The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.
Small Business Insights: Working On Your "Game"
Published on Sep 7, 2011
Read 'Small Business Insights: Working On Your "Game"' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
While I was watching the US Open over the weekend, tennis-great Billie Jean King said something that stuck with me.“Today’s young tennis players think about two things: points and money. I’d like to see them think about something else — working on their game. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Improve on your strengths and elevate your weaknesses to an acceptable level.”
Since I didn’t have a pen and paper, I’ve paraphrased Billie Jean slightly here. But her message remains intact. If we work hard enough on our “game,” the points and money will follow.
Seriously and consistently working on our game naturally leads to improvement. The trick is to continue working — even after we’ve improved. This creates a never-ending cycle that leads us to mastery.
What Does this Have to Do With Your Small Business?
Your business is an extension of you. You may not be working on your forehand or second serve — but in a metaphorical sense you’re working on your game by learning more about your industry, your customers, your team — as well as keeping your mind sharp by learning about other things you find interesting.
Through hands-on practice, you can become better at sales, customer service, leadership and just about anything else. With enough practice, you’ll also become better at predicting what works well for your small business, helping you avoid certain pitfalls.
In a nutshell, if you’re not advancing yourself, then you’re not advancing your business.
Even if you’ve got a stellar game, new technology will keep you on your toes. If you want to remain a relevant player, you’ve got to keep learning about the new tools that are emerging.
I can remember John McEnroe playing with a tiny wooden racket that looked like a toy compared to the aluminum mega-powered rackets of today. The new rackets literally changed the game.
Could you imagine McEnroe playing with that old wooden racket on the senior tour? While the likes of Pete Sampras and Jim Courier use technologically advanced rackets? In this case, the tool offers immense power, as well as an advantage, over those who do not have access to it. It’s the same in small business.
No matter how intimidating technology may be — no matter what your actual age — never claim to be “too old to learn.” If you do, you will be creating a reality where you’ll be perceived as over the hill by others — and more importantly, by yourself.
I’m not saying you should run out and buy every piece of new technology. That’s not realistic, especially if you’re a small business. But if there’s a tool that will keep you competitive, or put you ahead of your competitors, investing in it (and mastering it) may just be the difference between becoming a champion vs. being a ball boy.
Are you ready to work on your game?