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BusinessTip #43 – Learn To Ask For Assistance

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 have to sit and make decisions on behalf of customers. Many times, it happens that I do not have all the necessary info at hand and I am making decisions where some people might say I am going in blind. Even I have to ask for assistance sometimes and I never despise it.

I realise that I do not have all the answers to business problems, but I do realise that there are people I can trust with assisting me who always give me a new angle to solve a tough decision.

It is an unfortunate belief, especially under South African people, that a business owner or an entrepreneur should know it all, have it all, be it all and be the greatest business mind of all time.

“What nonsense is this!”

This belief is irrespective of whether we operate a takeaway or a multimillion-rand business. I must say from the onset that this belief irritates me more than anything else in business.

My opinion is as follows (and 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 or guru’s or specialists only have more experience than the next person in a particular field. It does not mean that they have all the answers.

There is so much to learn about a specific topic that I do not think you can ever stop by knowing all there is about a subject matter, 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 their respective 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.

So, you are struggling to cope with a difficult business decision? Welcome to the club!

Ok 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 angle at looking at the decision and give you a new perspective on the matter.

If you only ask yourself, you still sit with the same answer as before, your view might only change with external input.

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Recent Comments

  • Hassim says:

    This tip is worth its weight in gold