Most business people pay lip service to education and training. If you are a business man and know your business well you still need to learn about money. You need to be updated about HR. What about logistics? – really the works.

Ask a group of business people if they’d be willing to attend a seminar on learning business finance and personal finance at least half of the people in the room say yes. Give them a specific date and time, and only a handful will actually sign up! And surely I have found that it is not about price.

I have done finance seminars priced from Rs. 30000 per person per day down to ZERO – and found the response pretty similar!

It used to surprise me when I heard that 50% of all businesses fail in their first three years. Now that I teach finance – personal and business, I am surprised that the rate is so low! Many people have no clue as to why they are earning, what will they do with money, how to save / invest or ….! Many business men have very poor grip on marginal costing, budgeting, opportunity costs, break even, pricing, – too much of it is “intutive” – and that hurts.

Most successful professionals embrace a “culture of learning.” This is especially true during difficult financial times.

Personal and professional self-development is a journey which has to be enjoyed —not a destination which can be reached. The most amazing learning person I have met is Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Kanchi. When a journalist asked him “how can you call yourself a Jagadguru when all you do is lead a small bunch of people in South India, he said “You interpret Jagad(world) guru(teacher) differently from me. You think I am the guru of the world, my interpretation is “the Jagad(world) is my guru”.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.”

With that in mind, here’s an action item for this week. Look at your financials (e.g. cheque book, credit card statements) for the last year. Have you spent anything on some type of on-going business education? Worse still is all your financials well organized.

If you aren’t “emptying some of your purse into your head,” take a few minutes to think about what you want to learn to help you build your business—and sign up for something this week! Don’t put it off any longer.

If you want to earn more, you need to learn more!There are a few lines which are very powerful:

Finance is changing, are you learning?

If you think financial literacy is expensive, try financial ignorance!

We make smart people, richer!

I train millionaires and millionaires in training!

Oh, and reading these articles from time to time won’t hurt either.

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  1. You forgot to mention the types for whom, attending a seminar/training is a paid holiday, a journey taken only if someone else is paying for it. I came across an ‘enlightened’ soul once, who said “Oh, you BUY books? Isn’t it easier to simply take out a photocopy?” The same guy was in some training business and had proudly displayed in his office a caption that read “If you think education is costly, try IGNORANCE!”. Although I hate to generalise, this person is from a north Indian community famous for their business-skills.

  2. Aniruddha,

    The gist is ‘my effort is worth a lot, others things I want free’. If 3 idiots cd is available for Rs. 15, I think it is insulting Aamir, but then everybody carries all films on a pen-drive! I know one person who was proudly showing photocopies of a book – ‘saying it is a good book and everybody in my team has a copy..’Mera Bharat Mahan…frankly the cost of not knowing is too high, but they do not know it.

  3. The instance about Paramacharya’s interpretation of Jagad Guru is moving. It would be appropriate to quote Charlie Munger here citing learning as the key reason for Buffett’s success.

    “Buffett is one of the smartest people I know. Buffett has been extremely interested in investing since he was 10. There is no substitute for having a very intense interest in something you’re trying to succeed at; Buffett started very early. When you are in a field like investing, which requires long compounding periods, this is an important factor; Warren Buffett is one of the best learning machines on Earth.

    Extremely high-IQ people don’t need to keep learning throughout life (they can coast), but people with less intelligence need to keep learning. Buffett had both – very high intelligence and continuous learning. Buffett’s skills have increased markedly since he turned 65! If he had stopped learning earlier in life, his record would be much less impressive.”

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