That would seem very obvious but many people violate that simple idea. Notice I say ‘actively’. If you are building a business, you will be learning things from the sheer act of doing. Every day you work at it, there is some new perspective to be gained from direct experience. But if you do not study business itself and do not have access to mentors or ideas on how to build businesses and make them last, you are setting up yourself for failure at worst or dooming yourself to a mediocre level of performance at best.
There is so much you don’t know, flying by the seat of your pants and hoping it works out is not going to cut it. You have to learn. You can’t build your parachute on the way down without any materials. No matter the level of your business, there is a ton of information out there on how to make that business run to full potential at that level and then grow into the next stage.
The doing is indispensable. But you can supercharge that doing, by combining it with absorbing as much knowledge as you can or surrounding yourself with people who know. Do not let all this new knowledge trip you up however. You are entrepreneur, you have to be smart. Stay focused on the key metrics and activities, but broaden your horizons and consider other things as well.
You should be actively learning about business. Get books, take courses, listen to podcasts, watch videos. Learn about the basic components of business – business models, customer relationship management, marketing and sales funnels, operations, cash flow, etc. At the very least, knowing these things will give you an overview of what makes a good business tick and give you a good mental framework to evaluate ideas and strategy. Having these tools will allow you to understand and take the necessary steps to actually grow your business.
Understand your field as thoroughly as possible. Know who the major players are, know the landscape, know the opportunities, understand the general trend of your industry. But don’t just stop there. Learn about other businesses too, you would be surprised what sort of innovative ideas you can copy to take your own business to the next level.
Being good at business is not something that just happens. Like almost everything else, business is a learnable skill. You just have to make the commitment to learn it.