Stephen Covey called it "sharpening the saw." Lao Tzu called it "mastering yourself." Jim Rohn called it "magnifying your skills."
Whatever you call it, as an entrepreneur you know the value of continuing to learn and grow, and its importance in running a successful company. The challenge is how much time it takes to read and attend classes. That's why podcasts are a blessing for business owners and managers: They let you grow your brain while your body is busy exercising, running errands or doing chores at home.
While there are thousands of podcasts to choose from, here are my top picks for business owners.
If you want success, pay attention to those who have succeeded. DishyMix, hosted by publicity goddess Susan Bratton, helps you do exactly that. Recent guests include Guy Kawasaki, Josh Bernoff and Sir Ken Robinson. Run time hovers around half an hour, including chats with and analysis of movers and shakers.
The Digital Publishing Podcast
We've only recently begun embracing digital publishing as a legitimate means of distribution, so it should be no surprise that the top podcast on the topic only weighs in at 31 episodes as of this writing. Whether your interest is in niche keyword domination, book publication or social media publicity, host Tristan brings a challenging array of information and speculation to the table.
Hosts Aaron Mahnke and Dave Caolo appeal to freelancers because they focus on the needs and challenges of folks working from home. These podcasts can help you better understand the lives of freelancers you hire to help you reach your goals. The life balance and productivity tips can also help, since—like freelancers—small-business owners work for themselves.
Help! My Business Sucks!
Don't let the tongue-in-cheek title fool you. This show featuring guru Andre Lock hits all the details of small-business management. In just one half-hour episode, he might cover keys to unlocking creativity, specific tips for using popular productivity software, a guest interview and a review of a new business education product.
Quick and Dirty Tips
The Quick-and-Dirty Tips network hosts 20 different programs on topics ranging from nutrition to science, all in five minutes or less, and all in high-quality productions by thought leaders. Specific podcasts aimed at business owners and managers include Get-It-Done Guy, Money Girl, The Digital Marketer, Grammar Girl and The Public Speaker. A week's worth of episodes won't fill the average commute, but will boost several of your skills up a notch or two.
The Rise to the Top
Are you a mediapreneur? Even if you've never heard the word before, you probably are. In this podcast, David Siteman Garland helps people interested in growing their personal brands and expertise through a combination of news, reviews and advice. Don't let the slightly over-the-top marketing language put you off. Beneath it runs a stream of pure gold.
The Social Hour
If you're aware of a thing called social media, but for some reason aren't using it yet for your business, this hour-long podcast featuring Sarah Land and Amber MacArthur will ease you painlessly into the social media game. If you're already doing social media, you'll appreciate their cutting-edge news and expert interviews.
Of course, it would be impossible to list every worthwhile business podcast. Readers, what are some of your favorites? Better yet, what are some podcasts not aimed at business owners that you still listen to every week?
Read more articles on productivity.