Imagine driving 20 miles in rush-hour traffic to find a boutique you planned to visit had closed 15 minutes before you arrived. You didn't call the shop in advance or check its Web site to verify the hours. After all, you'd been there last year, and it closed at 9 p.m.
What about this situation? You fly to Florida in April and don't pack a coat because as a youth, you vacationed there in April, and you frolicked comfortably on the beach in a swimsuit.
However, this time the plane approaches the airport, and the pilot announces the temperature on the ground is a cool 40 degrees.
Or, imagine taking a potential client to dinner at a bistro and waiting 90 minutes for a table, while other groups with reservations are seated within minutes of their arrival.
You didn't call the eatery in advance even though it had recently received an excellent review in the local paper: The last time you'd dined there, the bistro had refused to take reservations.
What do these scenarios have in common? In each case, incorrect, outdated information was applied to a new situation, and the results were far from desirable.
The boutique had new hours, and you were closed out; the weather changed, and you were uncomfortably cold because you weren't prepared; the bistro had a new policy, and you strained a new business relationship.
What you don't know can cause troubles. But sometimes things you think you know that turn out to be incorrect can cause even worse problems. When making decisions, it's best to put assumptions aside and find the necessary, up-to-date facts.
Our industry moves at breakneck speed. Regulations, technologies, companies, products and even applicable laws continually change. Therefore, it is vital we frequently update our industry knowledge.
Rather than assume that nothing has changed, we need to be sure that our information is current and accurate.
Here are some of the areas in which we all need to stay abreast:
When did you last attend an educational seminar or sales training event? Last year? Two years ago? Longer? You probably know enough to get by, but there is always more to learn. And new technology is continually evolving.
Not only do you need to keep educating yourself, but you also need to make sure the content of those training sessions is appropriately revised and updated.
Keep tabs on appointments and promotions within the payments space. Many leaders have been in the industry for decades. Very few have been with the same company for their entire tenure; people move on to new opportunities. It's imperative to know who is working for whom.
Our industry and its associated technologies change frequently, so it makes sense that the brainpower behind such companies and technologies will change as well. Make sure you are apprised of such changes.
Also, if you are looking for a new employment opportunity, you need to find out who is in charge at the companies that interest you. If you are seeking partnership opportunities, you need to know where your networking contacts are employed.
Stay up to date on mergers, acquisitions and product announcements. If you don't know which companies are merging, how will you know who your competitors are?
And how will you compare your equipment provider or processor to rivals if you aren't fully aware of competitive product offerings and business services?
Usually, we base our decisions on our own experiences or the experiences of others whom we know. And we assume information that was valid last week remains valid today.
We think that because others are doing something a certain way, that must be the only way to do it.
And, we are lazy. Instead of taking an extra five minutes to check into something, we wing it.
But, saving five minutes now can be very costly later. So, be sure you know the pertinent facts before you take action in any given situation.
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