This month Square Cow Movers owner Wade Lombard was invited to speak at his alma mater Lee University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. If there was one lesson he wanted to impart on the listeners it’s that small business owners have to keep continually learning to keep their business going strong.
The A, B, Cs of Small Business Ownership
Owning and operating a small business means you’ll have to learn a lot if you want to succeed. From taxes (that can change from year to year) to lease agreements to worker’s compensation there is so much more involved than simply selling goods or services.
A moving company, for example, is pretty straightforward, but first you’ve got to get business. That takes understanding how to market your company and create a unique value proposition. In today’s fast-paced, technologically driven world new ways of getting the word out are being developed everyday. It’s one area of business ownership that requires constant learning if you don’t want to fall behind.
Fortunately, the Small Business Administration offers owners a lot of educational tools and resources. It’s a government entity that was developed specifically for providing small businesses with vital support. The SBA can help with every aspect of a business, even securing a loan to get a business off the ground.
Until you become profitable enough to start expanding your team you’ll have to wear a lot of hats. But in the long run this is a big benefit, because you’ll end up learning your business and industry inside and out.
Where to Look for Learning Opportunities
Everywhere you turn, every job you take and every customer you help could end up being a valuable learning experience that could take your business to the next level. Always be on the lookout for learning opportunities in the following places:
Learn from Your Customers
Your customers are the single biggest source of information for what you need to do to succeed. If you are pleasing your customers and putting them first then good things will follow. That means you must listen to what they have to say, carefully consider it and start applying what you learn. Keep active on social media to engage with your customer base, ask clients to fill out surveys and ask for reviews to gain more knowledge from the people you serve.
Learn from Your Team
Your employees are the backbone of your small business. Their input is always valuable, especially if they specialize in something that isn’t your strong suit. It was pointed out on Inc. not long ago that the most successful people “surround themselves with smart and resourceful people.” Having different points of views, perspectives and ideas from team members you trust can make you look at things in a whole new way.
Learn from Your Competitors
To be competitive you’ve got to keep up with your competition. You have to have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry. When a new player enters the game you’ve got to know what they’re bringing to the table. Your competitors can also be a good way of learning what not to do, which is a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way.
Learn from Your Colleagues
Peers have always been a great way of learning and discovering new things. It’s all about mindshare that benefits everyone all around. Join professional and networking groups to meet new people in your industry. Seek out a professional mentor whose achievements you would like to mirror.
Our barn door is always open at Square Cow Movers. If you’d like some advice or have a specific question give us a call and we’ll see if we can shed some light on the subject!