes time plus money. But we think we can all do better.
So we want to propose the WorkInCulture Challenge. If you are an individual artist or freelancer, think of one business skill area that you would like to be better at, find a course that meets your needs and build that cost into your budget right now. You don’t have to spend a fortune. For example, WorkInCulture’s own e-learning Marketing Crash Course is $40 plus HST (think of it like a week of lattes).
If you are with an organization or a company, start thinking of the next budget cycle and start talking with your team to get a sense of what kind of training might benefit both them and the organization. Some organizations have a policy that if a staff member wants to take a course that will impact their work and is approved by their manager, the organization will reimburse up to 50% of the cost (up to an agreed upon amount) on successful completion. Again, it doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Perhaps someone on your team needs some help improving their Excel skills (I know I do). Well - Young Associates offers some practical hands-on workshops for $60 a session.
There are also some things you can do that don’t cost anything. Do you have colleagues that face some of the same challenges you do? How about getting together an informal peer-to-peer learning group that meets over lattes (okay, or a glass of something stronger) once a month and discusses a rotating agenda of career development and business issues? Or is there someone in your organization or discipline that would agree to mentor you over the course of a year (WorkInCulture offers some downloadable tips for mentorships).
Whatever you do, we challenge you to do something. Our community deserves to understand and make use of some of the same business tools that other sectors use to grow and innovate.
WorkInCulture will do this same poll again next year. Can we collectively move more participants into the ‘over $50’ category even by a little?
Would love to hear any thoughts on the subject you would like to share.