Business Growth Tip: Learn to ask for Assistance!

Business Growth Tips: #43

We have all been there. Sitting with a big decision to be made and we just don’t know whether the choice we are making is the best or right one.

Every day as a Business Strategist I make decisions on behalf of my customers. Many times, it happens that I do not have the necessary info at hand and make decisions “blindly” as some might call it. I often have to ask for assistance as I know that I do not have all the answers to all business problems.

As a Professional I realise that there are people I can trust to assist me, ones that always give me a new angle from which to look at a tough decision.

It is an unfortunate belief, especially with South Africans, that a Business Owner or Entrepreneur should know it all, have it all, be it all and be the greatest business mind of all time, irrespective of whether they operate a take away or a multi-million-rand business. I must say from the onset that this belief annoys me more than anything else in Business.

My opinion is as follows (yes I know I am going against the dictionary definitions with these statements):

1 A world full of experts. In my mind an expert is someone that knows everything about a topic (some “experts” want you to believe that). The ones claiming to be experts, guru’s or specialists only have more experience than the next person in a particular field. It does not mean that they have all answers. There is so much to learn about specific topics that I personally do not think one can ever stop learning and improving, thus no-one can be a real expert.

2 A master has done 10 000 hours. No-one can do 10 000 hours and think they are the leader in a field. I believe that the Business environment develops at such a rapid pace with technology that it does not matter how many hours you spend learning a trade, there is always a competitor who has mastered one particular skill better than you have and they can claim superiority on that skill in the marketplace.

3 Experience is measured by the years of practising a trade. This is the biggest lie anyone can tell you when you start out your own business. I have met people who have been doing the same job for 30 years, who are “masters at their trade”, but do not have the necessary Business knowledge to know that they are making bad decisions. Experience in a trade comes from experiencing different types of challenges and situations and learning solutions or developing thinking abilities to combat those issues, not by repeating the same experience for 30 years in a row.

Are you are struggling to cope with a difficult business decision? Welcome to the club! Seriously, one of the best ways to gain experience quickly or to develop your own knowledge base to handle this tough decision is to ask questions.

Ask friends. Ask family. Ask your mentor. Ask a competitor. Ask a customer. Ask the lady at the checkout counter. Heck, just ask someone, anyone.

The beauty of this approach is that the person you are asking might have a new way of looking at the decision and give you a new perspective on the matter. If you only ask yourself, you will sit with the same answer as before.

The other great thing about asking for assistance is that someone might have already figured out the solution to a tough decision. This means that you do not need to go through the nightmare of having to make a bad decision and then having to correct it. You can learn from other people’s experience.

I have learnt that some of my trusted customers have just as good business advice to give as I do and I leverage that to best of my abilities. I always want to give my customers the best possible advice and what people think Business Strategists are supposed to give.

TOP TIP: If you need help with making decisions, especially the sensitive ones, make use of a decision matrix that has been designed to assist you as much as possible.

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