Does your experience count?

English: Kalk Bay habour, Cape Peninsula, Sout...
English: Kalk Bay habour, Cape Peninsula, South Africa Deutsch: Hafen von Kalk Bay, Kap-Halbinsel, Süd Afrika (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A pair of guru business consultants was sprouting platitudes about how business owners should change their outfits into so-called learning organisations. The fan boy of the two consultants instead of challenging them was praising them to the nines about the fantastic work they were doing. After all three were waxing lyrical about how business leaders and owners need to change, not mentioning how well this would fit in with self promoting their consulting service, one of them attacked experience.

Some small business owners would say “how dare you?” Our experience in starting up, operating and growing our businesses has all been founded on our own experience. It’s all very well for guru business advisers to knock the experience accumulated by small business owners so that they can sell their consulting services but what has been their experience in running small businesses?

Clever business consultants who know how to argue to sell their consulting services on various platforms say these things without appreciating the learning that takes place with experience. No, they would rather quote verbatim from academic journals from the US than acknowledge the collective wisdom of small business owners gained through hard-won experience. They don’t because it suits their blatant pitch.

We all know about the down side or danger of experience. Mark Twain told us about that cat who jumped on a hot stove plate and never jumped back on that stove again. Og Mandino repeated that story over and over to drill into our minds to keep trying and to never give up.

But there’s a positive side to experience that these guru business adviser forget. Experience is the best teacher. Experience and the reality of the marketplace will give you a knock or a side swipe if you stubbornly refuse to change. New methods, innovative approaches, new business ideas come to small business owners because they are steeped in experienced and when they come up against obstacles they embrace change.

Experience provides the vital activity knowledge that is required in the processes and operations of any small business. Activity knowledge differs for each business and its acquiring is valuable. It’s not something that you can gain from consultants, books, DVDs and YouTube videos. It’s knowing what your customers want, providing them with an attractive value proposition and executing brilliantly. Don’t let consultant gurus and small business fan boys dismiss your valuable experience in running a small business.

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