According to Wikipedia, kaizen (, Japanese for “continuous improvement”) is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life.
Every small business owner and entrepreneur in general should – no – MUST apply kaizen throughout their entrepreneurial career.
Entrepreneurs are dynamic in nature (or at least, they should be…)
Entrepreneurs have to keep up with changes in the niche they are in and in the global business world.
Today, thanks to the Internet, information streams very quickly, catching unaware and non-kaizen entrepreneurs off guard. This results in poor business performance and competitive edge.
Today, entrepreneurs should blog – not to grab more opportunities anymore, but to survive the competition; If others blog, you should blog, too.
Today, entrepreneurs should be active in social media to collaborate and network with fellow forward-minded entrepreneurs – this way, you keep your competitive edge sharp, while getting precious information that will come to you sooner or later almost for free!
Today, entrepreneurs should be wise in discerning tech advances. Owning a Blackberry is nice, but is it useful to you? Owing a gadget doesn’t make you tech-savvy. Using your gadget to the max with a visible improvement in productivity is what tech-savvy all about.
And many more examples…
What if I don’t want to continuously improve?
You might said, “Well, I can hire people that are more knowledgable than I in to stay competitive.”
Not entirely wrong, as hiring people that can add value to your business is one of the essentials in entrepreneurship. However, hiring smart people without improving yourself in every facet of your personal and business life can have you, like I mentioned above, catched unguarded.
Your best employee can be your next competitor with the ability to literally swallow your business as he/she can grasp your core business well and continuously learn to improve him/herself.
You might asked, “What about I love pen-and-paper more than a Blackberry?”
That would not be a problem, if using pen-and-paper can keep your productivity level high. However, learning a thing or two about, for example, Blackberry, even if you didn’t plan to buy it, does have its own benefits, such as commencing on a business deal making with a tech-savvy clients or partners.
The point is, improving every aspect of your personal and business life can only do good for you and your business.
What if I’m too ‘lost’ or old to continuously improve?
Grasping changes are difficult, especially in adulthood.
When I was interested in a business opportunity that is beyond my skill sets and current knowledge, the ‘negative’ voice in me always say, “c’mon… it will take a long time to learn those new things. Just focus on what you have today, and everything will be a-ok. Beside, I don’t have time to learn new things!”
This is where some entrepreneurs stop being creative and, well, stay within their comfort zone. Entrepreneurs ALWAYS lack of time – this is a fact, and you can’t simply use the above reason to let yourself indulged in your comfort zone.
The thing is, when you DECIDE to learn new things, you eventually realise that it is not as hard as you think. When you look back, you’ll say, “Why didn’t I do this earlier in the first place?”
Final thought on kaizen
“it’s too late” is the phrase you have to avoid in continuously improving yourself.
I started to blog one and a half year ago. Even today, a 10 years old can blog better than me (and make a lot more money than me!) Nevertheless, this won’t stop me learning to blog and create blogs. The result of this continuous learning process: I make thousands of dollars through blogs (mainly through advertisements and selling some of my blogs.)
Having the kaizen in my life has give me the following: blogging, web design, web investing, financial, business, webmaster, law/legal, SEO/link building, gold investing, make money online, and real estate investing knowledge. And that’s only a few thing I learn through ‘kaizen’.
If I can do it, you can do it, too, even way much better than me!
Image by glenmcbethlaw.