The majority of business owners believe that when they leave formal education the learning stops.

Educated business owners however think differently. They know that to be successful in any field, you have to be prepared to do what others won’t.

For us entrepreneurs this means going to work on ourselves, through personal growth and development; which in turn, impacts both personal life and business growth. Apart from the basic maths and English, formal education doesn’t teach us much.

We’re taught to memorise or copy what’s in front of us. How much thinking did the teachers actually get us to do when we were in school?… Not a lot from memory.

Don’t get me wrong, we learn some very good life skills, make friends and try to enjoy it, but my personal opinion is that the curriculum needs a shakeup. There are vitally important skills that could be taught at schools.

Financial education is one that would help everybody. Is there any wonder the majority of people are in debt? We are not educated in how to manage money. We were never shown. We have to make mistakes, so we can learn from them. A mistake that could set us back years in our adult lives.

Business/entrepreneurialism is another subject that in my opinion should be standard in the national curriculum. For me this should be taught during the first year in secondary school. What a head start that would be for any young budding entrepreneurs.

Even if this is just to give a basic understanding of how business works and encouragement from the teachers for students to be creative and follow their dreams. If this were the case, we’d have a hell of a better understanding and belief than any student leaving school today.

Here’s a staggering statistic… Only 1% of business owners have achieved millionaire status. Think about that for a minute. Just 1%. This is an astonishing statistic compared to the millions of businesses all over the globe.

These 1% think totally different to your average business owner. They understand that their business is only as good as the thinking they bring to the it.

Eventually, every entrepreneur’s thinking peaks, which in turn caps growth, both for them personally and their business. The average business owner however is destined to never hit their full potential because they are ignorant to the fact that they are the lid on their business.

To overcome these limits, you have to make self-education and personal development a priority in your day to day activities.

The 1% make self-education and personal growth a priority in their daily life. As entrepreneurs and business owners, we already lead very busy lives. However, most people are busy being busy, working in their business and not on their business because of their limited thinking. It’s not their fault, they’ve never been educated or shown any other way.

They started a business because they are experienced in that particular sector or skill. Their business is wrapped around them and doesn’t function without them making decisions, and eventually they become trapped in their business.

After years of building the business, it fails to gain any value because the business doesn’t work without its owner. They effectively own a job, and the chances of them selling the business and the financial return if they did would both be very low.

As an entrepreneur, for me personal growth is a non-negotiable daily habit. I have four different strategies which contribute to my personal development.

Strategy 1 – Reading

Every year I set myself a personal goal to read 24 books a year. I achieve this by reading for 1 hour a day. I wake up early, make a coffee and dedicate the first hour of my day to personal growth. I read a range of business, personal growth and mind set books. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates, make reading part of their daily routine. On average Gates reads four books a month, so I also need to up my game. What a fine example Bill Gates is. He’s one of the richest men in the world and is still looking to improve the wealth of knowledge he already has.

We don’t know what we don’t know, and reading is a fantastic way to get educated

Some of the great books I have read, have helped and inspired me to implement the strategies offered. I’ve also had a couple of books that have bored the living hell out of me and couldn’t wait to finish, but I’ve always persevered, stayed focused and seen the book through to the end.  This is because there’s always a chance of a golden nugget of information that just might impact my thinking or business.

My top 5 books that I’d recommend anyone to read are:

  1. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  2. Built to Sell by John Warrillow
  3. The e-Myth by Michael E Gerber
  4. The One Thing Gary W Keller
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Not only have I read these books once, but I’ve read them several times and implemented what I’ve learned.

Reading may not be for everyone, but with technology at our disposal, there are many different ways of listening to books rather than reading. For instance, listening to audiobooks and podcasts is something I do when I’m on the treadmill in the gym or travelling long journeys in the car. It’s simple really, the more you learn the more you earn.

If you’re not a great reader or even a fan of reading, then start with a small goal of one book or audio book a month. The aim is to make reading a daily habit. It takes 30 days for an activity to become a habit. During these 30 days your commitment will be tested to its limits, so stick with it and reap the benefits from educating yourself through another person’s experience.

Strategy 2 – Mastermind Group

Being an entrepreneur and owning your own business can be very lonely place at times. Where or who do you turn to for help, guidance or advise. Most may turn to their friends or family, or even Joe Blogs down the pub. Whoever you turn to for advice you can pretty much guarantee they will not be qualified to answer the questions you pose to them. Not that it’s their fault, it’s just their opinion on what they think is right or what they think you want to hear.

Now, if you’re serious about your business and want to grow it, you need to be part of the mastermind process. Joining a Mastermind Group was the best decision I’ve ever made. My business has grown 200% and my personal life has improved dramatically.

Is your aim to be successful, or to be just like 99% of business owners?  If it’s to be successful, a Mastermind Group will get you there quicker, but only if you’re willing to invest the time and money necessary.

Every day in business we have to make decisions. Decisions that can change the direction of our life.

In part 3 of this series I wrote about the tough decision I had to make three years ago. I had a tremendous opportunity to become part of a Mastermind Group. Like all tough decisions, I had a couple of obstacles and road blocks in my way.

The first, how do I find the time? The second, how could I afford it? Spaces were limited, and I knew I had to act quickly or miss an opportunity of a lifetime. So, I quickly found solutions to the road blocks. I freed up the time by employing a new salesman then sold my brand-new Porsche [this one did hurt a little] which gave me the money to invest in this opportunity. Sorted.

Having put these solutions in place, I joined my Mastermind Group. Now I had my board I couldn’t afford. I had nine other entrepreneurs to help with my challenges and also guidance for me and my businesses.

At our first summit, we all started off as complete strangers, by the end of our three-day summit together, we left as friends. My board I can’t afford are not like Joe Blogs down the pub. These people are entrepreneurs, some in the infancy of their journeys and some who are experienced and successful. What impressed me the most about the group was, some of them had been there and done it in a range of businesses. Which is great, because they’re making me aware of what I’m going to experience in the future. In a way, I’m learning a lesson in business just by listening to their experience.

For me personal growth is a non-negotiable daily habit

Within the group I realised that everyone had something individual and brilliant to bring to the table. We’re all go givers and are there to help each other stretch our thinking and grow our businesses.  It’s great to be a part of everyone’s journey, seeing them grow and develop knowing that you’ve contributed to their success. There’s no better feeling than giving back and helping people achieve their goal and visions.

All very highly successful entrepreneurs are in Mastermind Groups, Buffet, Gates and Branson to name a few. Napoleon Hill’s book ‘Think and Grow Rich’, has helped make more millionaires than any other book in history. He explains a mastermind process best by saying:

“The mastermind may be defined as coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony between two or more people. For the attainment of a definite purpose”.

Imagine the power of ten minds working in perfect harmony, working on your goals and visions. During this process, you hit a different level of awareness. You’re consciously thinking and educating each other. Ten different viewpoints to one question, all from experienced entrepreneurs. That’s the true power of participating in a Mastermind Group.

Mastermind Groups have been around for many years and only seem to be for the highly successful people. It feels like it’s been a big secret between the highly successful. Well, if you’re reading this then it’s no longer a secret.

Do you want you and your business to be highly successful? Do you want to achieve financial freedom? What does financial freedom look like for you? Can you overcome any limiting beliefs that would previously have stopped you from applying for a Mastermind Group?

Opportunities to join groups do not come around often. This maybe the first time you’ve ever read or heard about one. I would advise any business owner who wants to enjoy a fulfilled life and achieve financial freedom to join one and watch you and your business grow.


To be continued in the next issue…