How well do you know what’s going on in businesses beyond your area of expertise? Sometimes we’re so focused on our little corner of the business world that we ignore what’s happening around us. And while it’s good to be an expert in your field, taking a look at what’s happening in other areas can be really eye opening!
Here are a couple of reasons why it can be beneficial to you—and the growth of your business.
Find Help for Growing Your Business. Sometimes we get so focused on growing our own businesses that we think we have to do everything ourselves. And while there can be financial and strategic advantages to keeping things in house, there are times when that can actually hold us back.
I’ll use software as an example. You may have developed a great piece of software—but you don’t have an app that allows it to be used on an iPhone or a Droid. You could spend the time and money to develop the app in house. But if developing apps like that isn’t your area of core competency, it may take you longer and cost you more—and it might not even work as well as if you hired someone who specializes in apps like that to create it for you. If you’re aware of what is going on in related industries, you might be aware of that opportunity.
Find New Markets for Your Business: This is almost the flipside of what I just mentioned. It could be that what you do could be used in an industry that you never envisioned. Let’s say you develop some kind of solution for the defense industry. Could your solution—with some minor modifications—be just as effective in the civilian sector? Are there private businesses that would benefit from what you do? If all you look at are defense contracts, then that’s all you’ll see.
So how do you expand your horizons beyond what you’re familiar with? Read general business publications—whether online or offline. Don’t limit yourself to publications that talk only about your own industry. At least skim the headlines to see what’s going on. Develop business relationships with people from other industries. Attend local or regional business gatherings where multiple industries are represented. Don’t go with the idea of selling—go to learn and to share about things you have in common.
When it comes to business vision, focus is good—but myopia can keep you from discovering new possibilities. Keep your eyes open to what’s going on around you.