Various studies on entrepreneurial characteristics point to a common trait of successful entrepreneurs: they are often disappointed but not discouraged by failure. Instead of giving up, they look at what they can learn from their failures. They try to analyze what went wrong and what they did to fail. By understanding the reasons for their failure, they can avoid similar problems in the future.
Whether you are running a one-person or a small business, you need to learn from experience – both your own and that of others. You need to be an information seeker: someone open to new ideas and always on the lookout for ways to improve. The key to success in business is to analyze, reflect, observe, interact with others, and learn from these encounters. You need to seek and use feedback on your performance in order that you may improve and correct your errors.
Here are ways of learning from experience:
First, learn from the experiences of other business owners with similar needs or problems.
You can do this by reading the stories of other entrepreneurs, and knowing the adversities that they went through before they attained success. More importantly, you can network and talk with other entrepreneurs to benefit from their experience. Networking is researching, finding answers, recruiting and discovering opportunities. You can benefit from organizations that offer a strong network of entrepreneurs and managers that you could draw on for advice and support. Clubs, associations, and conventions are a good place to start and provide excellent opportunities for shared experience.
Second, seek out people who can give you good advice.
Not knowing how to do something should never be an obstacle – you should find someone who can teach you. Particularly during the start-up phase, the first thing to do is to find people who could answer your questions — or at least help you figure out what the questions are. Professional advisors such as your lawyer and your accountant can teach you a lot about your business. By listening to their advises, they can help develop your skill in planning and managing. In the United States, you can avail of the free services of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (http://www.score.org), an organization that provides small business mentoring and advice on the full range of business topics.
Third, continue to educate yourself about all areas of business operations, whether formally or through self-study.
The goal is to keep you abreast of new ideas that could improve your bottom line. You may also want to improve your knowledge regarding your weakest aspect in business. You can take courses in your local colleges, attend seminars and skill workshops, or even enroll in an online course.
Fourth, learn from your customers.
Customers, through their interaction with you and your company, can teach you about themselves, what they want and what they need. Be attuned to what your customers are saying, and make the effort to get their opinion and feedback. What you learn from your customers can increase your profitability by making their lives easier. After all, your ability to give customers what they want depends on your ability to learn from customers’ experiences.
Recommended Readings on Learning from Experience:
- 20 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs
- 10 Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs
- Starting a Business You Know Nothing About
- 10 Must-Have Qualities for New Entrepreneurs
Recommended Books on Learning from Experience:
- The Customer Experience Fiasco: Learning from the Misguided Adventures of a Customer Experience Executive
- The Lessons Learned Handbook: Practical Approaches to Learning from Experience
- Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze: The Valuable Habit of Learning from Your Business Experiences
- Learning from Life: Turning Life’s Lessons into Leadership Experience
- Becoming an Agile Leader A Guide to Learning From Your Experiences
- The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary
- How Important is Customer Experience Compared to Price?
- Simple 3-Step Selling Process to Increase Sales
- Where Entrepreneurs Can Get Help and Advice
- The Experience Effect: Engage Your Customers with a Consistent and Memorable Brand Experience
- Importance of Continuous Learning for Entrepreneurs