I am sure everyone has heard the expression, “Knowledge is King”. Just what exactly does that mean? I would like to propose that it could mean the difference between building a strong business and having a business that fades away over time.
Running a business takes up almost all of an entrepreneurs time. Sometimes the time constraints make it hard to see what is happening in your marketplace. This is where “Knowledge is King” comes into play. Wouldn’t it be nice to know about the new competitor that is opening in a month? What about the new competing product coming to your industry that is faster and cost less? Another example may be a change in consumer sentiment for your entire market segment.
I purport that it is very important to your business that you keep up with what is happening around you. Your business does not compete in a standalone world. Each day something changes in your market. Make yourself take the time to seek out what is occurring. If you are a local business, drive around your market area and look for any changes. Ask your employees if they have noticed any new trends with your customers. If you are a somewhat larger business, take the time to read the trade publications and attend industry meetings. Knowledge from many sources can help you improve your product or adjust your marketing in a timely fashion to keep up with your best competition.
Accounting is another area where “Knowledge is King”. Keeping up with your accounting functions makes a big difference in how a business operates. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your Cost of Goods Sold is increasing because your main vendor has raised his prices? What if you could see that labor costs are rising while your sales are staying the same? A really important piece of information may be that your largest customer has fallen behind on his payments. All of this knowledge could affect how you run your business. You will be able to adjust before it becomes a problem.
There are many things you must keep up with when running a business. I would like to stress the importance of keeping up with what is a happening in your market as well as what is actually happening inside your business. Remember that “Knowledge Can Make You a King”!
Written by: John Ernst, Business Consultant, University of Georgia SBDC in DeKalb