Accepting that you have a lot to learn is fundamental to achieving sustained small-business growth. Ultimately, everybody always has room to improve—and admitting this is not a weakness. But many small-business owners resist the notion that they are not the independent, steel titans with all-encompassing knowledge that they may often portray themselves to be. At Evolution, we hold ourselves and our partners accountable for keeping each other’s egos in check and seizing opportunities to learn. One of the best ways to do so is by reading books, white papers, news articles and other literature. Here’s why:
Strengthening your focus, vocabulary and range of knowledge areas through reading develops the effective communication skills needed to become a more productive and empathetic businessperson. To piggyback on these benefits, just six minutes of reading has been shown to reduce stress by 68 percent—so you may unwind by working, in true small-business owner fashion.
Business growth is limited by the owner’s ability to imagine its potential. Because reading introduces you to perspectives that exist beyond your own reality, it sparks innovative ideas and pushes the boundaries of what you thought to be possible. When reading, your mind is responsible for creating the image in your head, so it exercises your creative muscles to be ready the next time you need to problem-solve.
How can a business owner of four months gain the wisdom and insights of a business owner of 40 years? By reading about it! Reading allows small-business owners to learn from the triumphs and failures of other people without having to weather the experiences themselves. Author George R.R. Martin famously wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” Similarly, the entrepreneur who reads has the knowledge of a thousand previous ventures.
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