As entrepreneurs, our tendencies are to get immersed in our own companies and bury ourselves in work. But beware of the risks of isolation. No matter what you’ve learned before, you can’t know it all. Take the time to glean information and advice from other successful entrepreneurs. Make it simple and easy. I recently brought in a number of successful entrepreneurs for a series of brown bag lunches with my executive team. These CEOs were gracious with their advice, taking the time to answer detailed questions about our approach and offering specific advice on what they would do if they were in our shoes. For instance, one CEO told us how to avoid the costly mistakes he made early on and essentially showed us how to leapfrog his learning curve. As small business owners, many of us find the time to stay on top of the latest news and trends to try to foresee what may be relevant for our customers, but there is no substitute for firsthand advice. By tapping into your peer network and asking other successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, consultants, and industry leaders to share best practices with you, you may learn a few tricks to overcome your challenges or a few creative approaches you hadn’t considered before. Create a list of people who have worked at companies you admire. Get in touch with them and ask them for an hour of their time. Feed them a good lunch, ask them thoughtful questions, and I bet you’ll walk away learning something you need for your business.
Peter Pham CEO BillShrink Redwood City, Calif.