But there is something much worse than being wrong. It’s being ignorant. What you don’t know, in business, can kill you. But there is something even worse than ignorance. It is ignorance of personal ignorance. When you don’t know what you don’t know, you are doomed to make mistakes you could otherwise avoid…sometimes fatal mistakes.
Some people, especially your more experienced competition, is rubbing their hands with cartoon villain glee at what you don’t know. Let’s change that. Here are five things many young would-be business moguls don’t know … but think they do.
1 – What you need to learn next
The world is full of information, and some of it will directly benefit or endanger your success trajectory. But which is it? What piece of information do you absolutely need to know right now? And what do you need to learn next? If you don’t have a ready answer to this question, then you are not properly allocating and prioritizing your time.
2 – What deserves most of your focus?
Some people just inherently understand what to focus on and what to ignore. They “get” what can be multitasked, delegated or ignored. Others fixate on whatever is right there in front of them, or, worse, they try to “manage” everything at once. If you can’t stop, right now, and explain exactly what should be soaking up the lion’s share of your focus, then you need to stop and figure that out.
3 – Which of your team members can be trusted?
Some people just hire folks assuming they will do what they were hired to do without attendant ambitions or secret motivations. Bad move, friend. Trust is not about which of your employees might bogart paperclips. It’s about understanding exactly what makes them tick. What do they want, and how does working for you help them achieve it.
4 – How to get where you want to go
When you open your business, there’s no doubt you have grandiose plans and schemes in play. That’s not what entrepreneurs do, that’s who we are. But do you know how to accomplish all those audacious goals, or do you depend on your business plan and “Smart People” to get you there? 5 – What does success really mean to you?
Is it about stuff? Then make it about specific stuff. Is it about a place or an idea? Then make it about a specific place or idea. Don’t just visualize some car or house or private school for kids you don’t have yet. Know what best motivates you and set specific goals based on those motivations. Then, when you change – and you will – take some time to adjust those goals as well. Remember, be specific.
What about it, is your ignorance on this list, or is there something else you didn’t know that nearly torpedoed your success before you even got started?
Jonah Engler is a businessman and a financial expert from New York.