Take our quiz if you dare: Measure your knowledge and commitment


Ready to take a stab at a few questions? Try these:

  • When did crowdfunding start to get popular for business startups and expansions?
  • How long have marketers been working with live video streaming?
  • When was Pinterest started?
  • When did Facebook start reaching out to small business owners for advertising?
  • When did Google start publishing local guides?

The answer to all of these questions is the same: Not that long ago!

No matter what kind of business you have, I am certain that a few of the topics I addressed in those questions are relevant to your business. There’s one thing I want you to understand from this little exercise: As a small business owner, you can’t stop learning and evolving.

Let me share a little life lesson that I believe applies to your leadership in business. I’ve watched people as they hit their retirement years. Some of them keep up with the changes in society, such as new technologies, and some don’t.

The retirees who refuse to learn the new ways of doing things eventually get to a place where they can’t accomplish what they need to do in order to live. To the rest of the world, these people slowly become “incompetent.”

I’ll give you a quick example. It’s a little old, but it’s true. I knew a man who was successful in business. He retired to Florida after having lived his entire life in the Northeast. First, things were quite different in Florida, and it took a while to adjust.

He had always made his bank deposits by going inside the branch and working with a teller. There came a time when his new branch in Florida essentially closed and he was forced to bank via an ATM. It was completely foreign to him. He was always a person-to-person guy and had a very difficult time adjusting to the change. Although he had an ATM card for years, he never used it for banking. This simple thing confused him and made him seem a little “out of it” to those around him.

The same thing can happen in business. If you don’t keep up with developments, business will leave you behind. Because of this, I believe that perhaps the single most important quality you need as a business owner is the willingness to commit to life-long learning and evolving.

There are many ways to do this. Your local SBDC always has something going on. You can follow business news and advice on the Internet. You can bring younger people onto your team and learn from them. You can grab a good business book (check out this list by David Burkus) and read a chapter every night.

The means isn’t as important as the commitment. So, as Nike says, just do it!