Column: Practice drives success

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Last week, I received an email from an individual who wanted to start a business similar to mine and asked if I could provide some advice for getting started.

After 12 years in the business, I am beginning to field more and more of these inquiries. People are under the false impression that I’ve made it and got everything all figured out.

I considered offering lots of detailed guidance, but realized it would certainly bore this aspiring entrepreneur within minutes.

Instead, I decided to go the simple route and advised that she just get out there and practice.

I realized this was the most important advice I could give after watching the London Olympics a few years ago.

Every athlete has a compelling story behind their journey to the games. Whether it was countless hours in the pool, leaving home at a young age to train or raising money to pay for their own expenses, they all made significant personal sacrifices.

Not once did we hear a competitor claim that they were born an Olympic athlete or that getting on the medal stand was “easy”.

The truth is that the best in each sport rose to the top because they outworked everyone else.

The same thing applies to your business. Those who consistently strive to improve will have greater revenue, market share and profits.

While this has always been the case, the advancement of technology has made training, development and constant improvement more important than ever.

In today’s marketplace, a great brand, advanced degree or brilliant idea will only give you a competitive advantage for a very short period of time. You have to be prepared to adapt and innovate if you have any interest in maintaining your lead. If you doubt this truth – checkout Borders, Blockbuster or MySpace.

The good news is that technology has also made it a lot easier to learn, innovate and adapt.

If you feel a little overwhelmed with all of learning opportunities available, here’s a few ideas to get you started.

First, subscribe to two or three industry magazines that will provide you with some useful insight (e.g. – Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company and Harvard Business Review). Next subscribe to a couple of blogs that you find interesting. I also recommend that you consider attending a regular workshop filled with people who push you to improve. Finally (drum roll please), consider reading a book.

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