Our Small Business Management Course gives you all the practical training you need to own and operate a successful small business; we cover things like marketing, valuations and raising capital, and customer service. However, for all the practical information we can teach you, there’s one thing you must try and possess yourself: confidence.
We’ve written about the vital role confidence plays in building a business and the importance of confidence in being an entrepreneur, but this time we’re giving it to you straight from the horse’s mouth: what follows is an interview with Steve Slisar, small business owner, start-up investor and the managing director of EzyLearn — The Australian Small Business Centre’s sister online training provider — about things you can do to build your confidence in business.
Steve started his first training centre on Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 1999 and off the back of its success quickly expanded, opening offices at Gordon on the North Shore and at Parramatta in Sydney’s West.
In 2002, Steve acquired another training centre in Lane Cove, again on Sydney’s North Shore. This business was called EzyLearn and was operated by two stay-a-home mums, who specialised in helping other mums learn vital skills so they could re-enter the workforce.
Online Delivery for the Future
Steve soon brought his existing training centres together under the EzyLearn brand and by 2005 operated a total of five training centres across Sydney. But Steve soon realised that the future of short-course learning was in an online delivery method that allowed students to access the course material and study when it suited them.
“I committed myself to delivering the best online training courses in Australia— if not the Southern Hemisphere,” Steve says. Once he made this commitment to himself — to deliver the best online training courses in the country — Steve says the confidence to take this idea and make it a reality was a natural progression.
But Steve also stresses the importance of preparation: “Don’t just walk into a meeting and hope you can wing it,” he says. The more you prepare; the more research and knowledge you have about a certain topic, the more expert you will appear and that can give you extraordinary confidence. “If you’re not prepared,” Steve says, “A tricky question can completely throw you off-guard. It’s very hard to recover from that.”
“Surround yourself with other successful business owners. Go to networking events, talk to other entrepreneurs, soak up their knowledge.”
— Steve Slisar
Even when you achieve your business goals, however, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left for you to learn. “This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur or a business owner,” Steve cautions. “Every industry is constantly evolving. The bookkeeping industry is in a constant state of flux, for example, and resting on your laurels is a sure-fire way to fail.”
Steve believes that business owners can never learn too much and must never let their thirst for knowledge dry up. This idea is what prompted Steve to ensure that EzyLearn offers its students lifetime membership. “It’s about continually developing your skill,” Steve says. “A business owner can never learn too much, nor should their thirst for knowledge dry up. If you’re always hungry to learn new things your business will benefit from it in the long run.”
The Company You Keep
Taking courses is one thing, but learning from other entrepreneurs is another altogether. “Always surround yourself with other successful business owners,” Steve says. “Go to networking events, talk to other entrepreneurs, soak up their knowledge.”
These are confidence builders Steve employs daily and these have helped him grow his businesses from strength-to-strength, even during periods of uncertainty and in the face of major upheavals in the learning industry. “Confidence is an absolutely vital characteristic of any successful business person,” he says.
If you have recently completed our Small Business Management course and you’re ready to take the plunge and start your own business, keep Steve’s confidence-building techniques in mind, and remember that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.