No matter the size of your business, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. Meetings, phone calls, email, strategy sessions, recruiting & hiring, you name it… your to-do list is too long and the day is too short. And, savvy entrepreneurs know that to truly grow, you have to continually learn. The question is, with everything already on your plate, where do you find the time?
My one word answer? Podcasts.
Even when my now 70+ employee company was a kitchen table operation, I was leveraging my time by consuming business tips and broadening my horizons by listening to podcasts.
What makes these widely-distributed chunks of content so desirable to small business owners?
It’s pretty simple.
First, podcasts are FREE. In a time when most worthwhile business books or courses will set you back a few to several hundred dollars… having usable, applicable, and free content at your fingertips can make a world of difference.
Second, you can multi-task while listening to a favorite podcast. Readily available through your smartphone, podcasts allow you to take in information while driving, working out, taking a walk, or commuting on public transport. Video marketing is great, but it requires visual attention whereas podcasts only demand your listening skills.
Third, podcasts are available on demand. You can listen to them on your schedule, when it’s convenient for you. Past episodes are also available long after they’ve been released – sometimes years after the fact.
So, what are some of my favorite podcasts?
Well, it’s hard for me to choose just one, so here are several podcasts I listen to regularly:
Masters of Scale: This podcast is hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn. Hoffman won the 2018 Voice Webby Award for best business podcast, and has a 50/50 gender split in the guests he interviews – which means women blazing a trail in the entrepreneurial universe can share their sage wisdom as much as their male counterparts.
Self Made Man: A podcast that offers a whole host of topics for self-improvement (and for anyone, not just for men). You’ll find classes on everything from entrepreneurship, to positive parenting, wealth building, self-help, and creating a healthy lifestyle. I like this one because it reminds me that running a successful business is related to running a successful life – in all its aspects.
Harvard Business Review Idea Cast: Hosted by Sarah Green Carmichael, Executive Editor at HBR, this podcast is one I always prioritize because I have a soft spot for my alma mater, and the topics are top-notch and vary widely. Some recent episodes include subjects such as: “Understanding Digital Strategy,” “Managing Someone Who’s Too Collaborative,” and “Designing AI to Make Decisions.” Fascinating, invigorating, and never dull – the same standards Harvard embodies as a university are carried forward with this unique podcast as well.
How I Built This: What’s that famous line from a great baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” – “If you build it, they will come.” Every company has a story of how it came to be. Some are compelling, some are more sedate, but all have something we can learn from and apply to our own enterprises. Hosted by Guy Raz, this broadcast covers the entrepreneurs shaping the marketplace, and the greater world around us.
Corner Office: You could call this the “C-Suite Level Podcast” because it always seems to feature some of the world’s top CEOs who go into painstaking detail of the risks they take, why they take them, and how they pay off (or perhaps don’t). Truly a podcast not to be missed – it’s like being in the boardroom listening to corporate movers and shakers giving you their best advice to prosper in an unpredictable world.
There are so many podcasts to choose from out there – hopefully, this list gives you a head start. Whichever one you decide to make a habit out of, know that you’re intelligently leveraging the time you have to spare (as little as that may be) to grow and learn beyond your present depth.
Because as any entrepreneur will confirm, you’ll never reach the stars by staying safely in your comfort zone.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville, TN.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a business professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your business.
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