To say that the business world moves fast these days would be an understatement of epic proportions. With newer, smarter technology springing up everywhere, there is always something new and shiny to distract us.
I’d like to tell you to STOP.
Yes, new things present us with many exciting possibilities. And yes, your entrepreneur brain is desperate to investigate those potential opportunities. But the mistake I witness all too often is that in the process of chasing the rabbit down the hole, we forget our business basics.
According to the Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses (1), 76% of small business in 2016 did not employ anyone aside from the owner. So there are a lot of Solopreneurs out there! Those of you going it alone will know only too well - you have to be across all the key areas of your business. You can’t drop any balls.
For this to be truly achievable, the key is simplicity. Keep on top of the basics - they are your bread and butter. The shiny new things can wait.
This is a simple lesson and it applies across all areas of our lives.
For example, I’m learning to run again. Now this might seem a bit weird to those of you who don’t know me. So to explain, I’ve been an endurance athlete for about 12 years now.
My first big adventure was the Marathon de Sables - running 6 marathons back to back through the Sahara desert was amazing but probably not the best place to start!
But what I have learnt in business and in life is the importance of mastering the basics. Sport is an amazing metaphor for this. If you look at the top basketball players in the world, they master the basics first. Their coaches drive them to revisit the basics all the time.
And this is what we are doing in our community at Business Growth International. We are getting business owners to master the basics because it is so crucial.
There is a great quote from Bruce Lee that comes to mind.
“I am not afraid of a person who knows 10000 kicks. But I am afraid of a person who knows one kick but practices it for 10000 times.” Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee's Wisdom for the Way
So why am I learning to run again?
Next year I am planning to take on six marathons across the jungle. This race competes with the Marathon de Sables to be the toughest foot race on earth – and next year I will able to tell you which one is truly tougher!
I know that I need to make sure that my cadence and biomechanics are spot on in order for my body to get me through the uneven terrain of the jungle floor. So I have gone back to my biomechanics coach, and we are re-working my running from the ground up. This will involve nine months of solid work. That is how committed I am to what I do.
This should be the same in business. A lot of us try to do really fancy stuff in our businesses, but without first mastering the basics.
In the marketing world I see that a lot of people are distracted by the latest social media platform on the app store shelves. But when I ask them if the social media they were already doing is converting leads and working for them, they can’t give me a straight answer.
You know what? If you are constantly moving on to the newer, cooler thing on the scene, you will not commit to that either. Go back, master the basics first, and then take that commitment with you to the next thing.
And my final word...
This is because the basics keep changing, especially in the marketing world. Technology moves on quickly and there is always something new to learn. You have to continually focus and keep learning.
So keep going back to the basics and stay on them!
Reference 1 Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses Ltd, accessed online 2nd March, 2017. http://www.fsb.org.uk/media-centre/small-business-statistics
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