Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Acquisition of Knowledge in Business gives one a Competitive Edge

Author: Dr. Cheryl Cottle

Customer training and education is a great business strategy for business owners to get customers and to keep them coming back. Do you think that it is important that as business people, training and education is also important to the sustainability of your business? Do you engage in on-going learning about business development, and what methods do you use to develop best business practice?

As an educator, entrepreneur trainer, an expert in the implementation of computer technology in the workplace, as well as an entrepreneur, I strongly believe that the acquisition of knowledge gives a business owner a competitive edge in the market place. 

The market place is an ever evolving place with new and emerging ways to do business, and if one has to sustain his or her business he or she must overcome the challenges by keeping abreast of best practices to circumvent any pitfalls. Having that piece of new information over your competitor, will give you your advantage. Like large organizations, training and development is an ongoing activity for employees, managers as well as people in upper management. Large organizations generally have a budget allocated to the development of their employees and often offer many incentives to facilitate education and training. Similarly, small businesses should also engage in education and development. The budget that they allocate may not be as much as larger companies and organization, but it is imperative that they do so. 

Training and development should be a part of your business plan. They should be integrated into your overall design plan and must not be regarded as an afterthought. A proactive approach to training and development will keep you updated on new knowledge that comes out in the market place, and help you to adapt more easily and quickly to any changes. 

Training is inherently the acquisition of knowledge and skills needed to perform present tasks that are vital to the operation of the various processes of your company. Training is a tool to help you to employees and managers contribute to the company and be successful in their current positions by meeting the required expectations, contribute to the company's growth and development, experience a high degree of success and attain a degree of job satisfaction (Cottle, 2003). It is a retooling and or retraining strategy that facilitates the successful implementation of the integrated systems designed to facilitate the operation of the business. 

Development on the other hand is the acquisition of knowledge and skills used in the present and in the future. It is the prerequisite to help employees meet new challenges and ensure the long-term health and vitality of a business. It is the core of which helps a business to achieve its short-term as well as its long-term vision and growth. It facilitates an organization's or business sustainability. It is what gives you a competitive edge in this era of global economies, global competition, and advance technology. 

Training and development are very important for the successful development of a company or business. It is the energy that sustains it; and it is crucial tool for meeting the economic changes taking place globally. Businesses and organization must put in place a policy for education; training and development to build its knowledge-base. Managing the intellectual capacity of your company is one sure way of being in readiness to exploit and absorbs when new market changes emerge. It enable you to maintain the proverbial saying — a competitive edge in the market place. In addition, it also facilitates the advancement of employee’s marketability. What that means is that within your sector and industry, your employees would be known to be proficient and effective. In other words they will be regarded as "high caliber" employee, thus increasing your employees’ marketability and your business visibility as a competitor to be reckoned with. 

Business owners as well as their employees should engage in education and training. Developing the intellectual capacity of your business so that you can be better positioned to exploit new ways of doing business. It would also enable you to have a greater impact on the absorptive capacity of your company. You will therefore be better able to take on new challenges, exploit new markets, exploit new products, as well as expand your client base and attract new employees and investors. 

In regards to methods of learning, there are many approaches to knowledge acquisition. You can use both formal and informal learning methodologies. Training can also be conducted in-house or at a private institution. You can also utilize your own in- house trainers; the guru among you, as well as source external trainers who will come in and design and deliver a training program specifically to your needs. In addition, you can also access knowledge from books, journals, magazine, and various online forums. I will like to share a quote by Brian Tracy, who says:
Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.
I must end by saying that I can identify with Tracy’s quote; I do believe that the business owner with knowledge; new and emerging knowledge can indeed be a great exemplar as an entrepreneur. 

A Case Study of Three Organizations' Plans to Facilitate the Adoption, Diffusion and Infusion of Computer Technology in the Workplace, 2003 ( A Doctoral Dissertation, Dr. Cheryl Cottle, Robarts Library, University of Toronto

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