All successful business owners have been through a learning curve to get to where they are now and you are no different.
However far along your journey you are, whether at the start or already en-route, there are many learning sources available to you if you know where to look and if you are prepared to go out there and ask for the information you need.
Who you can learn from
Depending on what you want to know the sources are endless.
- Role Models: Find a number of potential role models, people who are currently doing exactly what you want to do and doing it well. Model yourself on the best!
- Real Life Experience: Read books about the ‘real story’ behind businesses that have achieved phenomenal success in the marketplace. Most you will find started from humble beginnings.
- Entrepreneurs: Do you know any entrepreneurs? They make their ideas happen. Most entrepreneurs you will find had a number of failed experiences before their big break took place.
- Marketers and Specialists: What about successful marketers who will also have plenty to share? These are specialists in the particular area of expertise that you know you need to make your business a success.
- Other Business Owners: Somewhere in the country there will be other businesses just like yours which are successful. They may be willing to share their secrets with you as long as they see that you are not a competitor. Many people like to help.
- The Media: There are marketing ideas around you everywhere you go. Notice what has an impact on you. Could you adapt that idea in any way to work for your business?
What you can learn
You need to be clear about what it is that you need to learn before you embark on your quest. Spend some time thinking about the sort of things you’d like to know, for example:
- Successful systems and methods.
- Problems that you might come up against and how others found a way through.
- Powerful marketing ideas.
- Typical mistakes to avoid.
- Suppliers of services you need to make your business a success.
It helps to have a set of questions ready to ask your role models or similar successful and respected business owners. Here’s just a few to get your creative juices flowing …
- Looking back at your success what was the most important thing you did?
- What were the biggest challenges you faced?
- How did you overcome these challenges?
- How did you build a successful marketing system?
- What is most important to set up initially?
- What works best for you?
- Looking back, knowing what you know now, what would you pay most attention to?
Why learning from others is important
Why reinvent the wheel?
If what you want to do is currently being done successfully somewhere then it can save you enormous amounts of time, energy and resources if you can find out where and learn from the person who did it. It can take a long time to work it out for yourself. There is so much information available and so many ideas that you can benefit from that you do not need to feel alone with the thoughts in your own head and a blank piece of paper.
One thing to remember is that it’s ok not to know all the answers. An open inquisitive mind is the best place to start from. It is useful to have a structure to your quest. Know what you want to find out and put a plan together of what you will do with the information as you get it.
A couple of words of warning
Firstly, be careful to choose the right sources and people to speak to. Some people may put you off with too many negative experiences so you need to be selective about what you take on board and what you let go.
Secondly, the key words here are learn and model – not copy! Discover and understand what worked for others, take inspiration and tailor that to your business but never, ever copy. Just don’t do it!
Until next time, remember …
Think role model and learn from what already works!