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Sonoma County Gazette
Marketing 101

Learn Something New Every Day

May 2, 2018
by Elizabeth Slater


By Elizabeth Slater

I am always surprised when I come across people who believe that they have nothing to learn Yet it is rare that there is not something new to learn, a new idea, a different way of thinking about something we may already know or even something about ourself, or our reactions, in every situation in which we find ourselves.

All we have to do is let out the ‘Learner.’ Access that beginner’s mind. The beginner’s mind is that place inside us that just allows us to learn without judgment or embarrassment. Think of babies and small children. When babies are learning to walk they will get up and fall down so many times it’s astounding. Yet the children never get an attitude. They do not totter there thinking that they will never learn to walk, then sit down on the floor and stay there until they are forty. They just keep on trying until they can walk. Small children get frustrated but they don’t give up…that is the beginner’s mind. Why do we need to cultivate our beginner’s mind? One word…Business! Business is requiring us, on a regular basis, to do more and more things that we have never done before. Just think about the advances in Social Media and Marketing, there is always something new coming around the corner.

Inside of us we have both a Knower and a Learner.

As we get older we access our Knower part more and more because it is more comfortable for us, and we access the Learner less and less. Have you stopped being a learner and become only a knower? The spring (a time of renewal) is a great time to take a step back and think about the things you might need to learn to make your businesses stronger. Or you may choose to learn something just because you would like to.

My sister, on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday, decided she was going to learn to play the banjo and she did. Years later she upgraded to a better banjo (even having one custom made) and now is exceptional proficient, playing professionally as well as for her own enjoyment. Her choice of instrument has also afforded me the opportunity to make jokes about banjo playing and banjo players (sorry Mags), which brings me great enjoyment. However, I truly admire her willingness to learn something new.

Much of my year is spend presenting seminars at conferences, to associations and individual businesses. For me, it is a thrilling and rewarding time. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the light in people’s eyes during a seminar when I share a process that is new to them. When I see someone furiously writing I know that I have done my job. However, catch me during a break in a seminar and you will usually find me furiously writing. I am hurriedly jotting down things my audience has said so I will not forget them; because it is not only what I can teach people that is so exciting but what they can teach me. Every time I present a seminar I learn from the people attending. As a friend of mine loves to remind me, “Don’t believe everything you think, Elizabeth.”

We don’t know what we don’t know. 

There may be some things about your business that you have overlooked that are making you less successful. Don’t only look at your business from your angle, ask others, your customers, your staff what you are doing right and what you could do better.

Hire some mystery shoppers to come in and assess your business.

If you want any help with organizing a mystery shop, drop me an email ( for tips on how to create the questionnaire and who to hire. Here is your first tip, don’t hire your friends or people you know to do it. They won’t want to hurt your feelings so they won’t tell you what you need to know.

The important lesson through all of this

—be open to learning something about your business, your methods of doing business or yourself at every opportunity. This motivation to learn will make you and your company more successful and more profitable Or as an employee make your more valuable to your employer. No matter how you choose to learn, through books, seminars, conferences, listening to tapes in the car or through listening to others in the same business, learning is what keeps you energized and enthusiastic about business. If you are energized and enthusiastic you pass this energy and enthusiasm along to your employees. They, in turn, will pass it along to customers who then promote our business and products to the rest of the world.

A tip of the glass from me to you!


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