As I think back over my years involved in small business, I can distinctly remember times where I learned a key piece of information that opened up whole new areas of possibility to me. When I was in sales, I struggled with the cold calling dynamic. But then I discovered that dropping of a binder full of information made the process much easier, and helped me to get in to more meetings. This opened up a great number of sales to me, but also helped to shape a new thought process around selling. Today, I fully understand the value of giving great information before asking for the sale.
The same thing happened again, this time in accounting. I was running the books for my family business, but the numbers didn’t really mean anything. Then, one day, someone showed me how to use Quickbooks to better organize the information. Before long, I was able to track numbers by new or repeat sale, what type of sale, and what region and county the sale took place in. It just took someone showing me how.
The Knowledge is There
My view on running a business is that the knowledge to do it well is out there. It is your job as a small business owner to go out and find the pieces necessary to make your business a success. It is like when you put together a puzzle. You start with the framework, which is the easiest part. Just look for the straight edges. Getting started in business isn’t that difficult, you just pull together the pieces you already have.
As you continue to run your business, you continue to put the puzzle together. What I find is that it can take a lot of time to uncover one key piece, but that when you do several more pieces often follow easily. It is also usually a good idea to focus on one area at a time, all the pieces of a certain color, so to speak.
A Challenging Game
A puzzle is a game. It is designed to be challenging, but solvable. Business has often been referred to as a game as well, though the stakes are much greater. The good thing is that all of the pieces are there for you to make your business successful. In other words, running a business is a challenging but solvable game.
The Right Pieces
The pieces for your business come in two forms, knowledge and people. Getting a key piece of knowledge or bringing in the right person can move your business closer to success. Your job as owner is to always be seeking. I can’t stress the importance of education as it pertains to your business. Read as many books as you can. Read blogs (you are already doing that!). Go to conferences, get training. You don’t know everything there is to know about running your business, and that’s a fact. But the information is out there, just waiting for you to find it.
When you don’t have the time or the expertise, you need to hire someone who can help. I watched a great video recently with Mike Michalowicz, and he mentioned the importance of hiring. Getting the right people in place will open up your business to greater success. If you think of your business as a puzzle, you will figure out that the person you hire should make it possible for more pieces to fit into place easily. If your hire only fills a hole, but doesn’t help your business expand, you have made a bad hire.
Get working on your puzzle. What areas have you yet to unlock in your business? The answers are out there.