By Gaea L. Honeycutt
In comic book lore, viagra Superman would retire to his Fortress of Solitude when not out saving the world. There in his ultimate man cave, Superman spent time in his workshops, earth monitoring hub, and workout room. And, of course, he kept some of the universe’s most dangerous weapons and endangered life forms. But that’s another topic for another day.
Entrepreneurs, too, have fortresses of solitude. Usually, it’s the business itself. In conversations with business owners, my ongoing revelation is learning how much entrepreneurs operate in silos – not only carrying the responsibility of running the business, but carrying the burden of identifying and obtaining what they need to learn in order to run the business better.
And yet, one after the other will say: “I don’t have time for LinkedIn.” Or, “I wanted to go to that workshop, but I had so much work to do.” And, my favorite, “Who’s got time for reading?” Well, my questions are: “If you don’t have time to learn from the Business Community on LinkedIn, or attend business workshops, or read business and industry books, then how do you learn to improve your skills and your business? Exactly how much time are you spending on trial and error, doing everything on your own?”
It’s all well and good to rely on your wits and creativity, but how much time do you waste making a mistake 20 other people could have warned you about? The answer is too much time and resources are lost that you can’t really afford to lose. Make a commitment now to change this right away – leave your solitary existence and work ON your business, not just IN your business. Start this week by choosing one of these paths (or something comparable):
- Attend a workshop, seminar or networking mixer.
- Spend 20 minutes a day for three days out of the week on LinkedIn. Each day, read one article, add information to your profile, and see what news is coming from your connections.
- Start reading a business book, such as Think & Grow Rich.
- Seek out a consultant to help you re-examine your business and create a strategy to advance it.
- Begin gathering together informally with a group of your peers – fellow entrepreneurs – for drinks after hours.
Next month, add another option. Then add another the month after. Before you know it, you’ll be in the habit of working ON your business, as well as working IN it. The important, long-term work won’t be an add-on, but integral to your success. And, you’ll find you’re able to integrate what you learn INTO your business – often quickly.
Last week, I attended the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. It was more than just politics. There were sessions on business, health and education, as well as an expo. I supported the Mid-Tier Advocacy who conducted a small business sustainability briefing. There were also several Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) representatives who participated on a panel. It was a great opportunity to both learn and network.
Check and check. Two items in one week at one event!
Gaea L. Honeycutt is Co-founder & Past Chairman of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, and President & CEO of G.L. Honeycutt Consulting, LLC a consulting firm providing business development and advisory services.