Advice to Small Business Owners: Learn, Improve, Prepare
Rhonda Abrams in an article on USAToday.com compares Olympic athletes with small business owners – how running a business is like competing in a game. She says that you do not have to be the number one company to run a profitable business, create a product, enjoy your work and provide jobs. She says it is fine to watch your competition but more importantly, you should focus and work on your own strengths. She writes, ” What made a competitor able to win was their willingness to LEARN, to continually improve. They focus on how to maximize their skills and how to prepare to thrive under pressure.” This, she concludes is what makes a successful small business owner.
In real life, in real business, coming in second, third or fourth can still mean you run a successful – even very successful – company.
I was fortunate to go to a summer Olympics, and in person, it was clear that for the athletes, competition was about more than just getting to the podium. The same is true for small businesses – competition is about more than just beating the other guy. In fact, spending too much time focusing on your competition almost certainly leads to your own downfall.
In real life, in real business – especially– that’s not all. Smaller companies typically survive – and thrive – without being number one.
You can make a good living, create needed products or services, provide excellent jobs without making it to the cover of a business magazine. Life is not a “zero sum game,” where only one business is left standing.
Even if you’re the 25th most successful real estate agent in your community, or fifth biggest marketing firm in your industry, you can be making a whole lot of money and have a good time doing it.
What does it take for aowner or entrepreneur to be a champion?
Is it about talent? Or, in business terms, do you have to be good at what you do? Certainly, but talent alone is not sufficient. What made a competitor able to win was their willingness to LEARN, to continually improve. They focus on how to maximize their skills and how to prepare to thrive under pressure.
That’s what we need to do as well. Learn. Improve. Prepare for challenging situations.
Conventional business theory is that a business needs to constantly focus on its competition. Of course you need to keep an eye on competitive threats. But to excel, it’s not about focusing on the competition’s weaknesses, it’s about improving your own strengths. …
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