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Hard Knocks Business Academy

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smallbizownerI am the daughter of two blue collar parents… I attended College but it was 20 years before I went back to school… I had regular jobs like anyone else… and then because I was frustrated with being someone’s employee, I created two profitable businesses before I was 30 years old.

I wasn’t blessed with cosmic luck and I didn’t invent a fad gadget.  I also didn’t buy into Multi-level-Marketing schemes, trade Forex, affiliate market or even flip houses.  Instead, I concentrated on learning what I needed to know about business, and focused on creating products and services for niche markets. And I firmly believe this is something anyone can do too.

To help you get the momentum you need to begin learning and to save you from a few of the hardest knocks, there are a few things you need to know.  Consider these lessons the foundation of your new found skill-sets as a self-taught business owner.

Lesson 1 – You don’t even know you don’t know!

Rather than restate what’s already been said so well, I think you’ll have a better understanding of this lesson if you visit Steve Schwartz’s blog and read “No One Knows What the F*** They’re Doing (or “The 3 Types of Knowledge”).”

To help you reduce your knowledge vacuum, read whatever you can lay your hands on.  I know there will be times, early on, when you won’t understand what’s being said, but try to read as many articles as you can.  If nothing else, you’ll have more “stuff you know you don’t know” and less “stuff you don’t know you don’t know” so you can begin conquering concepts.

Lesson 2 – GIYF – Google is your Friend

With the billions of pages of information available on the internet, the answer you need is probably out there – you just need to ask the Great Everlasting Know-it-all to show you.

My tips for effective searches:

  1. Start with anything.  A rough question or even a string of key words will pull results.  Even if you don’t know the technical terms, or how to articulate the concept well, you can still get what you need if you don’t give up too soon.
  2. Check out some of the top ten results even if they aren’t quite what you’re looking for. Off target doesn’t mean that it’s all wrong.  In some cases, you’ll find the proper terms or find a phrase that does a better job of articulating the problem.  If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a link to exactly what you’re looking for.
  3. Search Again and again.  Use the clues you get in step two and keep looking and refining your question until you have satisfactory results.

Lesson 3 – Ask Someone

For efficiency’s sake, if it takes you more than 30 minutes to find an answer or complete a task, ask someone. While you may be a little flexible on how long you’re willing to put into a task, if it’s interfering with your ability to get other things done, you really need to call in the cavalry.

When running your business, you need to put your too-proud-to-ask-for-help attitude in check.  While you may have a deep, cultural aversion to looking like you can’t manage on your own, it’s really much more embarrassing to be the captain of a sinking ship.  If you would like an extended look at this concept from a business management point of view, I highly recommend The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It.  In fact it was one of the first formal business books I ever read.

There is another, very important, consideration in this lesson – Good answers from Smart People Vs. Bad Answers from Dumb People. It might boost your ego to be the smartest person in your social circle, but you really need to consider the source whenever you take someone’s advice.

While family and friends will freely offer their opinion about what you should or should not be doing, it’s just not logical to take advice on what business opportunity might be the most profitable from someone who doesn’t know how to balance a checkbook.

That’s it.

Three lessons might not be all there is to know, but they will certainly help you on the way to becoming a business expert.  Businesses have been coming and going since before we started recording history so I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that regular people, without degrees in business from a formal university can master the concepts too.

Written by kasuro

January 27th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

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