THE BLOG
09/30/2015 04:38 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The #1 Activity All Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs MUST Do for Success!

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Don’t you find it annoying, if not downright insulting when you read headlines that begin like the one I just wrote? When I read something promising that one “anything” will bring success, my cynical mind automatically thinks: “Yeah, right and I’m the Queen of England!”

But hold on a second! If you take the advice you are about to read, it will, in fact, lead to success. Looking to grow your business, expand your business, change direction, and offer new products or services?

Hoping to keep your business relevant over time?

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, you must keep your finger on the pulse of what your customers and clients want, today and in the future. Or you will surely be out of business!

This one activity is the only way you can do this.

Believe it or not, you are actually doing this activity right now - reading.

Reading will give you the information you need for success. Sure, there are other ingredients you will need to succeed but none will be at the heart of your success in the same way reading will be.

The Great Democratic Equalizer

Reading is what I consider to be the great democratic equalizer. Whether you are a man, woman or child, formally educated or not, small business owner, novice or established entrepreneur or corporate executive, it does not matter.

Reading does not discriminate. Its doors are open to everyone. Everyone is invited to partake in the festivities.

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Reading opens all doors to all people and holds the key to knowledge - which is at the very core of all success!

No matter how vast your knowledge, there is always more to learn. No matter how little you know, you need only open the pages in a book or browse the Internet to expand your knowledge base.

Dr. Ben Carson

Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who is currently running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, grew up in poverty. Dr. Carson claims reading changed his life. His mother required he and his brother read two books a week and write book reports. Click here to read more about how reading held the key to Dr. Carson’s success. (Dr. Carson’s brother Curtis is a rocket scientist.)

Carson said: “Knowledge is the key that unlocks all the doors. You can be green-skinned with yellow polka dots and come from Mars, but if you have knowledge that people need instead of beating you, they’ll beat a path to your door.”

What small business owner, entrepreneur or professional doesn’t want clients, customers or senior management knocking down their doors? Who doesn't want to be the “go to” expert in their field?

Millennials Reading More than Others

In case you think reading has gone the way of the horse and buggy, think again. Millennials are reading more than their parents. Click here to read this article written by Adrienne LaFrance published in The Atlantic on September 10, 2014.

A Word of Caution

Just because you read something, that doesn't mean it is true. Therefore, carefully vet the author(s) and publications you read so you know where they are coming from. Are they known to have a conservative or liberal point of view? You must always consider the source when reading so you can properly evaluate the information.

Read with an open mind – but don’t read blindly.

I’m not for one second suggesting you only read the opinions of the people and publications you agree with. As a matter of fact, I recommend you do quite the opposite. Read literature that opposes your point of view, in the hopes that you might gain a new perspective and better understanding of the other side, if you will. Perhaps you might gain a new opinion upon reading information presented from an opposing perspective. Read what your competition does so you may come away with new ideas. Read everything and anything.

Summarily, read in the pursuit of knowledge, making sure you understand the orientation of the author or publication that you are reading.

Can you think of ways that reading has contributed to your success?