Podcast EP: 18 Getting An MBA in Entrepreneurship
Your business will be as successful as you the leader are unless your partners are smarter than you in which case they are going to get rid of you.
Quote of the Week:
“The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Doctor Seuss
The Importance of Learning
Why is it that you only know what you knew twenty years ago? Twenty years ago you may have understood your industry, but things change. I am constantly shocked by how little people read. I heard a quote this morning by Warren Buffett’s partner Charles Munger who said that if you are not reading, you are missing the boat. He has never met anyone successful who was not a reader. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading. He truly values the importance of learning.
Why is it that small business owners don’t read? They constantly tell me that they don’t have the time to read. I don’t think that this is true because people will take time for the things that are important to them. We all have twenty-four hours in a day. I bet when they go home they watch too much tv.
Areas of Learning
I encourage you to construct your own MBA in entrepreneurship. Look at areas that would allow you to be better than you are now. As a business owner, there are certain areas that you need to excel in. It would be hard for you to tell me that you are perfect in all of these areas. Over the next year try choosing three of these that you would like to grow in:
Try taking a seminar this year to better understand your industry, changes in your industry or changes that are coming. Find something within your industry that you can learn about so that you can go back to your staff and excite them. People want to work for smart people and people that are growing and learning.
The Sales Process:
Do you oversee the sales within your company? If so, you need a solid understanding of sales because that is a rabbit you need to constantly chase. Years ago we used to think that we sold people, but now we understood that it is more of a consulting approach. It is constantly changing. If your sales are down this may be an area that you need to make a priority this year. Try reading a few books, going to a sales seminar, or bringing on a sales consultant. You want to have something in place that will improve your sales because sales dictate profit. If I look at a company and they are floundering, clearly they are not making enough of their product or selling enough of their service to make a profit.
Is your advertising working for you? What is your company branding? Try taking a seminar on these topics or sending someone from your company to a seminar.
How an Office System Runs
How to Hire Better Employees
How to Run a More Efficient Business
Areas of Personal Growth
Areas of personal growth include time management, goal setting and people skills. I consider these skills to be more important than business knowledge because it is critical that you grow as a person. I encourage you to read two books in one of these areas over the next year.
Increasing the Knowledge of You Staff
You can’t be an expert in all of the areas I have mentioned. You should pick two or three and drill down on them over the next year. If one of these topics doesn’t interest you, send one of your key staff members to a seminar on it. Invest in the knowledge of your staff. For areas that are weaknesses, I don’t believe that you can have a weakness and turn it into a strength. I typically believe that you take a weakness and at best you become average at it. Average is not good enough if you are the owner. You should take an area that you have a passion for or an understanding of and get better at that. In other words, take a skill that you have from a level seven to a level nine.
Returning to our opening quote, if your partners are smarter than you, they will realize that they don’t need you and are going to get rid of you. You want to make sure that you are a valuable commodity within the business. You don’t want to be a person that they can effortlessly replace. As business owners and entrepreneurs we want to be more effective within our business model whether that is advertising, sales, human resources, etc. Simply put, we want to be smarter next year than we are this year. I encourage you to grow your knowledge, your professional level and your industry.
Resources for Growth
Read it for me is a website that takes a book, reads it for me, and narrows it down to twelve pages. Every single day I receive a book or seminar that I can learn from. Audible.com is another great resource. Try finding a podcast you can listen to each week, read two books every month and find a seminar to attend. Don’t just grow yourself but your staff as well. Regarding personal growth, I would recommend Franklin Covey for learning time management skills. For goal setting and achievement, try Brian Tracy’s content. Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great resource for learning people skills.