You would not build a home without a foundation and you should not try to build a business venture without a successful foundation as well. As children we are sent school to get an education – to build a foundation so that we can survive and succeed in our daily lives. Without this education we would struggle to get by and face many unnecessary challenges in life. This same principle should be applied as we build our businesses because the more solid our foundation the stronger our company’s chances for survival and success are. Education is not a one-time proposition, either. The need for education continues throughout our lives, every time we turn a new corner or run across a new opportunity.
Education should be shared and encouraged at all levels of a company. The more knowledge that employees possess the stronger the company is. Many folks fail at business ventures because they lack knowledge about how exactly to run a business and how to respond to the problems that business owners always encounter. Too often we hear of stories of a person who was really great at his or her job but failed as a business owner. The excuse offered most often is “under-funded” but isn’t that just another way of saying that the owner just didn’t understand what was needed to be successful?
The odds are against new operations. Most new venture fail within two years. This happens because no matter how good individuals are at specific talents it takes knowledge of the “whole picture” to be successful.
Businesses require expertise well beyond understanding any particular advertised service. Things like human resource issues, marketing, payroll, scheduling, banking, accounts payable and receivables, estimating and proposals, etc. can be the stuff of nightmares. It doesn’t matter if you are the best electrician, plumber, lawyer, or whatever – you need to have knowledge of all these aspects to succeed.
The first item to recognize is that there are very few people who are really proficient at all the tasks we’ve listed. Business owners often need business “partners” to help them succeed. A Partner can be anyone who knows more than we do in any specific area who will share that information with them. Utilizing Partners can help make the difference. Finding out what you don’t know is the first step in making sure that all of the important tasks are handled by knowledgeable people. The goal is to have no weak links – a strong company.
The best way to address these issues is by education and information. There are many ways to get the education and information you need as a business owner. One is take courses and attend educational seminars to address areas we are weak in. Another is to send or encourage our employees to continue education to make them stronger assets of the company. We can also go outside the company and recruit new faces that have already received a higher education (either through first-hand experience or in the classroom). Yet another way is to seek Partners (for example, knowledgeable vendors or service providers) to fill some of these weak areas – so that we may better concentrate on running our business. Hiring a payroll company, for example, is often a wise choice so that you are not spending time working on payroll weekly. Payroll companies often provide human resource services like employee handbooks and such. Accountants and lawyers are also good Partners to have as a business owner. These folks have an education and knowledge back round that EVERY company needs to succeed.
Education and knowledge truly are the best foundation for building our business. Without a solid foundation we can not build the “walls” of our company. Education teaches us how to keep records of sales and expenses. Education teaches us how handle customer complaints and customer interaction. Education can teach us how to be good plumbers, carpenters, electricians, contract cleaners and so on but there is certainly more education needed to run a successful business than being able to turn a wrench, use a saw, wire a house, or run a pressure washer. Invest in your company’s success by continuing education as well as encouraging others to gain knowledge. This will only help to build that solid foundation that will stand up to all obstacles your business may face as it grows and succeeds.