As an entrepreneur, one of the most important investments you’ll ever make is in your own professional and personal development. Whether your ambition is to open a successful third wave coffee shop in a small town or to become the next Mark Zuckerberg, you will need the skills and knowledge to come up with innovative concepts, as well as be able cultivate relationships that will help you realize your entrepreneurial ambitions.

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Stay connected

Jumping on the bandwagon is generally a bad idea, but being aware of the latest trends is very important. By using a news aggregator like Feedly, you can get a personally curated stream of information on the latest happenings in the business world, geopolitics, technology, medicine and in your particular industry. With a holistic view of the world, you’ll get a better understanding of why chain video stores vanished from the earth with the emergence of new technology, while tablet computing didn’t catch on until the 2010s despite being introduced in the late 1980s. Being able to perceive the largely unseen network of connections that underpins modern society will help you avoid the pratfalls that have taken down many a competent entrepreneur.

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Learn from the greats

If you want to understand how Steve Jobs was able to transform Apple Computer from a plucky startup into a global technology leader, read Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs.” If you want to understand how to instill a profound sense of loyalty in your employees, look into Craig Wilson’s “The Compass and the Nail.” If you want to understand how a hugely successful corporation can experience a staggering reversal of fortune, check out “Losing the Signal” by Jacqueline McNish and Sean Silcoff. And, if you want to get an idea about the emotional and financial realities of running a small business, take in Paul Downs’s “Boss Life.” You can benefit greatly from the lessons imparted in these and other quality books about what it really means to be a founder.

Build up your toolkit

As noted in a Sales Blog post, a good entrepreneur should always strive to build up their business toolkit. When you’re not working, you should be broadening your horizons by learning a foreign language, taking a course in negotiation, learning to code, practicing mirroring techniques, working towards a new fitness goal or expanding your social media imprint.

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This article was written by Mario McKellop for CBS Small Business Pulse.