The other day I found myself howling with laughter watching a comedy show on TV. Nothing strange in that, comedy is supposed to make us laugh. However this was comedy very much in the genre of ‘it’s the way you tell them’. I was in hysterics about very ordinary, every day occurrences and it got me thinking. Many very successful comedians get their material from their observations of life and their ability to see the ridiculous in every day behaviour.
Successful business people have sharp antennae. They are acutely aware of what people want, of how the world is changing and they are using their observation skills to spot, and then exploit, new business opportunities. I went to a business seminar the other day where all the speakers shared stories of how they had made a lot of money and the common theme was spotting opportunities and acting on them, quickly.
I walk along my local street and I see traders working really hard doing what they’ve always done and struggling to keep going. There is a saying that ‘if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got’ but as one of the seminar speakers pointed out this is no longer true. The world is moving so fast that just doing what we’ve always done will send us backwards not leave us in the same place. That’s why we all need to develop our observation skills, our ability to listen actively, to question ourselves and others and to read and learn new skills and new ways of doing things.
Frequently in business it is the first to the new idea that makes the biggest impact so as business owners we should be devoting time to listening to our customers. I mean really listening. Listening for opportunities. Listening for ways we can do things better. Listening for what they really want. We should keep our eyes and ears open and should look for opportunities rather than threats in the new world. We need to make time to learn and research or we’ll be left behind by those who do.