Tag Archive for 'life-long learning'

Small business success through life-long learning

In the second century B.C., the Roman statesman, Cato, began learning Greek at the age of 75. When asked why he was undertaking such a challenging educational enterprise at his advanced age, he replied, “This is the youngest age I have.”

No matter what we do, no matter where we go, owner or employee, and now more than ever before, we must continue to study, train and learn. Everyone in your organization. Everyone. Everyday. Life-long learning.

Are you feeling threatened, maybe even frightened these days with all of the economic challenges, plus the changes brought on by the advent of the information age? Me, too. Sometimes it seems we’re like Alice - running as hard as we can just to stay in one place. And in our Wonderland, everything is changing so fast that what we learned today may be obsolete tomorrow.

The irony is that the thing that is creating so much potential for anxiety is also the thing that can help you stay competitive: Technology. Specifically, the unprecedented wealth of information available on the Internet.

When I feel threatened by all of the new knowledge and capability that’s emerging, I just make a point to learn something new everyday, with emphasis on social media and e-commerce, or how my industry is adapting to the virtual marketplace. Anything. And when I acquire that new understanding or capability, I smile like Alice’s Cheshire Cat because learning makes me feel stronger, as if I’ve gained a little ground in the marketplace. Maybe today I put the heat on a competitor. Advantage: Me.

Give it a try. The only thing better than your garden variety smile is one that comes from knowing that you just got a little smarter. And remember the wisdom of the statesman: This is the youngest age you have.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about this topic with e-learning expert, Anita Rosen, author of “e-Learning 2.0,” and one of our outstanding Brain Trust members. Take a few minutes to listen to what this smart lady had to say. And, of course, be sure to leave a comment.

Avoid the “Small Business Condition” - ask questions

What’s the first thing you learned in school after finding the bathroom and how big the teacher’s paddle is? There are no dumb questions. Right?

Small business owners should print these words and post them on the computer monitor because it’s one of our most dangerous deficiencies. I call it the “Small Business Condition,” and there are at least four reasons why small business owners contract this debilitating affliction:

1. Embarrassment - they think everyone else knows the answer, so they should too.

2. Revealing such a lack of knowledge would make them appear dumb and, therefore, uncompetitive.

3. They don’t know anyone to ask, like a consultant.

4. If they did know someone to ask, like a consultant, they would imagine that they couldn’t afford to hire this person to get the answers.

Left untreated, the “Condition” can be a fatal small business disease.

Perhaps you can tell that the “Condition” has occupied my mind for a long time. I first witnessed it when I had my small business consulting company and decided to devote the rest of my professional career eradicating this affliction. In fact, the business model of my small business radio show and media company allows us to create small business content and electronic delivery systems that can be accessed anonymously, for free and on-demand. The good news is that others have also committed themselves to this cause and, consequently, unlike 15 or 20 years ago, easy access to small business information abounds today.

Recently, I talked about the “Condition” with Brain Trust member, Nora Klaver, management expert and author of Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need. I think you’ll enjoy listening to what we had to say. And, please, leave your comments for us and others.

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