Cultures around the world generally respect their elders, as they have a wealth of wisdom acquired through their life experiences which can serve as a great business lesson. There are many things that we can learn from them, especially the lessons that they have already gone through, in the hope that we don’t make the same mistakes. However, most, if not all, of us need to make some of those mistakes ourselves, in order to learn from them. For example, you can tell a toddler not to touch something because it is hot, but he (or she) might need to do it once to understand that it is painful. Young adults often need to lose love to realise how to make a relationship work.
In the business world, there are many case studies to show how mistakes led to near bankruptcy, followed by huge success as the owner learned from the lesson. But you can save yourself some pain if you listen carefully to the stories told by a wise elder. The challenge is to identify the lesson from the story and apply it to your business to avoid making the same mistakes.
How to learn a business lesson from others
Most business case studies are written from the benefit of hindsight, where the eventual outcome makes for an interesting story. The author can look at and identify the mistakes in the context of the business and market, highlighting how the result was inevitable.
The key is to identify the symptoms that appear prior to the mishap and see whether your business exhibits any such signs. If you recognise any similarities, you can either work to resolve the problem or continue to grow your business in the hope that the issues disappear as profits and revenue grow. However, be warned that such symptoms do not tend to disappear as the business expands: they just get bigger and more expensive to resolve.
People are generally good at seeing problems arise with hindsight. But if you want to give your business the best chance to prosper, you will need to rise above what people ‘generally’ do. The most successful business owners have the ability to look at things with foresight, to anticipate problems and work proactively to resolve them. They learn a good business lesson from the mistakes of others.
How to do it
The trick is, that they seldom do it alone. They turn to an expert to help them identify potential problems and resolve them before they trip up the business. If you do not know what to do, I would recommend that you get someone or a business coach who does.
I hope in time that your story will be used as a positive example of a business that avoided mistakes, from which others can learn.