Why Listen To PodCasts?

Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular way for busy people to inform, educate and entertain themselves. It’s getting even easier to access them as well; whether you’re listening via your smartphone, music player or on the web, there’s certain to be a subject that interests you.

The business community is well served by podcasts: entrepreneurs and business owners are always happy to share their ideas, experiences and advice. From respected leaders of international businesses through innovative designers and visionaries to the small business owner working from home, many people have valuable knowledge to share.

Because we’ve all got different areas of interest in business, I have chosen a selection of podcasts that approach things in very different ways, from thought-leaders, through academia, harnessing creativity and creating practical solutions.

What can you learn from business podcasts?
Podcasts are a great way for small business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs to find out more about various aspects of business including:

  • Challenges that others have faced and how they overcame them
  • Innovation, product development, design, testing and going to market
  • Branding, marketing and creating the right image for your business and products
  • How to put together a business strategy, what works and what doesn’t
  • Inspiring business stories about success, and failure
  • Understanding your customers and how to serve them
  • How to talk to business angels and venture capitalists to get funding
  • Where business as a whole is going and thought leadership

The advantages of podcasts over other media
One of the best things about podcasts is that you can listen to them and absorb knowledge while doing something else. Because you can download them and listen when it’s convenient to you, they will seamlessly fit in around your daily schedule; you might listen to podcasts when you’re:

  • Out driving
  • On your way to a meeting
  • Out taking a walk
  • At the gym
  • Doing some admin work
  • Looking for a distraction

Of course, you can also listen to them actively and take notes, but if you’re finding there’s not enough time in the day to do everything (very common for small business owners!) then a podcast can be the ideal way to take in some new ideas.

How can you subscribe to or listen to a podcast?
You have a few options when it comes to listening to podcasts.

  • You can listen online via the podcast website (linked in the headings below)
  • You can ‘subscribe’ to a podcast and download it using software on your computer (e.g. iTunes or Juice)
  • Once you’ve downloaded it, you can transfer the podcast to an MP3 player or smartphone to listen to at your convenience
  • You can also download apps directly onto your smartphone that will download podcasts automatically for you (I use Pocketcast)
  • Here’s a handy guide from Wikihow

Here’s a selection of some of the best business podcasts out there.

Harvard Business Review – IdeaCast
Features interviews with luminaries and entrepreneurs across the world of business including Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Tim Sullivan (HBR Press), Nate Silver (538 blog) and more. Topics include: Organizational change, leadership, productivity, social media, innovative thought and more. The website also includes transcripts of each episode.

HBR is a great podcast for understanding the bigger picture for business. It tackles global topics and how organizations, large and small, can meet them in an insightful and analytical way.

From Scratch Podcast
A great podcast from NPR, Jessica Harris interviews entrepreneurs and other business people about a variety of off-the-wall areas. She speaks with fascinating people including the founders of Children’s Television Workshop, Kickstarter, Partners in Health, PayPal and more. Lots of relevant discussion on how they started, the issues they overcame and where their businesses are today and will be in the future.

As with most NPR shows, ‘From Scratch’ has excellent production values and interviews that get to the center of what matters in business.

Startup Nation
Real world business advice for people that want to start a small business. They have a large number of podcasts and videos covering every aspect of the practicalities of running a business including business financing, planning, models and technology, home business, inventing, running a business and more.

The ‘Startup Nation’ podcast is both pragmatic and inspiring, showing how other entrepreneurs have gone from tiny startups to established, successful businesses. Highly recommended.

Stanford’s Entrepreneurs Corner Podcasts
A large variety of podcasts from business thought leaders on subjects like disruptive innovation, personal charisma, embracing uncertainty and building a career. Features speakers from leading businesses like Dropbox, Harper Collins, Spotify, The Gates Foundation and more.

Like the HBR above, Stanford’s podcasts focus strongly on thought-leadership and the bigger issues facing the world of business and manage to attract some very high-profile interviewees.

Duct Tape Marketing Podcast
One of the best resources for marketing produces an excellent, down-to-earth marketing podcast. Everything you could possibly want to know about marketing is here including content marketing, ROI, advertising, email, websites, consulting and much more. Includes podcasts from innovators like Seth Godin and Ryan Holliday.

The ‘Duct Tape Marketing’ podcast is humorous, practical and full of great content.

The Struggling Entrepreneur
Of course, many of us are struggling entrepreneurs, which means that this podcast will speak to you directly! Although the website might give you a bit of a headache, there’s a wealth of great information in the podcasts themselves. They cover many of the practical issues and challenges of running a business, including how to get great marketing, professionalism, the pitfalls of business, difficulties in financing, strategy and more.

There’s also a great description of exactly what each program contains, together with links to more resources on their website.

Work Talk Show
The ‘Work Talk Show’ is all about how work actually gets done. On their beautifully designed site they have podcasts about work/life balance, the importance of structure in business, productivity and how it can help, balance, building relationships and making work fun.

With a very diverse mixture of ideas and approaches, this podcast is irreverent and entertaining and features some extremely smart people sharing their views.

Creative Living with Jamie
An inspiring podcast targeted squarely at creative people, their muses and self-expression. The show focuses mainly on harnessing and bringing creative energies to life with interesting strategies and approaches for finding your motivation and producing authentic, engaging work.

This podcast is less about the ‘how’ of business and more about the creative process and is perfect for business-minded artists, musicians and other creators.

In closing
Podcasts are one of the best ways that we have of really understanding what other experienced, knowledgeable and successful business people are doing. Short of being able to speak with them yourselves, podcasts are a great way for us as small business owners and freelancers to take some of these ideas and apply them to create success in our own ventures.

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