In order to maintain a viable and profitable business, entrepreneurs must constantly engage in professional development. You’ve probably heard the often-repeated statistic that the average CEO reads upwards of 50 books a year. While this dedication to gathering knowledge is admirable, it’s not realistic for everyone. If reading isn’t your thing, or you just don’t have room in your schedule to devote to books, consider subscribing to a few podcasts.
Podcasts are a form of audio content that can range from a few minutes to a few hours long. There are podcasts focused on every type of business imaginable, and they are usually hosted by industry experts. Most can be streamed online for free. This makes them easy to consume as you’re doing other errands. Podcasts offer a trove of information that you can apply to the following tasks.
Industry-focused podcasts bring together thought leaders to discuss the latest trends and patterns. Research podcasts are solely focused on analyzing the effects of changes on the markets, including local and international laws, consumer demand, and global affairs like the pandemic. Most departments at major universities and international corporations also host their own podcasts.
In addition to podcasts covering trends at the macro level, you can also find a plethora of business podcasters who focus on your specific region, especially if you live in a larger city. Signing up for one of these informative podcasts gives you the ability to gather insight and knowledge without having to do any of the data collecting.
Solve Common Problems
One of the downsides of being an entrepreneur is the lack of resources when you come across a business problem. In a traditional workplace, you could always bounce ideas off of your colleagues. When you’re running your own business, you have to analyze the issue on your own. Podcasts are a great way to hear the types of problems entrepreneurs in your industry are encountering. In fact, many podcast episodes will focus solely on a specific issue and provide multiple solutions.
An eCommerce podcast can give valuable information on how to select an Amazon customs broker, while a copywriting show may give a step-by-step breakdown on how to scale by hiring subcontractors. As this kind of niche information is not the easiest to find or understand, podcasts are a great way to crowdsource potential workarounds for your business problems.
Running a business is difficult, and it can be hard to wear all the hats within your business. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, the people around you are employed, and will not have the clearest understanding of the obstacles you face. Luckily, many entrepreneurship-focused podcasts discuss the emotional side of working for yourself.
National Public Radio, better known as NPR, hosts the immensely popular How I Built This podcast. Each episode tells the story of a remarkable entrepreneur and their journey to achieve their dreams. The podcast paints a very real picture of the failed attempts business owners face before reaching success. Hearing these stories can give you renewed energy to overcome any ruts or roadblocks in your business.
Connect to a Community
Podcasts are only one spoke of an entire ecosystem. For example, many podcast hosts also manage private or public communities on Facebook, Slack, or Discord where listeners can interact with each other. Other hosts run mastermind groups where entrepreneurs can share their knowledge and gain insight from peers.
Arguably, the most valuable benefit of listening to podcasts is the ability to hear the thoughts of some of the most successful people in the world for free. Search through any podcast player and you will find interviews with experts from every industry imaginable. Podcasts hosted by big names, such as McKinsey, Harvard Business Review, and Wharton Business School are reliable sources of vetted and exclusive insider information.
Make the Most of a Podcast
While you probably gain a lot from simply listening to an episode, adding the following actions to your podcast listening routine will enhance your ability to retain and apply any lessons.
Read the Shownotes
Podcasts often include references to websites, books, other thought leaders, and courses. Most podcasters will summarize this information in the shownotes.Put time aside to investigate these additional resources.
If a podcast is particularly meaty, you may need to listen to some episodes a few times. This is especially true of podcasts with interactive components, like writing prompts or outlines for doing a specific business activity.
If you try to implement every strategy you uncover from listening to podcasts, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed. Instead, stick to one or two challenges that closely align with your business goals. If you come across an episode with an intriguing exercise, add it to a running to-do list so that you can go back to it when you have more time.