One of the things that may get in the way of people being lifelong learners is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it.
One of the most frequently asked question is whether to succeed in business one must venture into the area they are trained on. For instance if your professional is hospitality and you spot an opportunity in clothing or farming industry, should you jump at it or leave it.
Venturing into the industry you are trained in is added advantage but not a prerequisite of success in any business. The prerequisite of success in any business is your willingness to learn the basic principles such as management and selling skills.
We have several people who are doing well in areas other than the ones they trained in college. Business principles are universal and can be applied in any industry.
Most of the people in business today not satisfied with their performance. They feel they have the potential to do better but fail to do so. This borders on self blame and regret. Even in acceptance that they could do better, majority confess that some forces are somehow overwhelming, rendering them captive.
Some of the factors frequently mentioned included failure to get trained staff to help them implement their vision, failure to control stock and finances, failure to grow revenue to sustainable levels and failure to keep up with customer demands.
Generally all those factors point out to one key aspect of business — management.
As it has often been said, success or failure of any venture depends on management. Any business person is a manager and must possess the right skills in the right measure in order to succeed.
Do not be fooled that a little knowledge is better than none. More than 90 per cent of businesses that fail within two years are started by people who lacked adequate managerial skills.
Starting a business in an area you are passionate and competent does not gurantee you success if you lack key management skills. This is because a business such as a school or clinic has more than teaching and treating people. Staff and resources must be managed and coordinated well for the venture to success. This requires a competent manager.
Even if you lack knowledge and skills in certain specific areas of your business, you can succeed as long as you hire and manage people with those skills.
But if you cannot manage you are doomed to fail. Henry Ford, the founder of the famous Ford Motor Company confessed that he lacked engineering and other skills associated with automobiles but had one great thing in the right measure — the ability to get and manage people who had the skills.
The mortality rate of businesses started by people with above average management skills is low. It’s everyone’s bet that if you have a good car, are a competent driver and you know the road well, you have 99 per cent chance of reaching your destination without a dent. But if you don’t know how to drive well, you will be very luck to reach your destination when driving on a busy road with impatient and often ruthless drivers.
The same principle applies to business. Most of businesses that fail are run by reckless and ignorant entrepreneurs. These are entrepreneurs who think little business knowledge is important. It is not.
Leadership and management have many faces and aspects that must be aligned together, the key ones being sales and marketing management.
A study conducted in the US indicates that 48 per cent of businesses that fail do so because they could not sell enough products or services. Nothing kills a business faster than lack of revenue generated from sales. A good manager must focus on generating revenue from sales more than from any other sources for sustainable growth of the business.
The second aspect is poor control of various resources — such as human resource, stock and financial resources— which accounts for almost 50 per cent of business failure.
You may have some employees who are working hard but a couple of others being a liability to the business; you may be selling much but losing more through fraud, damage or dead stock; you may be making money but losing it through poor spending. In both cases success is remote.
Casualness on money matters leads to casualties and fatalities in vital organs of business and a business without an informed manager is like a ship in high seas without a captain.