Two recent articles in the New York Times caught my attention. The first was an economics story in the New York Times Magazine that talked about research and development and how the U.S. is no longer spending enough on R&D. China is poised to run us over.
The second article was an opinion piece entitled “The Joy of Silence,” by Pico Iyer, about a business meeting in a a luxury “black hole” hotel, which had no Internet access, TV or cell phone reception. Instead of being constantly interrupted by technology, people used the downtime to think and be quiet. (Mr. Iyer has gone further than most people in his quest for more silence, by moving to rural Japan.)
These articles had two things in common that relate to us as small business owners:
- We need to spend time on research and development, just like larger businesses.
- In my case (and probably yours too, if you’re the business owner), this R&D might need to include downtime, away from the phone/internet/TV and all other screens.
Here are some ways small business owners can do research and development for their businesses:
- Take classes and read print publications (you can read them online, but reading print will get you away from screens). For example, I would like to know more about what helps people change, and incorporate this research into my individual and group client work.
- Create more downtime in our schedules.
- Keep closer tabs on the competition.
- Do research with clients about what works and doesn’t work for them.
I’d love to hear what you think. Now, I know we don’t need more things to do as small business owners. But have you ever thought about incorporating research and development into your business plan? What’s the best way to do R & D for your own business? Comment below.