Starting a business is tough, but exciting and fulfilling at the same time. After researching and working on numerous business plan drafts, you can finally unveil your brainchild and create your identity in the market. When all of that is over, it can feel like you’ve reached the top, and there’s no more for you to learn.
But you couldn’t be any more wrong. An entrepreneur should never stop learning, even after reaching their goals. Famous CEOs themselves continued consulting their mentors, despite everything they’ve achieved. Bill Gates, for one, names his best friend Warren Buffet as his mentor, and Buffet is also mentored by Gates.
While mentors are essential, it’s understandable that not all entrepreneurs have them, especially those who built their brands from the ground up. Those entrepreneurs probably had no one believe them when they expressed their business idea. It’s a common situation for people who dream of running their own businesses. Because they’re not “getting real jobs” instead, their peers tend to scowl at their aspirations.
As such, those entrepreneurs worked their way to the top alone. But just because such a thing is possible means foregoing learning is acceptable. Great entrepreneurs stay eager to learn, no matter how much they’ve accomplished already.
Below are the reasons you should also keep on learning after starting your business:
1. Most Small Business Owners Wish They Had a Mentor
According to research by Kabbage, Inc., 89% of small business owners without a mentor wish that they had one. This shows that the entrepreneurial community needs to connect with competent mentors who can give them solid advice during the early stages of their businesses. Fortunately, entrepreneurs who weren’t mentored are intending to help the next generation. The research found that 61% of current small business owners mentor others, while 58% specifically mentor younger entrepreneurs.
Mentors don’t make you dependent or spoon-fed. Rather, they act as your navigators, expanding your viewpoint so that you wouldn’t rely only on your own, which can be limited. Mentors also provide unbiased views. They may contradict you, but that will make you grow. It’s sometimes easy to forget that you should see your business and its problems with a fresh, unbiased perspective, instead of letting your personal emotions or opinions influence your judgment.
Mentors also remind you to stay grounded. Many young entrepreneurs are so eager to chuck out tradition, when in fact, you need to balance old experiences and new thought processes. Old school doesn’t necessarily mean outdated. They can be tried-and-true and therefore less risky. Thus, with a mentor who keeps you grounded, your business may be less likely to fail within the first five years.
2. New Entrepreneurs May be Prone to Making Marketing Mistakes
For many new entrepreneurs, marketing is the most exciting part of the business. However, it’s also the department they tend to be the weakest at. At first glance, combining all trendy marketing strategies seem like a good idea. It can spread the word about your business in many ways. But executing every marketing approach there is without a plan may do more harm than good, especially with your time and money.
Skipping the marketing plan is like looking for a specific item while wearing a blindfold. It’s not going to get you anywhere. Thankfully, experienced marketing coaches are there to help new entrepreneurs. They’re different from mentors and consultants, though they also act as a teacher. Their approach, however, is to discuss your business style and work from it. They’ll help you develop a suitable marketing strategy for the exact style of your business. They may also train your marketing team or managers to coach them on how to execute the strategy.
Marketing mistakes are avoidable. But not knowing that their mistakes may thwart your judgment. Hence, it’s safer to work with marketing coaches than to risk your investments and time.
3. Successful Entrepreneurs Stay Curious
In many entrepreneurship circles, the advice “Stick to what you know” is widely believed and strictly followed. But Michael Alden, author and CEO of CloiXonné, has come to believe the opposite. Sticking to what you know closes off your mind. Whereas doing the opposite will open up your mind to new ideas and let you embrace novelty. It can even allow you to create opportunities for yourself. It widens your perspective, which mentors want you to do.
So even if you feel like you’ve reached the top, stay humble, and take time to learn about new ideas or even new businesses. If you have to unlearn most of what you already know or practice, so be it. It can be daunting to let go of what you’ve been accustomed to, but if it’s narrowing down your perspective and clouding your judgment, you’re better off with something new. Keep your mind open, and greater opportunities will always find you.