The importance of ongoing learning
Our most successful business owners are those who educate themselves in how to run a great business.
Although he may not have been first to make this observation, Chairman and Founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars frequently maintains that,
“The only place earning comes before learning… is in the dictionary.”
We all know that but how many of us actually really consider that principle when setting to work in our business each day? Isn’t it interesting that although we think we know something, we don’t act on it?
I like to share with business owners the psychological fact that when we say “I know”, we shut our minds down to learning new things. It’s only by keeping an open mind and really listening or observing, or reading, that we get those Eureka moments, when the light bulb flashes on, what we in my coaching practice call a “BFO” or a Blinding Flash of the Obvious.
BFOs are the flashes of understanding or inspiration that can come to us when our minds are open to new learning. These BFOs might be only tiny but can make a huge difference in our business.
It could be, for example, that you read a book on sales training years and years ago – “yeah! Read that. Know all that stuff” – but someone persuades you to re-read it with a more open mind. And suddenly, among all the pages, you realise the reason you haven’t been able to close the deal to your dream clients is because you give up the first time they say no.
(By the way, my recommended book for sales training is “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes.)
Why learn new things?
People go into business for different reasons but I’ve found that many do it, either because they’ve been made redundant or because they thought they could do a better job of it than the idiot they used to work for. But many don’t do the essential learning about how to build a business. They go into business as a technician – someone who’s probably brilliant at what they do (baking bread, fixing cars, cooking etc) but not an entrepreneur.
When you start up your business, get learning!
There’s so much more you need than just your particular skill, and that probably requires a high level of learning in itself. You need to know money mastery – how to manage your cashflow, what your breakeven needs to be, setting a budget and reporting against it, knowing your numbers so you know the amount of sales and marketing activity required to hit your targets. What are your targets?
You need to make the most effective use of your time – we all have the same 24 hours: what do you do with yours? How to keep your customers coming back for more, managing your margins, great sales and marketing (the best way to write an advertisement; who is your target market?), putting in systems, recruiting the best team for your business and then training, motivating and leading them … The list goes on. No wonder that so many businesses fail in the first 2 years.
Tips on your learning
Read, read, read. Take time to learn about each of the strategies you plan to implement in your business. If you want to use Facebook for marketing, take some time to find out how to use Facebook for maximum effectiveness. If you want to try out newspaper advertising, learn how to write one and then test it out in an inexpensive publication before splashing out a ton of money.
Learn from mistakes. We all make mistakes. The most famous entrepreneurs have all made mistakes. The trick is to learn from them and move on without repeating the same mistake. Albert Einstein said. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Attend educational workshops and seminars for business owners – make lots of notes, ask lots of questions, listen carefully and expect some amazing BFOs!
If I have touched a nerve today and you’re eager to learn more about the fundamental strategies that will help your business grow, please join my next event or get in touch and I will be pleased to help.
Above all, have fun with your learning and make sure you apply your BFOs into your business.