That's not bliss!

There used to be a saying that ignorance is bliss. I’m not sure who came up with that because it is also said that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. So it can’t be very blissful if you do something illegal but are held responsible for it in spite of your ignorance.

In today’s business world, ignorance is certainly not bliss; it’s a recipe for lost opportunities and failure. This week I realised how ignorant I was about technology and that’s something that we can’t afford to be ignorant about, especially as we move towards this new knowledge industry.

I decided to set up a blog to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained from writing and publishing my books as well as what I’m learning about marketing.

Naturally I Googled: “How to create a blog” and got several sites that provided the information. I chose one in particular because it offered eight easy steps to creating a blog. Now they were easy in theory, but along the way I somehow got the impression that I needed to get a web hosting site to host my blog.

I ended up buying a service to host a site for me so that I could start a blog and subsequently discovered that I didn’t need to do that. Most blog sites provide you with a sub-domain where you can post your blog. Thankfully I had only bought three months so it wasn’t a fortune.

How much money do we waste, or fail to access, because of lack of knowledge? The Bible says: “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. That applies to businesses as well. If you, the business owner lack knowledge, your business will perish. So how and where can we get this knowledge that we need? Do we even recognise that we need knowledge?

Sometimes business people believe that once they know their “stuff” or their craft that’s all they need. That’s definitely an erroneous position, especially since change is happening so radically that what you know today may be surpassed by new discoveries tomorrow which could vastly improve your business.

The easiest and most accessible place to get business information is the Internet. This applies whether you are a farmer or a writer. The hard part is probably sifting out the information that you really need, and that will be useful to you, from the vast quantity of information out there.

Another source is from talking with other business people. That is why networking is so important. In the last few months, just from networking and talking to people, I have learned so much about the amazing tools that are available on the Internet and the abundance of service providers right here in Barbados that can help me move my business to the next level.

Who are you talking to? Talk to people outside of your industry; cross-fertilisation is a great thing.

There are so many opportunities to network and most of them are free. Next Monday the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation is having a free forum on “Economies of the Future” – Exploring the financing needs of the future. Does your business need finance? Then you know where to be on Monday, at the Plantation Garden at 6 p.m.

Are you interested in writing? Did you attend the NCF’s free workshop on poetry and writing? We really have no excuse for not accessing the knowledge that is available to us and using it for the benefit of our businesses.

It used to be that in Barbados (hope it’s not still like this) that people did not like to share knowledge because they felt that if you knew more than them somehow it would make you more powerful. Knowledge is power, but not hoarding it, sharing it.

When you share your knowledge people begin to recognise that you have something valuable that they need and they will come to you and tell other people about you. Don’t be afraid to give away your knowledge, it will come back to you in other ways.

My husband is an engineer and he is always giving free advice to friends and anyone who calls him for information. As a result people have begun to know that if you want to get information about a rate or about whether a building is sound or whatever they can call him and he is always willing to share his knowledge.

I believe that some of the work he has gotten has resulted from some of these same people, who he has given free advice to, recommending his services because they have confidence (based on the advice that he gave them) that he is able to deliver what is needed.

So make sure that you are not ignorant on what is available out there, in your industry and beyond. Don’t be afraid to ask for information, and more importantly, be willing to share what you do know with others. After all ignorance is no longer bliss.

* Donna Every is a motivational speaker and trainer. She is the author of four books including her debut novel, The Merger Mogul.

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