Whether you are ready to take the first step into business ownership or you want to map your path to your dream career, planning your journey will make the process easier. However, planning and implementing a career takes time and patience.
Your path to business success will be long; at certain points, you’ll probably feel like it is all uphill and full of detours. With a detailed plan of attack, you will be able to break down your goals into manageable tasks that you can keep track of over time. There are four steps to career planning. If you work through these steps, you will have a clear idea of yourself, your chosen industry, your plan, and what the action you need to take.
When we are younger, we want to do a great many things. Elementary school children likely can give you at least three answers to what they want to do with themselves when they grow up.
As we age, those answers become more narrow… or disappear altogether. Some high school graduates are positive about what they want to do, so they head off to university with a clear path in mind. Some high school graduates are less sure and may take time before they decide to go to university or a vocational college.
The best part about being older with more life experience is you know your strengths and weaknesses, you know how much money you need to make to live comfortably, and you have a better understanding of the responsibilities you have as an adult and what life can throw at you. You are at a much better place in your mid-20’s and 30’s to make decisions about your career path than you were when you were just graduating high school.
Let's look at the questions you need to ask about yourself and the industries you are interested in to ensure your chosen career or business is sustainable. Later in the week, we will look at questions you need to ask to write your plan and ways you can put it into action.
Step One: Know yourself
Before you can decide on the steps you need to take for your career, you need to know what you want from life in general. But knowing yourself is also about understanding your personal strengths and weaknesses, and creating a plan for personal development. This requires brutal honesty. You’ll have to ask yourself some tough questions about yourself and what you really want from your working life.
Being honest with yourself is harder than it seems, so you may even decide to ask your friends and family for their opinion too. You don’t have to act on every suggestion and criticism, remember it is only one person’s opinion. Instead, listen carefully and take to heart those comments that resonate with you. The important thing is to be honest with yourself.
Questions to ask yourself
- What am I looking for in life?
- Do I want the responsibility of my own business?
- Am I willing to put in the hours necessary?
- Or would I prefer to leave the responsibility to someone else?
- Do I want the structure and security of a career that I can leave behind when I finish work?
- What are my strengths? What am I good at?
- Is there some way to capitalize on this strength in my career or when I start a business?
- What am I not so good at? What are my weaknesses and fears?
- Are there any industries I should avoid because of unavoidable weaknesses or fears?
- How can I improve on avoidable weaknesses?
- For example, if you know that time management is difficult for you, what steps are you going to take to manage your time more effectively?
These are the answers that one of our students gave to the above questions. Over the past four years she has had to face all of these questions, and when honest with herself, she was able to make the best decisions for herself and for her family.
- My children are young and, as a single mother, I think it is important for me to be available to them.
- I want enough money to be comfortable, but that isn’t my current priority.
- I am organized, self-motivated and tend to throw myself into my work. These are obviously considered strengths, but I need to ensure I find time for other aspects of my life as well.
- I get bored easily. This means I like to study and work on multiple projects, but also means I have to plan my time wisely so I stay focused on tasks when I need to.
By answering these questions, she realized that she is currently not in the position for a full-time job. With many family responsibilities, she couldn’t provide the consistent time frames of a 9-to-5 daily grind. What she can do is write, and she could write from anywhere. While she would love to create a business empire, that’s also not where her life is at right now. This does not mean she won’t be in a place to do it eventually, but currently, time with her children while they are young feels more important.
In ten years when her children are in a new phase of life, she will be ready to take her business to the next level. In the present, she will want to focus on perfecting the skills she will need and making sure she has a plan in place so that when the time is right she can take action to build her own business.
Step Two: Know the industry
The second step in the process is to identify industries that you have experience in or are interested in learning more about. This is equally important for both career and business planning. You need to consider customer demand and possibilities for industry changes, so you can be sure that the business or job you choose will continue to be in demand into the future.
Questions to research
- What is the future of the industry?
- Are there new opportunities?
- What has been done before and could it be done differently?
- What aspects will become automated?
- What specialized skills does this industry require?
- How can I apply my skills
- Where are the gaps in my knowledge?
- What do customers want from this industry?
There’s no point starting a business and finding out people just aren’t buying what you are selling. You have to adapt to the market if you want to succeed in the long term. One of our students is a writer with a background in newspaper journalism. When she originally started, her focus was on providing press releases for her clients.
Over the past ten years, her industry has changed a lot. Gone are the days of the traditional media. In response, the services she offers have had to change too. Blogs and e-books have replaced press releases and brochures because that is what the market demands from her skill set. Her writing style has had to change along with the medium, but her business administration skills learned early in her career have consistently provided an edge both at work and in business.
One of the ways you can learn those business administration skills is with classes at CCI Training Center. We offer flexible course schedules you can complete in a short amount of time to get your business started. Our instructors have real world experience and knowledge to help you learn what you need to know to start a business and turn it into whatever you can dream up!
In business, networking is everything, and many of our students who come to take our business courses, start their professional network right here at CCI Training Center. You may have a great business idea and strike up a conversation with a classmate who is thinking along similar lines. They may have a business that will compliment well with yours, or you may even decide to go into business together! Valuable connections are made between our students every day at CCI Training Center.
We know that while you may have the high motivation to start your own business quickly, you likely cannot quit your current job that is supporting you and your family. That is why we offer classes year round, and generally only require one or two days a week of in-class time for our business courses. You will not have to worry about being overloaded with your current job, family responsibilities, and training for your dream career.
CCI Training Center has endeavored to make it as stress-free as possible for you to gain the knowledge that will allow you to change your life and be your own boss
In our next blog, we will look at the third and fourth step, writing and implementing your career plan. Until then, if you want more information about building a business career fill out the contact form or download our ebook here.