Back to school

School is back in full force again. I have to be honest. There are some days when I miss grade school, high school and yes, even college. Life was so much easier then.

We were given one task, and that task was simply to learn, so that we’d graduate onto the next grade or milestone, which could be a diploma or degree.

What was the big reward after we finished all of that schooling? Remember? We couldn’t wait to get out into the “Real World” and leave school behind forever. Well, now that we have all been in the “Real World” for some time, what have we learned?

I could probably write a book with everything I’ve learned throughout the years, but one thing is very clear. Education doesn’t stop with formal school.

Sure, you don’t have to worry about getting all your school supplies, or being assigned to the meanest teacher on campus. You don’t even HAVE to continue to learn more if you choose. However, what suffers if you don’t? You and your businesses do.

No such thing as luck

You might have heard the buzz about a recent acceptance speech that the Hollywood actor, Ashton Kutcher delivered at the Teen Choice Awards on August 11. I admit, I didn’t catch the program, but saw the video being passed around on social media quite a few times.

Mr. Kutcher makes a very strong statement to the crowd, “Opportunity looks an awful lot like hard work.” He couldn’t be more right. More often than not, new locations just don’t fall into your lap.

Nor do your customers just suddenly start buying more product from you. However, if you are out there learning more about things like consumer snacking trends, or merchandising, or how to gain a new account, then you are taking the steps to create more opportunities for you and your business in the future.

Make time for education

If you haven’t already been doing so, now is the time to start taking advantage of all the great learning opportunities in the industry. Partner with your manufacturer representative, your distributor, a consultant to the industry or NAMA. Read your industry newsletters, reports, magazines, attend trade shows or get active with your state association, sign up for learning events either in person or online.

Make a commitment to yourself and to your business to read at least one item a day that can help you run your business better.

I know we are all very busy with our day-to-day activities and sometimes our budgets don’t allow us to spend money to travel or pay the fees to attend, but you still need to find a way to make the time to continue learning.

There are plenty of resources available to you at no cost as well that you can take advantage of. Again, as Mr. Kutcher said, “Opportunity looks an awful lot like hard work” and it is.

It’s work that will separate you from those that left school a long time ago and continue to skip out on their education.