Who in Your Network Can Tell You the One Thing you Didn't Think You Needed to Know Today?
It might sound like a trick question at first, but it’s actually one of the simplest lessons you can learn as an entrepreneur: Who in your network can tell you the one thing you didn’t think you needed to know today? The simple truth that the knowledge of others can help you in ways you never knew you needed is one that unlocks a whole world of valuable business expertise. Even better, it’s one that you can start working on today – it’s as easy as asking one simple question.
Navigating difficult times
The business world has never been changing so radically, in such a short time, as with the current pressures and restrictions of Covid-19 across the world. Your business model may need to look completely different today than it did a year ago – and while you might not have had to navigate such a difficult time for business, others have successfully survived and grown through financial crises, huge life changes and more – and an experienced advisor will know how to strategize to weather (and thrive in) unforeseen circumstances.
Plus, if you’ve changed the way your company operates in 2020, for example, to a digital business or a remote working model, even though you haven’t worked that way until recently, there are businesses out there who have been working in that way for a much longer time and have already discovered the best working practices to do so.
You don’t know what you don’t know
Ironically, realising that you don’t know everything is one of the most intelligent things you can do. And just like you don’t know what you don’t know – you don’t know who might help your business. This can be a tricky element of recognising that you don’t know the gaps in your knowledge. But there’s a simple way to get around this. Keep in touch with your professional network, and keep up to date with what your contacts are doing, and at the same time, be sure to let your contacts know your latest professional updates and career highlights – LinkedIn is ideal for this, as well as other social media sites and casual email check ins in lieu of real life networking in current times. However you prefer to do it, stay connected – you never know who could help you unlock a new area of expertise or valuable contact.
Unlock areas of expertise your business never had before
No matter how well you run your business, everyone can’t be an expert in everything. And when you’re navigating a particularly difficult business year, it’s not worth taking risks in those areas. Having access to the business advice of a range of different people with a range of varying expertise in various areas, means you can be confident you always make the best decisions for your business, even when you don’t have as much personal experience in a particular area of expertise – and it means you can concentrate on the areas of business which you do specialise in.
With experience comes wisdom
No one’s experience is exactly the same – even if someone works in the industry or seems to have faced similar challenges, no two people’s backgrounds are identical. And that means that they will have a different life’s worth of events and career behind them, full of valuable lessons you have yet to learn. And that’s without even taking to account other people’s wealth of experience that comes with more years in their career or industry than you. Seek advice from a group of people, and that experience and wisdom that you are opening yourself and your business to multiplies exponentially.
Take a step away to see the big picture
It’s easy to get caught amongst the weeds when you’re concerned with the intricate details and daily tasks of your business all day, every day. But an outside perspective can offer clearer advice rather than getting bogged down in the minutiae of your work, an outside perspective can offer clearer advice on the bigger picture of your business. Plus, it helps that advice from a third party is impartial – allowing you to look at the business from a perspective not clouded by any of the company’s history, or workplace politics. An outside, unconflicted perspective will be based purely on what’s best for the business – and no matter how impartial you try to stay, it’s not possible to be totally unbiased when you are ingrained in your own company culture.
Research and apply
The celebrated Russian playwright Anton Chekhov once said, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” Put simply, the worth of the knowledge you acquire isn’t determined until you apply it – and the value of that knowledge will likely diminish unless you put it into action properly. Getting advice is only half of the work – having access to experts who can put it together as a business plan to put into practice is what will make the knowledge really worth something.
Talk is cheaper than you think
Whether it’s simply reaching out to an old friend or colleague with a question over coffee, or employing the services of a board to aid the business, soliciting independent advice can have value far beyond the initial cost (be it a $4 latte or the surprisingly affordable services of YourBoard). Knowledge can be the most valuable strategic asset to your businesses – and having an independent expertise can make all the difference when it comes to not just your business’s survival through difficult times, but growth… with unlimited potential.
Let others make mistakes so you don’t have to
The famous Canadian businessman, author and star of Emmy award-winning start up show Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary has said, “I have had some great successes and great failures. I think every entrepreneur has. I try to learn from all of them.” Failure can be one of the most influential learning processes an entrepreneur can go through – but to gain the knowledge of failing without actually having to fail? Having advice from an experienced panel of experts will give you all of that knowledge, without any financial losses incurred.