Having a business means you are constantly learning new skills, ideas and processes and if you try to reinvent the wheel each time you will be left behind in the competitive market place.
Where ever you are going with your business someone else has been somewhere similar before you – whether it’s administration, marketing, designing, planning – so leverage off their experience and skills and learn from them. It saves time and money, two key resources that are precious to all businesses.
When you’re designing something from scratch the time and money that goes into outlining the idea, designing it, creating a plan, building and then testing it, only to be followed by fixing it can be very expensive. But when you learn from those who have gone before how they did it, the mistakes they made and the solutions they found to obstacles you can save thousands of dollars and all with a relatively small investment of time.
Learning from Others
What I love learning from others are the different perspectives we each have and the wisdom gained from years of experience. We’ve each invested a great deal of time, money and effort into learning what we’re good at so it only makes sense to leverage this investment.
With the right attitude and approach learning from others can bring you rich and often unexpected rewards.
Ways to learn from others
Each industry has it’s thought leaders and experts who are perfect to learn from. Here are 7 ways to learn from the experts:
- develop a list of experts you want to learn from and follow them online and attend their events offline.
- if you can’t get to their events find ways to tap into what’s happening through podcasts, Twitter conversations and webinars
- read their articles online, especially the how to pieces and take the time to note down your own ways of implementing their recommendations
- follow them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc and favourite the posts that have the most relevance to you for later use
- make use of Twitter Lists to stream the posts so you cut down on the noise of others in your follow list
- subscribe to their RSS feeds for the latest blog stories
- ask the experts your questions directly online as well as at their seminars and events. This is a great way to get specific, informed and valuable answers. Be prepared for their events with questions written out beforehand.
We all learn differently, some are readers, other’s more visual while listening to podcasts during the daily commute can suit some perfectly. So find the combination that best meets your learning patterns and make it a habit to get the most from it.
What to expect when learning from others
I hope to find my own nuggets of gold when I’m learning from others. I know what I get from one seminar presentation will be different to what Jane sitting next to me will get but that’s simply because we are coming from two different perspectives and experiences, but I do go eager to get at least one little treasure that I can turn into gold.
This has been a valuable lesson for me, I initially expected a great big treasure chest of information to be laid at my feet ready for me to instantly convert into financial success but that was rather naive and somewhat immature of me to expect that. It didn’t happen during my university lectures so why would happen anywhere else? Because the truth of the matter is that it all comes down to how ready we are to make the information we’re being given into our own personal knowledge and wisdom, to make it valuable for ourselves.
So I expect to be able to learn, to gather, a nugget of gold from any of the articles, books, seminars, workshops and podcasts I invest my time in. It may be a different nugget of gold than I expected but the trick is being open to discovering it. If I don’t go hunting for my gold I just won’t find it.
While you may expect to learn the a lot from reading an article or attending a seminar you might find that it’s the comments or networking opportunities that bring the most rewarding results for your business. So always be ready to get involved with blog comments or taking your business card to an event and talking with others.
Levering your learning
Taking time out to put into practice what you’re learning is crucial for leveraging the time and money you’re investing.
I make it a habit that after a seminar I spend time implementing what I’ve learnt and incorporating it into my business – whether that’s including it in my marketing strategy and plans or following up with networking emails. It’s no use to me to go ‘oh that’s a great idea’ and then get caught up in the normal busy schedule of daily life and do nothing about it.
A useful way to leverage the learning from seminars is to attend them with like minded friends, clients, business associates and follow up with a lunch to talk over ideas and your own personal nuggets of gold and how you can implement them in your business. As a business owner it can be very isolating at times and sharing the learning experience with a like minded entrepreneur can have many benefits, including building relationships, networking, learning and enjoyment.
So don’t get left behind trying to reinvent the wheel all by yourself. Get out there and learn how others have improved the wheel and created a high performance device that is ready to be slotted into your business.
What about you?
Who have you been learning from lately that’s made a difference to your business? What have you learnt from someone else that has saved you time and/or money? How do you implement what you’ve learnt into your business?
Looking forward to hearing your stories.