progress Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Want to Earn More? You Need to Learn More…

It used to surprise me when I heard statistics such as this: 50% of all businesses fail in their first three years.  Now that I’ve been in business for several decades and have seen many entrepreneurs come and go, I’m more surprised that 50% of businesses actually make it past the first three years!

Maybe I’m being a tad harsh . . . but not much.  One thing I’ve learned is that most successful entrepreneurs embrace and engage in a culture of learning in order to excel.  Personal and professional self development is an ongoing journey–not a destination.  It’s always a work in progress.  Often, businesspeople get so caught up working “in” their business that they forget to spend time working “on” their business.  Part of working “on” a business is one’s professional development.

Most entrepreneurs only pay lip service to education (okay, maybe not you since you’re actually taking the time to read a blog post about business but I’m talking about the average entrepreneur).  Ask a number of entrepreneurs and businesspeople if they would be willing to attend a seminar on building their business and three quarters of them will say yes.  However, if you proceed to tell them that the seminar is four weeks from tomorrow at 7 p.m., only a handful of those who initially agreed they would go will actually sign up.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.  An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.”

With that in mind, here’s an action item that will help get you started on the path to immersing and engaging in a culture of learning:

Look at your financials (or checkbook, or credit card statements) for the past year.  Have you invested money into any type of ongoing business education?  If you aren’t “emptying some of your purse into your head,” take a few minutes to think about what you want to learn to help you build your business and then sign up for something this week.

Remember, if you want to earn more, you need to learn more (and reading this blog from time to time won’t hurt either)!

Lastly, share with us something that someone once taught you (something from books and seminars are OK) that helped you in some important way.


Do You Know Your Mission?

You may think you know why you’re in business, but perhaps it’s been years since you gave it serious thought. There’s no better time than now to re-examine why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my business mission? — Beyond simply making a living, what are my long-range professional goals? Do I wish to become the standard by which my competitors are judged? Is it my dream to help make the world a better place?
  • Where is my organization going? — Am I achieving my mission? Am I making plans to accomplish it? How can I change policies, procedures or personnel to improve my chances of achieving my mission?
  • What environment is my organization operating in? — What are the social, economic and technological trends that affect the way I do business and my progress toward my goals?
  • What are my core competencies? — What do I like to do? What is it that I do better than my competitors? Is my business mission compatible with my values and aptitudes?

I’ve seen too many business professionals and companies make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. Starting out with the fundamentally sound goal of finding a niche that will make them successful, they go astray by changing direction every time a customer or associate suggests a new product or service. The mission gets lost in a frantic scramble for business before the original idea ever gets a chance to pay off.

So, even if you think you know your mission, it will serve you well to pause periodically, analyze your business and, if necessary, refocus on your mission and philosophy.

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