Why Application of Knowledge is Vital for Business Success


As a business owner, do you understand the difference between information, education, and application?

Nearly all business owners understand the importance of growth for their business.

However, not all of them grasp the subtle differences between information, education, and application and how each contributes to this growth. 


A Recent Story

I met a business owner at a networking event recently. When they asked me what I did, I mentioned that I was a business coach who supported business owners in implementing growth strategies. I asked them whether they had a business coach. 

Their response was not entirely unexpected, they said, “Why would I pay for something I can do myself?”. 

I asked, “What was proposed?”. 

“It was the strategy of “Scaling Up”, they smiled.

‘Scaling Up’ is a book by Verne Harnish, published in 2014. The book covers crucial elements, including strategy, people, execution, and cash. It offers insights into creating a compelling vision, hiring and retaining the right talent, executing precisely, and ensuring a steady cash flow. 

I asked the business owner whether they’d since implemented the principles of ‘Scaling Up’ into their business as the business coach had proposed.

They replied, “Not yet”. 

So, the owner has the information – the book. He may have the education – the ability to apply the information to his business. But neither of those two matters if he cannot apply the information and education and transform his business.

(That’s where the effectiveness of an expert business coach is truly realised – the application or implementation of information and education into business operations – but that’s for another article). 

Understanding these differences between information, education, and application enables a business owner to leverage these aspects effectively. 


The Role of Information 

Information is the raw data you collect about your business, competitors, market trends, and customer behaviours. It’s the foundation upon which knowledge is built. Information is power, as it equips business owners with relevant facts and figures. 

For instance, knowing your competitors’ pricing strategies, your target market’s preferences, or the latest technological advancements can position your business for success. It’s about being aware of the variables that affect your business environment and using this awareness to make informed decisions. 

But information also applies internally to how a business owner sets up their business for success. 

In the book ‘Scaling Up’, the information is the four areas of focus for business owners.

Strategy: The book emphasises the importance of having a clear business strategy, which includes a strong value proposition that differentiates you from competitors. It advises businesses to focus on a niche market first before scaling up.

People: Businesses should invest in finding the right people and nurturing their talent. The book highlights the importance of maintaining a solid company culture and aligning everyone’s goals.

Execution: The book recommends that businesses execute their plans with precision. This includes setting short-term, measurable goals and constantly monitoring progress.

Cash: The book stresses the importance of stable cash flow to fuel growth. It advises businesses to be mindful of their spending and to constantly seek ways to improve profitability.

However, information on its own is not enough for business growth. It’s the education and application of this information that makes a difference.


The Power of Education 

Education is the process of interpreting and understanding the information collected. It involves learning concepts, theories, and methodologies relevant to your business. This learning can be formal, such as a business degree, or informal, like attending workshops, webinars, or industry-specific training.

Education enables business owners to make sense of the collected information. For example, understanding the principles of marketing can help you interpret market trends and customer behaviours. Moreover, education equips business owners with problem-solving skills, strategic planning capabilities, and the ability to innovate, all of which are crucial for business growth.

A key challenge for ‘education’ is the willingness of business owners to accept change.

I describe the critical beliefs of business owners related to business change in this link. https://www.linkedin.com/posts/craigastephens_businessowners-motivation-businessbeliefs-activity-7077072632373743616-xTsR?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

Unless business owners are prepared to understand and analyse information about and relevant to their business, they’ll never be prepared to apply it and change how their business operates.

But understanding the theory and learning for business is not enough. The real test lies in putting these theories into practice. 


The Impact of Application 

Application refers to the practical implementation of the knowledge gained from education. It’s about taking the theories learned and applying them to real-world situations in your business. Successful application requires critical thinking, creativity, and adaptability. 

For instance, applying marketing principles to your business might involve developing a unique marketing strategy that appeals to your target audience, leveraging social media for brand visibility, or using data analytics to understand customer behaviours. 

By applying what you’ve learned, you can innovate, solve problems, improve efficiency, and drive growth in your business. It’s the arena where the rubber meets the road.


The Interplay of Information, Education, and Application

It’s important to note that these three elements—information, education, and application—are not standalone factors. They are interconnected facets that work together to foster business growth. 

Information forms the basis for education, providing the raw data that needs to be understood. Education interprets this information, providing the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively understand and leverage this data. The application puts this education to work, implementing strategies and making decisions based on understanding the information. 

In my experience, the biggest challenge for business owners is the area of application.

Despite being written almost 30 years ago, the information and the education of ‘The E-Myth’ written by Michael E. Gerber is still worthy of application today.

Interestingly, its principles are not that dissimilar to the principles of ‘Scaling Up’ some 20 years later. I guess that’s why it’s described as a seminal work. Perhaps business consultants can continue to publish the same business strategies because businesses aren’t applying them.

The book proposes that the key to a successful business lies not in the owner’s expertise in their field but in the systems they create. 

In conclusion, understanding the distinctions and the interplay between information, education, and application is vital for any business owner seeking to grow their business. 

Each plays a unique role; when effectively leveraged, these elements can provide a roadmap to business success.

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