You don’t know what you don’t know

As a business leader, there’s an awful lot you need to know. In addition to being an expert at your business’s core offering, you need to know about finance, marketing, business law, human resources, leadership and people management. If you stop and think about it, you might be surprised by the breadth and sheer amount of information you’ve acquired while running your business.

You have learnt a lot, and if you take the time, you can probably come up with a surprisingly long list of all the things you now know. But what about what you don’t know? You might well have a good idea of some of the areas where your knowledge is still a little lacking, and have identified subjects that you would like to learn more about as part of your business and personal growth journey.

Those are the things you know you don’t know; things you’re aware you don’t know enough about and would like to learn more of. However, what often trips people up is not the things they know they don’t know, but the things they don’t know they don’t know. If you don’t realise you have a gap in your knowledge, you will never learn about that subject until it’s too late. Ignorance is not bliss, and what you don’t know can very definitely affect both you and your business!


Knowledge is power: How to identify the gaps

What can you do about it though? Well, one of the best things is to join a business peer group. These are a great opportunity to meet with your fellow business leaders, talk about the challenges you’ve faced, how you overcame them, offer and receive advice, and generally exchange notes. By doing this, you not only support and help each other, it’s also an excellent way of discovering ways of working that you were completely unaware of, and learning approaches to solving problems that may never have occurred to you otherwise.

At the same time, you will be able to help your groupmates by providing your own experience and explaining how you’ve overcome your own challenges, and potentially open their eyes to ways of doing things that they had never considered either. This is a deeply rewarding experience, and by giving and receiving support and advice, you will build a camaraderie and establish a network of friends and contacts who will benefit you and your business for years to come.


This Autumn, join Peer Networks, a national peer-to-peer networking programme for SME business leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success.

Managed locally by SEMLEP’s Growth Hub, join together with fellow business owners and managers from across Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire to collaboratively work through your common business issues.

The next set of cohorts for the 2021-22 year begin in September. The number of places on the programme are limited, so sign up as soon as possible to guarantee your place.

You can register your interest in the Peer Networks programme here. A representative of SEMLEP’s Growth Hub will then be in touch to discuss further details about your eligibility, the cohorts and start dates.

For the Peer Networks programme, eligibility criteria do apply. Businesses should have operated for at least one year with a turnover of at least £100,000, have 5 or more employees and have an aspiration to improve. If you’re not eligible, please contact our team of dedicated Business Advisers to find out about the many other ways in which we can support your business.