Learning Comes in Many Ways: What Will You Learn Today?

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by Michael Brito

When we as DBE’s & MBE’s consider our businesses and their futures we must also realize that educating ourselves and our staff is the foundation on which we must build success! Learning comes in many forms through many experiences and from many areas of our lives. Do we have a standard of learning? Do we have defined methods by which we learn? Do we ever really think about how we learn? Here’s what I’ve figured out…

From my early days in the heavy & highway construction industry as an employee to my later days as an independent contractor and business owner I’ve always lived by the words of my Dad: “Mike, always be a student!” My dad was born in this country however still had troubling experiences through school as a very darkskinned, Cape Verdean boy coming through the depression, life wasn’t easy. He worked very hard learning through his own mistakes, working in a factory in Bristol, RI then building his construction company along side his Father. His own life showed him the true value a good education offered and how those possessing such were afforded better opportunities. He was driven by his passion and pushed himself to go beyond his peers. Yes, it was a tough time back then when learning came from doing and doing may or may not have been the only option for our minority brothers and sisters.

Things aren’t the same today! Now we must realize that we as minority business owners have far more opportunities and educational portals than ever before. It’s time to push away from generational standards that have held prior companies form realizing their full potential. Being Rhode Island residents and minority & disadvantage business owners we now see a clearer picture for our companies. As entrepreneurs we need to be aware of the wide range of programs now available to us as well as our staff. Select classes, seminars, twilight meetings, webinars, industry sponsored events, materials supplier training, trade shows and much more! We can realize a better tomorrow based upon the decisions we make today.

My Dad was savvy enough to know that times change so what worked for his father and himself wouldn’t necessarily be the right answer for his employees or family so he showed by example that without continued education there is little chance of continued success! Now we may have to work twice as hard to get and stay ahead and we know that finding these opportunities takes perseverance, diligence and commitment. If your business is a member of any specific agency, union or trade association chances are there is some form of training available and it should be on-going. If you don’t belong to any trade or industry association, join one or two today. Reap the benefits of membership and search out all resources!

It is our responsibility as certified DBE’s & MBE’s to provide educational opportunities for our employees thereby providing a better way for us all. This publication is a dedicated tool focused on the small business community, use its resources well, the website is loaded with events, archive articles and various advertisers offering enrichment opportunities. Don’t be fooled by your need to be seen as the know-it-all, seek out men and woman that can be advisors, mentors and leaders on your team. Remember to question everything and always look for better ways to run your business. The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones…it ended because we found a better way! Forever a student!

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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