When you start a business you’re fully aware (or should be) of the roller coaster ride you’re about to embark on. Although the goal is to be successful, in your journey to building a business, a lot of the time will be filled with wins and losses. There will be mistakes made along the way that set you back, and effective decisions that catapult your business into a new level of success. Though this comes with the territory of owning a business, you can minimize the complexities of the challenges before you by learning from the wins and losses of those before you.
Why Look at Others?
No matter what kind of business you’ve started, you’re not the first to do it. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals before you who have started businesses of the same kind. Looking to others, whether through case studies and latest news, or by reaching out and asking for advice provides you with knowledge you may not have otherwise been privy to. Knowledge that you could have only learned if you had gone through it yourself.
This knowledge, whether tips to prevent failure or advice on how to be successful in business, now gives you a clearer road map on how to efficiently run and grow your business. The advice of a financial adviser or investor such as Shailesh Dash provides you with insider knowledge on where to invest your business capital to increase revenue by millions. Just as learning from Pepsi’s tone-deaf mistake with Kendall Jenner and the Black Lives Matter Movement can prevent you from making similar marketing mishaps in the future that could destroy your brand.
Who to Learn From?
No business is run exactly the same, and what works for one company may not work for another. So, how do you know who you should be learning from? When it comes to taking business advice or learning from the mistakes of others you want to look at some of the best in the business for guidance and examples of losses and wins. Those who have been in business for years ultimately have the most experience and the longest track record of mistakes and successes that you can learn from. As you do your homework, try learning from sources that include:
· Successful Brands – When you think of successful businesses, which brand names come to mind most often? Wal-Mart? Amazon? McDonald’s? These are the companies you want to review. Assessing case studies, reviewing current news, and even researching mistakes made throughout their history are easy to find because they are a well-known brand. Since these companies have made mistakes and lived through them, they are ultimately your best source for learning how to avoid and/or get past similar mistakes in your own company.
· Companies in Your Industry – Industry specific knowledge is imperative to the growth and success of your business. Reviewing the profiles of companies within your industry provides you with a detailed description of trends as well as what works and what doesn’t for your target audience.
· Immediate Competition – Who is your immediate competition? Which companies provide the same products/services to your target audience? Researching companies you consider competition allows you to stay ahead of the game. Reviewing marketing tactics, sales practices, product launches, and even things like code of ethics, hiring practices, and customer service allow you to see what your customers are looking for, and what they’re not.
· Consultants/Advisors – Consultants and advisors within your industry are great resources to learn from. They have unequivocally been in their field for years and understand the ins and outs of what makes a company successful. They act as an external professional opinion on how to take your business to the next level. From business idea development to business direction and purchase decisions advisors provide insight that can prevent you from making the same mistakes professionals have made before you.
· Other Entrepreneurs or Mentors – Companies are not the only source worth learning from. Sometimes, the best advice can come from like-minded professionals. Though it wouldn’t be idealistic to seek advice from someone who has just started their business, gaining advice or insight from someone who has accolades such as Shailesh Dash who received a Best Strategic Vision award and can prove beneficial. Such entrepreneurs can provide guidance on what it takes to be successful, what pitfalls to avoid, and what risks to get out there and try. Developing long-term relationships with the likes of successful entrepreneurs and mentors essentially provides you with inside knowledge, support, and guidance throughout your path to success.
How to Learn from Wins and Losses
In order to apply it to your business strategy you must figure out how to learn from the wins and losses of others. It is not enough to simply read case studies, profiles, and news articles to find out about companies, mentors, and entrepreneurs. To effectively learn from the advice of others you must:
· Identify what went right or wrong – clearly define what went wrong or right with the path or decision that a company or individual did.
· Determine the cause – Why was this a good or bad decision? What caused them to make this mistake or make the right choice?
· Find the solution – If you’re reviewing mistakes made by major corporations, what was the solution they used to rebuild their brand or rectify the mistake? If there isn’t a solution, what do you believe you could do differently to prevent it from happening to your business?
· Determine how this applies to you – How can you use the information you’ve learned to build your business? Can you avoid making the same mistakes by implementing a new process or taking an extra step? Can you have the same kind of success as another company by tweaking their processes to meet the size and needs of your business?
· Apply and Adjust – Now, you can apply what you’ve learned to your business making necessary adjustments along the way.
There is no doubt there will be obstacles for you to overcome as you start and run your business. By taking the time to learn from the past histories of businesses and business professionals before you, you can save yourself a lot of time, frustration, and money. The advice and track record of wins and losses of others gives you a clear picture of what to do and what not to do to take your brand to heights that no “how to” guide or college education will take you.