What's the problem with training?
Simple. Most of it makes you better at what you do. More efficient. Faster. Better at The Job.
Not a better entrepreneur. Not even a better owner. Just better at The Job.
How can you get better? Simple - you have to change your mind, not your actions, because all the growth hacks in the world aren't going to change the job until you take action and do that.
What about exercising the entrepreneurial muscle? Making it stronger? In a world filled to overflowing with efficiency ideas, apps, and podcasts, what can actually make you a better entrepreneur?
Here's five things to start with:
1. Understand what it is you want to actually do. Sure, this seems easy, but it isn't! Most, if not all, small business owners started out as owners by proxy - the situation feel into their laps, such as it was, and the idea of a Great, Growing Company simply became Another Job. If you never took the time to set your goals, then how can you ever reach them? Put those goals on paper and keep them where you see them every day.
2. Build a system, not a schedule. Again and again, I've heard it - a small business owner who has their time carefully laid out to handle tasks within the company. The tasks are the last thing that you need to be working on! Of course you have to spend some time "doing" but a huge part of the "doing" is figuring out how to train others to handle the particular tasks your clients require. Design the training system, design the hiring system, design the retention system, then use them to get the people into the positions to do the jobs that need to be done. Don't try to make 28 hours in a day, it can never happen!
3. Build the system that you can review. At least once a quarter, you need to be able to look into the metrics of your company. How many leads need to be generated to close one sale? How many potential clients need to be spoken with to convert them to paying customers? What is the actual value of a client over a month? A year? Without data like this (and much more!) you can never effectively direct the course that your company is taking and you have no hope of being able to change it if you have no clear guides.
4. Look for efficiency, not just brilliance. In every action that your staff takes, be it responding to emails or following up with customers, there are going to be strokes of brilliance. Sales people that seem to always close the deal, customer service reps that always take care of the client. As the owner, you have to not only recognize that, but look for ways to incorporate those pieces into every transaction and conversation. Remember, success can be found in everything, from a well-made cup of coffee to brain surgery. Asking "why" and understanding the reasons for certain actions can lead to critical ways to differentiate your business from others.
5. Be in it for the race, not the sprint. Building a company - especially one that is physically able to change the way that business is done, is not a short-term process. I've often argued that the only company worth building is one that can actually effect change on a world-class basis, but understand this: if you want only short-term success you are better served simply working for someone else. If you want to create something of real value, then set your sights on - and live - the tenets of building a long-term company - systems that replace you, a management structure that can be replicated, a client acquisition and fulfillment system that works effortlessly.
Is this all easy? No, and no one said it would be. In the end, though, when you have created something that has changed lives and industries, what better satisfaction can you have from the company that you envisioned and then executed?
That's what entrepreneurship is all about.