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Five Practical Ways To Advance Your Career In 2018 Whether success is measured in terms of wealth, positive impact, or both, the desire to ensure that one is achieving the most possible success is ingrained in every single business person.

By Ademola Adekunbi

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Entrepreneurship is born out of a desire to be successful. Whether that success is measured in terms of wealth, positive impact, or both, the desire to ensure that one is achieving the most possible success is ingrained in every single business person.

Regardless of your specific definition of success, getting to where you want to be is a process that will typically span many years or decades. As with any other process in the business world, achieving success can be sped up or slowed down by the choices you make. Here are a few practical tips that will definitely help your career grow exponentially on your way to the ultimate business success you want.

1. Plan ahead This might sound like it's something everyone already does, but that is certainly not true. Many people visualize their success and imagine themselves taking an early retirement with a fat nest egg saved up, but only a few actually take the time to put the vision into bite-sized steps that'll get them there.

The big picture is good, but you need to break down your goals into SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound) plans of action to help you identify what you'll need to do over the next day, week and month. That way, you can make sure you're on track, adjust where necessary and focus your energy on the most important parts of your masterplan.

2. Network According to this Hubspot study, more job opportunities and partnerships are created through face to face networking than by any other means, which is why even though Steve Jobs piloted immense advances in social media, he always prioritized physical meetings wherever possible. They leave better and longer-lasting impressions than Skype or iMessage and make it much easier to evaluate whether a person is a good fit when it comes to entering partnerships.

Take advantage of this by searching for all the conferences and meetups in your industry, and then decide on which ones to go for based on the value they'll add to your business. In the meantime, join LinkedIn groups related to your industry and make yourself an active and valuable member through your contributions.

3. Get a degree (online) The value of college degrees is a hotly debated matter among entrepreneurs, but one thing is certain, lifelong learning is crucial to staying relevant in this age of rapid innovation.

While it's true that you can even take free courses on platforms like Edx, studies have shown that there is still an implicit recognition and respect for traditional degrees and there's also the benefit of the increased incentive to see them through compared to taking a free course.

Some programs such as SBU's online MBA program even allow you to get dual degrees, combining an MBA and a specialized course like marketing. That means in a year or so, you'd have conveniently gotten the knowledge you need to advance your career, the degrees to impress people in more traditional settings and perhaps most importantly, access to an alumni network that can lead to excellent business opportunities.

4. Read books From Bill Gates to Elon Musk, the vast majority of highly successful people tout reading as one of the most important activities in their lives. You could be reading general literature, business classics or industry journals, but as long as you're reading, it sharpens your mind and makes it easier for you to evaluate and make crucial decisions later on.

Besides, reading books focused on your industry will keep you up-to-date and with the proper context for any decisions you're to make.

The great thing nowadays is that you're not stuck to carrying heavy tomes around since you can use an e-reader or just buy audiobooks from Audible and listen through earphones on your commute or whenever you have downtime at the workplace.

5. Market yourself Personal branding has always been a crucial aspect of success for any entrepreneur. The reputation of a founder or investor usually has significant effects on how people perceive their products or services. With the markets being so fickle, boosting your personal brand is a great way to make sure you're maximizing every possible advantage.

A powerful personal brand will help people find you and bring opportunities right to your doorstep, help you maximize the benefits of networking and ensure that you have no problem getting hired or finding business partners.

Build your brand by optimizing your social media presence, blogging or using more traditional means like authoring a book or public speaking. In time, your efforts will begin to pay for themselves and even bring you massive profits.

Related: The Social Media Handbook: Five Tips For Entrepreneurs Looking To Leverage The Internet

Ademola Adekunbi

CEO, Regal Inks Content Marketing

Ademola Adekunbi is a writer, entrepreneur, and CEO of Regal Inks Content Marketing. He works with companies to boost their search engine positions, and ensure an increase in customer engagement and revenue. 

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