Learning from others’ experience
At one of the first small business networking events I attended, the group leader gave an excellent presentation in which she explained that no matter what you’re working on, you don’t have to learn everything the hard way. Whether it’s a marketing technique, an administrative procedure, or something specific to the services you offer, someone else has already done it.
One of the reasons I started my own business is that I like to work independently, and I’m sure it’s the same for many of you. However, being independent doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of other people’s experience.
When we learn by trial and error, we often end up delaying our success until we get everything figured out – if we’re lucky. In some cases we make mistakes that actually prevent us from ever achieving our goals – mistakes that could have been avoided if we only hadn’t been too proud, embarrassed, self-absorbed, or [insert the word that describes you here] to consult someone else before proceeding.
Before you say, “but I can’t afford to hire a business coach,” that’s not what I’m talking about (although coaching can be a great investment in your business, especially if you need help in many areas). The world is full of small business owners and someone, somewhere, has already done what you’re trying to accomplish right now, and most people will be more than happy to help you – but first you must ask!
Whom you should ask will depend on the type of information or assistance you need. If it’s specific to your line of work, you may need to consult someone in your industry, but in most cases, you only need to find someone who has gone through the particular issue you’re currently dealing with. Reach out to a member of your professional association or local networking group, or post your question in an online discussion group.
The next time you’re struggling with something, before you waste a lot of your valuable time and energy, remember that someone else has already done it. Ask for the help you need, and you’ll soon be on the road to success!
This post was originally published on From the Desk of Janet Barclay in 2009 and has been updated for Your Organizing Business.
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