with Simplicity Expert, A.Michelle Blakeley
Sometimes the best teachers are those who have failed before and around us. Instead of passing judgement on their failures, it would behoove you to take note and learn from their mistakes. Use their lapse in judgment and errors to your advantage. Some research suggests it’s easier to learn from the mistakes of others because the responsibility for the error is not on you and you don’t have to fear being seen as inadequate or unknowledgeable. It takes confidence to acknowledge your weaknesses and shortfalls. When you take responsibility for your own errors and mistakes, you have a better chance at not repeating them. So, get into the practice of owning up to your own.
Save yourself some time, energy, effort (and sometimes pain) by following your competitors, mentors/advisors and industry leaders closely. Each of them holds a key to you getting further, faster. Although the road less traveled is filled with potholes and bumps, learning from the failure of others provide you with good shock absorbers for a smoother ride.
Lessons from your competitors
Identifying and closely monitoring your competitors, provides you with an edge that most small business owners overlook; i.e. how their actions (or inaction) affect your business, your clients and your market. Read their reviews. What can you do to avoid receiving the same complaints and concerns? Create “Google alerts” for your competitors to keep up with them in the press and on the Internet. Look for comments about them and make note. Don’t repeat their bad habits.
If your competitor goes out of business, depending on your relationship, you could have a candid conversation about why it is necessary for them to close and what could have been done differently. In addition, their previous clients could be surveyed to uncover new business opportunities.
Lessons from mentors and advisors
One of the key reasons for acquiring a mentor or business advisor is to learn from those who have already walked the path you are on. You are reinventing the wheel every time you ignore the path those before you have taken and don’t take into account their struggles, frustrations and failures. Ask a lot of questions. Understand the “why” in the answers. Determine its relevance to your business. Don’t repeat the mistakes and errors of those with more experience, especially when their lessons were hard learned. Glean their wisdom and apply it at the appropriate time. Business mentors and advisors are chock full of lessons they learned along the way. Don’t underestimate or undermine their value.
Lessons from industry leaders
The bigger the profile, the harder the fall. Business errors and lessons come in all sorts of packages. Whether in public or private, entrepreneurs use them as teachable moments. The failures of large corporations can often be scaled down for small business consumption and application. Industry leaders are great teachers of how poor business decisions affect everyday people, harm the environment or can damage a brand. Social capital is often the collateral damage of industry leader mistakes.
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Simplicity expert and Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley helps entrepreneurs align their purpose and principles with their business practices for agile growth. Connect with her on Twitter at @simplicityinc or check out her online magazine, Micro Business Therapy