When you’re running your own business, it can feel like every decision you make is going to have a direct impact on how much profit you have at the end of the day – or in some cases, whether you’ll have any profit at the end of the day.
All of this means that you can find yourself in an information bubble: focused on your business, your competitors, and the news and trends in your industry. All of this is valuable knowledge that you need to know to run your online business successfully; but you may be limiting your potential by sticking to such a narrow path.
There are a lot of ways that you can put your knowledge to work in a different area of your life, business sector, or community. Changing the perspective on your knowledge can open you up to new ways to make decisions, market your company, and influence customers in your ecommerce sales.
Think Differently About Your Online Business
By using “old” knowledge in “new” ways, you can break out of the patterns of thinking that you’re used to. By getting out of the same old groove, you can see different ways to handle the challenges you face in your day-to-day life. In many ways, you can do this while building networking connections, both online and in person.
Take Time for Training
If there’s a part of your business that you’ve always found especially confusing, now may be the time to get some education. Services like Udemy and Lynda make it easy, offering video classes in short formats that you can absorb over a lunch hour.
You could also look into professional events near you on Eventbrite or Meetup. Bring a notebook, some business cards, and a positive attitude. Many companies offer “lunch and learn” style events about the areas of their own expertise. Learn about what they do – you might have something in common!
Look Outside Your Sector
The business challenges you face in running an online jewelry store may be very common to many people who also run online jewelry stores – but it’s just possible that the people running online electronic accessory stores have found a way around it.
Join LinkedIn groups, forums, Facebook groups, or other social media communities of professionals outside your sector. Don’t be intrusive or overly promotional, but do look at it as a chance to learn more and see your own business problems in a new way.
Teach Someone Else
If attending a lunch and learn event isn’t your style, why not hold one? This is especially useful if you have a network of contacts who can share the details of your event. Decide on a topic you’re knowledgeable about, and outline a presentation that can introduce people to it. Maybe teach them how to do something, or why part of your job is really important.
Create a slide deck to help you with your presentation, and publicize your event. The day of, be open to questions and comments. Listen to what attendees have to say to you about their own problems, and set up a situation where you can all learn from each other.
Write About It
If your website doesn’t have a blog (and it should!), there are many outlets that you can put your ideas on. LinkedIn Pulse is a great avenue, as is Medium, for sharing professional opinions and insights. Putting your thoughts out there to an audience that doesn’t all work in the same business area you do can bring new perspectives straight to your comments section.
Write what you know about your business, and what you believe makes you successful. Address the challenges that many face in your business, and analyze trends. By sitting down to put your fingers to the keyboard, you’re forced to focus on one idea for much longer than you usually would – sometimes the solution you’ve been searching for will just pop onto the page.
Back In The Office
You’re back from holding events and going out there to learn about businesses that are nothing like your own. Hopefully your brain feels refreshed, and you’ve gained some new ways of looking at your business’s needs and challenges. Now you have to apply that perspective to your company.
Compare Your Numbers
There is always the risk that, in investigating other business sectors and companies, you will come back with solutions that don’t fit the size or operations of your company. Make sure that the adjustments you have learned about are really suitable for what you do. Track the changes you make and practice regular benchmarking!
Gain Some Perspective
Take an outside view of your company. Imagine you were hiring a new CEO, and you had to map out all of the operations and connections involved in running your business day-to-day.
One great free tool for this is the Business Model Canvas. It makes you look at how all the parts of your company, brand, and marketing activity fit together.
Get a big picture view of how you’re operating, and ask yourself questions about each step along the way. You may have business habits that aren’t getting you the growth your business really needs.
Keep Looking Outside
Don’t lose touch with that outside world in the first half of this post! Continue attending meetings and reading about businesses that may face your challenges, but in a different way. Continue to expose yourself to different ways of doing business and understanding the problems that come with it.
Running a business feels like a non-stop ride much of the time. That’s part of the reason many people start their own business! But if you don’t take the time to look around, it can also inhibit your ability to grow, expand, and become more efficient.
If you could use a marketing team in your corner who can bring perspectives from a variety of business sectors, give us a call at ATAK Interactive. From airplanes, to plastics, to sensory gyms for kids with autism – we’ve done a little bit of everything, and we can apply that versatility and breadth of knowledge to your business.