Owning and operating a business presents amazing opportunities, but if you’re going to fully realise them, improving your business knowledge should be an ongoing process.
Do you work ‘on’ or ‘in’ your business?
Owning and operating your own business involves so much more than simply selling your goods or services.
In addition to working ‘in’ your business in this way, there’s an almost constant need to work ‘on’ it, too. This exists at every stage of the business life cycle and is as fundamental at the start-up phase as it is during the growth phase.
As a soloist, time tends to work against you when it comes to working ‘on’ your business. But another issue that can affect your capacity to do so is having limited general business knowledge and skill.
I’m not suggesting that you need to be an expert in all aspects of business; however having a working knowledge of business principles that extends beyond your own area of expertise is invaluable.
Expand your business knowledge
Anyone can develop general business knowledge and skill, and it can be as easy as knowing where to find relevant and good quality information.
Flying Solo, for instance, is a great place to start, with its forums and range of informative articles. A wealth of good quality information can also be sourced from State government business websites, such as that of Business Victoria, or from websites operated by not-for-profits like Business Enterprise Centres Australia.
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Consider doing a course
If you’re seeking to develop business knowledge and skill in a more structured way, there are dozens of courses to choose from, many of which would seem to do the job nicely and cover subjects like basic bookkeeping and accounting, marketing, analysing customer trends, budgeting, and business planning.
How useful would it be to your business if you had just a little more knowledge about each of these areas?
Using your knowledge to engage with experts
Improving your general business knowledge will undoubtedly assist you to run your business and make decisions on a day-to-day basis. But it will also enable you to engage with your professional advisers on a whole new level, and to get the best out of them.
Real engagement with a professional adviser often involves a discussion about the relevant issues, with you, the client, being a contributor of relevant knowledge, ideas, and the insight and understanding about your business that only you possess. This results in a far more valuable outcome for your business than a session in which you are relying on your advisor to tell you what to do.
Importantly, basic business knowledge will enable you to assess the professional advice you receive, and to question it if necessary.
It’s often assumed that all small business owners are knowledgeable, capable and well-informed people. All things considered, I think that assumption is probably a fair one. But that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. Take every opportunity to acquire and improve your business knowledge and skill, because doing so can only enhance the future of your business.
Do you know what you don’t know? What gaps are you aware of in your own business knowledge?