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Why do you learn (as an entrepreneur)?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 9/18/13 7:45 AM

I heard this question on a Hubspot Academy webinar from Nick Sal. He asked a really great question to the group, and most answered with something that they were hoping to learn from the webinar that would help them to get more leads to grow their business. I was there to test out my knowledge of the new COS system. That's what we were there for, but that didn't answer Nick's question. Nick asked why we learn. And that is a question I wish more people asked. 

Do we learn because we want to grow our businesses? Or do we learn to be of more value to the people who look to us for advice? What happens if it is not both? Why do so many still struggle with the concept of inbound, or even feel threatened by it?

3 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Always Be Learning 

I might get a tattoo that says "Always be learning." Hmm, or maybe not. But Nick's questions made me pause long enough to consider why this is a phrase I often repeat to myself and others.

1) The old dogs who learn the new tricks get all the good treats. Combining the experience of tries, fails, and sucesses with new and improved techniques enables any business, association, or cause to be a leader in their circles. Constant education means applying what you have learned in new ways. "Experience is a cruel teacher, it gives the test first and then the lesson." As an entreprenuer, your customers, clients, or members can be helped by your experience but only if you can apply it to their circumstance today.

There were a lot of Inbound newcomers on the webinar, and Nick kept referring to me as "the veteran." True, I have been doing this for a while now, but to stay relevant and valuable you have to always be learning the new stuff. How could I possibly lead a team or advise a client on the best way to grow their business if I don't know what the best options are and how they work? (And also because sometimes a leader has to be able to do it themselves when no one else can.)

2) The learning process requires the same disciplines you need to grow your business. Every day you have to work on your business, not just in it. Working in your business are those activities that result from what you have done when you work on your business. Delivery of a product or service (working in your business) doesn't happen until you successfully market and sell something of value (working on your business). You can't really learn if you cram the night before. Learning, like working on your business, requires you to do to daily activities to reach a goal long term goal. Do you set aside time for your own sales and marketing and professional development?  

3) A learning mindset keeps you humble and diligent. How often do you evaluate your own skill set or product offering as compared to what your customers need help with? Do you seek to learn new and better ways to get in tune with your buyer so that you can sell them more stuff, or so that you can really understand their need? Do you learn to get ahead of the competition, or so that you can be the best advisor to those that look to you for answers and solutions?

Inbound Success Requires You To Always Be Learning

Have you noticed? There are still those that think inbound threatens their business model. It seems that those who need to be convinced why they should be continously learning are the same ones that think they know best, that they are the expert, or that their opinion is the only one that matters (to them). It's both sad and tragic because they are beyond learning and growth. They don't seek to learn themselves because they don't believe they need to. No one can tell them anything that they didn't already know. It's a dangerous place to get to, both for themselves and those that rely on them.

Learning is work. Understanding why you learn might help you to be motivated to keep doing it.

Inbound is work because you are always learning. You are always learning what your customers want and need. You are always learning what their buying process is and what content helps to educate them. You are always learning how best to sell and service the person whose opinion is the only one that matters. 

What ways are you always learning in your business? How do you work on your own professional development?

Topics: inbound, entrepreneur