The Secret to Staying Smarter than Your Competition, When You Have No Time

Jul 21, 2010 | Competing in Today's Economy, Destination University News, General

How do you stay smarter than your competition and learn the newest techniques to grow your business, when you barely have time to take your kids to their swim lessons, and you just forgot your spouse’s birthday?

Here are two realizations you must make:

#1:  As an independent business owner, you cannot keep up with the newest tricks, tools, and techniques on your own.  It’s just not going to happen.  In the game of acquiring knowledge, you are on the losing side.  Remember when you used to say: “If it’s going to be done right, I’m going to do it myself?”  Well, that attitude, that maverick go-it-alone determination that got your business to where it is, isn’t going to keep it there.

I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to face facts and recognize that your industry changes daily, your competition changes while you’re sleeping, and your customers are learning new things by the minute that are being adopted by the mainstream, and no one’s calling to tell you ahead of time!  Just watch your customers one day coming in your business.  They are walking in with their Droids and IPhones accessing information about your business, and the products and services they want (often from your competitors), and all of a sudden, you have one of those epiphanies and realize that you just aren’t up-to-speed anymore.  Didn’t running a business used to be simpler? Ahh, yeah, it was.

#2:  So here’s what you have to do:  You must find people to help you sort through the clutter.  You need “summaries” of information you need to know.  Short, mini to-do’s.  That’s the ticket!  No dissertations; you need CliffsNotes.

In your world of people who can cut through the clutter, here’s how I can help.  I look for people who can help my clients grow their sales. For example, this week, I interviewed a retailer who used Facebook to grow her business and ended up capturing almost 20% of her town as a Facebook Fan.  She’s a brilliant owner who used Facebook posts to generate traffic and online sales to her business, and she took time to tell me exactly how she did it. I recorded it, and it’s going to be in our Destination University Student Center. If you’re a member, you can listen to her tell you exactly what to do first, and how to make it work.  Forget trial and error; listen to Katie tell you how she did it, and do what she did.  And do it now!

I find experts all the time who can help.  Just yesterday, I interviewed Jamie Licko for the Destination University Student Center.  You probably don’t know Jamie or her company, Centro, a consulting firm focusing on the future of city centers. I heard Jamie speak at the Downtown Colorado conference last Friday.  She spoke on new social networking tools that consumers are using that are way beyond simply using Facebook.  When I heard Jamie, I thought, “Owners need to know what Jamie knows.”  And so, in 45 minutes, Jamie allowed me to pick her brains, record the conversation, and let everyone in DU’s Student Center listen to it.  Take 45 minutes to listen to Jamie, and you’re off and running on new social networking tools that are free, and finally, you’re ahead of the game.  And your competitors.

Whether you use our Destination University Student Center to find important information that can grow your business or whether you have another network of people you can turn to, it doesn’t matter. Just understand that you can’t do it alone, and falling further behind in your learning curve isn’t the path you should be on.