The world is changing, new technology and new business processes, new competitors and new legislation make it a constant process of learning for us all. Unfortunately, as the business owner, it often falls on to you to keep up to date. When everything is your responsibility, it’s difficult to focus on the things that really matter.
Here’s my short-list of areas I attempt to keep up to date on all the time:
Rather obvious, but I check-out Starlit Citadel’s competitors on a regular basis. What are they doing that I’m not? What do they stock that I don’t? Am I missing a trick there?
It’s worth looking at indirect competitors here too – Amazon & Chapters are mainly indirect competition to me. Yes, they stock board games, but that’s not their focus. Yet. On the other hand, they have a lot more marketing muscle than I do, so watching what they do can often great best practices to emulate.
Both a personal interest and a competitive need, I keep up to date on the latest technologies and trends. I add technology here because things like Smartphones and iPads have started to change the way our site is being used. It’s high on our list of things to do – getting a mobile version of Starlit up.
Legislation / Bureaucracy
Not something I want to keep up to date on, but changes in EI / CPP / taxes all impact our business, never mind licensing and other factors. Thankfully, changes are rare here and the government is pretty good on sending out information pamphlets when things do change.
With all this learning, reading and research, sometimes it’s easy to forget that you need to actually learn about the products you sell. It’s a common complaint on my side – I rarely play the games I like more than a few times because I am always looking to play new games to increase my product knowledge.
On top of these areas, I try to pick up a business book a month and read through them. Well, I average one a month. These books can be on anything from warehouse management to purchasing to accounting to a beginners book on corporations. The goal is to add or refresh that knowledge base.