I cant’ overemphasize the notion that the most successful business owners are the ones that become “students” of small business and especially, their own business model and niche.
What does it mean to be a student of your business?
Some who go into business become so focused on the daily routines and operations, they never take the time to study and learn about doing business in a more efficient and effective manner.
I’ve seen a vicious cycle, a treadmill that catches business owners in a kind of “time warp” or trap.
The owner starts running on the treadmill and can never seem to jump off.
He finds himself running faster and faster to keep his business afloat as he becomes more successful, but he’s never able to slow down, catch up, and he can’t jump off.
Owners in this situation spend too much time working in their business and not enough time working on their business.
There is a difference.
If you’re so busy in operating the business daily routine that you can’t take time to work on your business strategy, model, or approach, then you’re not likely to ever be able to scale and grow your business to new heights.
There are only so many hours in the day and so many things one business owner can do to increase his sales using the same approach.
My suggestion is to step away from your business on a regular basis (preferably every day for a period of time) and study small business.
Learn ways to operate in a more effective manner.
Study the work of business professionals and learn the principles upon which sound and proven businesses are based.
Watch other successful operators and learn from them.
Here are a few suggestions about what to study:
1. Other successful small businesses. Subscribe to focused small business magazines and newspapers (or web sites) that deal with profitable and innovative small business companies and how they operate.
2. Technology and applications that are specific to your niche. Learn about the research, the people, and the companies that are making news in your field.
Learn what ideas and technologies will be important in the future.
3. Trends and consumer preferences. Often the most profitable companies in a niche are the ones that position themselves at the forefront of the industry.
They understand where the industry is headed and they are able to identify which directions their customers want to go.
4. The tools and resources available for business operations. Online businesses are constantly given choices regarding the tools and software at their disposal.
Stay abreast of the latest developments in this area so that you will be well informed about the tools you need to automate and simplify your operation.
If, for example, a new software tool appears that will allow you to simplify or reduce your expense of delivering digital information, you need to be in a position to take advantage of that resource.
5. Ways to be more personally effective as a leader. The solo business owner is often seen as an industry leader or a niche expert by his prospects and clients.
Anything you can do to enhance your ability to be an effective leader will pay you dividends in your business.
I would include personal development tools in this discussion as well.
Time management, handling stress, the techniques of motivation, dealing with unhappy people, and personal fitness (so you can better function on the job) are all topics that you might pursue to fill your own quiver with the arrows (personal traits) of professional and effective business leadership.
6. How to become a better marketer. This idea is really part of number 4 above (the tools of business operation), but I want to single it out as one of the most critical fields of study there is for ANY business owner.
It’s pretty obvious that those who understand and know how to market their products will be the ones who generate the most revenue.
As a solo business owner, there is not a more important subject to try to learn and master.
If you can’t market yourself and your business effectively, you may as well fold up the tent.
You’re in business to sell and create income.
You would do well to become a real student of this part of your business operation.
To your online business success,