Climbing solo is exhilarating, but scary too. When I left the corporate environment where I spent 20 years, I left behind a “peer-group” of brilliant, like-minded professionals. When you are part of a corporate team, that team is (mostly!) focused on the same goals, and the team is (hopefully – but not always!) single-minded about achieving them. I was a strong collaborator, and I loved working in an ideas-rich environment where the whole project benefitted from each of it’s diverse participants.
Although I was “ready” to launch my own business, and had acquired the skills, experience, instinct and ambition to do it – I suddenly found myself without a support network to bounce ideas off. It was a bit of a shock to my system! All the conversations I used to have around a table with other smart people, were now going on inside my own head! I would come up with an idea. I kicked it around with myself. I questioned it. I wrote it down and drew it out. I expanded it and refined it. I validated it. Planned it. And then executed it. All on my own…. All me…. Just me…. All the time.
(Unless you plan to actually re-invent the wheel, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel).
Well, guess what? YOU CAN! Visit a bookshop, or download the Kindle on your device, and invite the best business thinkers in the world, into your little business. Here are some of my favourites:
- If you are struggling in a competitive environment – then look for the less cluttered areas of opportunity. Focus on the gaps in the market before you develop your product. Read ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ by W Chan Kim and Renee Maugborne ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-
Ocean-Strategy-Expanded-Chan/) dp/1625274491/ref=sr_1_1?s= books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475759535& sr=1-1&keywords=blue+ocean+ strategy
- Best business practices and common sense for all aspects of your life – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/
Habits-Highly-Effective- People/dp/0684858398/ref=sr_1_ 1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid= 1475760005&sr=1-1&keywords=7+ habits+of+highly+effective+ people+by+stephen+covey
- Learn how to do a lot with a little – read The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/
Lean-Startup-Innovation- Successful-Businesses/dp/ 0670921602/ref=sr_1_1?s=books& ie=UTF8&qid=1475760166&sr=1-1& keywords=lean+startup
- We all have the things we’re good at (creative ideation in my case) and bad at (bookkeeping….shudder), but if you’re a one-man show, chances are you need to do all of it – the fun stuff and the not-so-fun stuff. Guess which we tend to avoid? All species procrastinate and humans do it too. Read this book and learn how to stop. ‘Eat that Frog’ by Brian Tracy (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eat-
That-Frog-Important-Things/dp/ 1444765426/ref=sr_1_1?s=books& ie=UTF8&qid=1475760368&sr=1-1& keywords=eat+that+frog+-+ brian+tracy
Leaders are Readers. And you need to keep your mind open and growing. Set yourself a goal of reading AT LEAST one new business book a month – more if you have time. Take notes. Identify the 3 big learnings from each book and try to adopt them in your business. Harness the brightest minds in the universe, and put them to work for you too.
Build the team that will build your business.