One of my favourite quotes of Lou Hotlz, a retired American football coach, goes a bit like this.
“I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions”.
When was the last time you had a chance to bounce a few ideas around about challenges in your business? Or when did you last have an invigorating learning experience when others answer a series of burning questions you posed?
As business owners, we are often faced with uncertainties and challenges but struggle to find people that we can call on for advice. It can get quite lonely at times. Wouldn’t it be nice if there are always a place where people knows you by your name and eager to empathise with your situation because they have probably gone through it themselves?
The ability for business owners to ask question about their business is fundamental to growth as individuals and as a community. That’s why at SavvySME, we have invested heavily in building in the Q&A feature along with smarts built-in to ensure that your questions are answered as a priority by those who can best help you.
Here are 8 other reasons why we encourage you to ask more questions.
Reason #1: There is no such thing as silly questions
The worst kind of question is in fact the one left unasked. Just because no one in the community has asked the same question as what you had in mind, it doesn’t mean everyone already knows the answer. It doesn’t mean that no one else is interested about it either. If you’re genuinely looking for an answer, the best thing to do is ask away. Even if you are just looking for clarification or affirmation from others, ask away. Running a business is a life long learning, so rest assured that there is no such thing as silly questions.
Reason #2: Bring your support network to life
With collective experience across a wide range of business expertise here, everyone in the community has access to an incredibly powerful support network. There is but one condition. You have to make the first move to capitalise on your support network and bring it to life. Ask your questions so that others can help you. The more detail you provide, the more detail answers you can expect in return. Ask your questions so that others can identify with your situation, and share the burden of everyday challenges with you.
Reason #3: Questions help us learn as we share
In our line of work running a business, asking questions is just as important a skill to master as answering them. My team members gets annoyed with me at times, because I don’t always give answers away easily. Instead of solving the problem for them, I ask questions to push them to come up with the answers themselves. Questions can do wonders for learnings. It can stimulate, provoke, as well as inform and inspire others. Instead of just answering questions, why not try asking questions as well for a change? Questions can really help us learn as we share.
Reason #4: No one knows it all
We are all specialists in our own field. It is expected that we don’t know everything there is to know about every other aspects of our business. No one does. Even the most experienced business owners need to ask questions of the community occasionally. In fact, it is difficult for others in the community to fathom when you seem to have all the answers but no questions of your own. Reciprocating by asking questions and letting others help you with your own set of challenges shows transparency and your willingness to share, all of which is just as critical to process of building trust.
Reason #5: It is a sign of strength, not weakness
I am sure you would have come across those who are afraid of asking questions because it makes them look vulnerable, unsure or ignorant. They inevitably assume a façade that they are decisive and in control on their business, especially in front of their employees or clients. Make no mistake. Asking questions is not a sign of weakness or ignorance, but a sign of strength and intellect. Good leaders and business entrepreneurs constantly ask questions and are well aware that they do not have all the answers.
Reason #6: Slow down and seek direction first
I have made my share of mistakes in the past because I rushed to get things done without stopping to ask if I am on the right track. I was too afraid to ask for the fear that the answers might actually slow me down. I also assumed that no one else knows my business better than I do. I could not be more wrong. Had I sought advice earlier, I would have saved myself a lot of time and money. So take my advice, if you have a question you are unsure about, just ask away – do not assume the answer. Never risk rushing into the wrong actions. Ask for direction early.
Reason #7: It is a great way to engage with others
Asking questions is one of the most powerful engagement tools. It gives you control over the information you are looking for. For instance, I always ask my clients a healthy dose of questions. The more I understand about them, the better I can tailor my services to help them. My clients understand my intentions and happily work with me to achieve them. However, there is line we do not cross. Asking leading questions without any context is annoying and gives in to mistrust. Be careful with rhetorical questions that you do not come across as arrogant.
Reason #8: Practice makes perfect
As with most things in life, practice makes perfect. The sooner you start asking questions, the more practice you will have doing it. Even if you are not sure how to word or phrase your questions properly, it really does not matter. Just start by explaining the situation or challenge you are facing, and ask open questions about what people in the community think about it. The more detail you provide, the easier it is for others to understand what you are going through and be of help to you. Over time, you will find that asking questions just comes naturally.
“Whoever questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” Francis Bacon, 16th century English philosopher
Asking questions is fundamental to learning and growth as business owners. If you think you do not have any questions to ask, think again. At SavvySME, we value questions as much as answers. This is why you can actually vote on questions or follow the question that you like, as you would an article. So, just ask away. Ask your question, and this platform automatically alerts the most reputable professionals and influencers who are on standby to help. We have made it a whole lot easier to get your questions answered. It is up to you to now.
To encourage everyone in the community to ask questions, we have introduced February Question Challenge to get as many members asking as many questions they have about their business. We would love you to join us. To start, go to the Navigation Bar > Q&A > Ask Question.