The majority of leaders and business owners start out with high technical knowledge in what they do, but have inadequate business knowledge. In large businesses you can learn from others as you go because they have specialists in all areas of business, however in small or start-up businesses you don’t have that; you usually learn from the mistakes you make.

Building your knowledge and skills in business is essential and having an insatiable appetite to learn is a habit that is critical to success in business.

So what do you need to know? Here is a brief list of the areas in which you must have or build your knowledge over time:

  • How to build and manage a powerful team – leadership
  • What your market opportunity is
  • How to win work – sales
  • How to generate leads – marketing
  • How to read financial statements – finance
  • How to manage yourself – personal effectiveness
  • How to solve problems
  • How to systemise your business so it can run without you
  • Knowing your numbers – the key performance indicators for major functional areas of your business.

The reality is that the journey of business is a pathway and you have to continually build your knowledge to successfully transition along the pathway from start up to scaling up to profitable exit. The knowledge you need is different along the way. For example, you have to know how:

  • to start a business profitably
  • to grow profitably (scaling up)
  • to get your business sales ready
  • to exit profitably

Because of the need to consistently expand your business knowledge on your journey, the most important habit you can have is an insatiable appetite to learn. For many, the easiest way to do this is from an experienced business coach combined with completing courses, constant reading (a blended learning program).

During my business career and while studying other businesses, I always wondered what was behind my times of success and also what factors led to my mistakes. Why were some businesses highly successful and others a struggle?

I realised early on that I was going to be 10 times more successful being an average plumber and a great businessperson, rather than the other way around. Being technically good at what you do does not make you a great businessperson. I was very lucky to learn the technical aspect at such a young age, so when it came time to learn how the business operated, I still had a growth mindset.

I’ve carried this mindset with me through life and have always been one who has wanted to learn, especially from my mistakes. I had that crucial growth mindset and a never-ending thirst for knowledge.

I tried to constantly motivate our team for success and share my vision for the future. As I began to work with other companies, I saw people who were lacking in these areas and I was able to assist, filling in gaps and making a difference with things like self-awareness, the ability to identify market opportunities and especially mindset.