Today I met with two very different customers. One was depressed about how his business was going and its bleak outlook, while the other was very optimistic and had huge plans for diversification and growth. Several years ago, before the Global Economic Crisis, both businesses were very similar. So why are they so different today?

I don't know so much about the first business, but what I do know about the second (and more successful) business is that its owner spends most of his time outside his comfort zone. He's always learning about new parts of the glass and window industry, learning about new technologies which may or may not help his business, and bleeding people like myself for any information which might help him. He's also got a history of trying new things, based on his own analysis of why they'll work, and in most cases they do. They may not be things others do, but that doesn't stop him. He's an interesting mix of optimist and analytical realist.

The history of the glass and window industry has many entrepreneurs like the second customer. They tend to get noticed as their businesses get larger.

In the words of Vincent Van Goph, "The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear."