Never stop learning: This is even more important for a business owner. The rationale is fairly straight forward. Regardless of what you think, what you don’t know about running a business far exceeds what you do know.
Let me explain. When business owners first start out, they do so because they feel they are technically competent or have a degree of expertise in a specific area. That expertise may be in any of the numerous disciplines required to run a business such as sales or marketing or production or design, etc. Having some form of expertise is critical and that expertise is usually the genesis for venturing out on your own in the first place. Unfortunately, many assume that this single expertise is sufficient to allow them to run an enterprise. The reality is many are not skilled business people, just skilled talent — and that just doesn’t cut it.
If money wasn’t a concern, the new business owner should, from the onset, hire people to fill all the roles in their company that they don’t have the skills for, but unfortunately, reality dictates otherwise. That reality is the lack of funds to spend on anything but the basics as you begin your venture, and therefore you are required to fill all the roles to the best of your ability. For most of us, it’s not a hardship, as the enthusiasm of starting your business keeps us motivated long into the nights.
However, after a few years in start-up mode running through the forest at break-neck speed, you should be at the point where you can settle down and relax a little, but again, reality rears its ugly head. You see, just as you think you’ve got a handle on how things work, the rules change. Maybe it’s a new technology that threatens to disrupt your industry. Maybe it’s new legislation that restricts what your employees can do or, God forbid, a new competitor has figured out a way to provide your service more efficiently. The point is, nothing is constant in business. Just think of the impact the Internet had on the world. Client contact changed from face-to-face interaction or via the telephone to now where it’s mostly electronic. Newspapers, where titans once ruled, are now crashing down around us as people source their information online.
So what’s my point? You can’t stand still and assume that things will stay the way they are. As a business owner you need to develop a learning attitude. This isn’t something you can do occasionally, like checking the air in your tires; it needs to be a daily activity, an attitude, a habit. And once it has become something that you just naturally do, only then can you instil that sense of learning into your employees, because at the end of the day, they are the ones that are going to make your dreams come true.
Excerpted from Greg’s upcoming book-Get More Life Out of Your Business©
Copyright © Greg Weatherdon 2013
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