It’s no big secret that I’ve coached more “up-and-comer” Internet entrepreneurs to guru status than anyone else. Heck, that’s why I’m often referred to as “the guru to the gurus.”

So it’s no big surprise that I’m often asked…

What single trait separates the winners from the losers?

My answer: Winners spend time THINKING!

Yep, you read that right. It’s that simple.

That’s one of the reasons I enjoy blogging. It forces me to think. Better yet, blogging forces me to think about the concerns of my prospects. And the more I think about ways to solve their challenges… the more my advantage grows over my competitors.

But today, we’re not talking about blogging, thinking about our prospects’ challenges, or solving our prospects’ problems.

Nope. Today we’re talking about how you can grow your business by thinking.

You see, most Internet marketers make a disastrous mistake. They falsely assume that “knowing more” is more important than “thinking better.”

So they spend an inordinate amount of time learning more instead of thinking more.

What about you? Are you spending more time learning than thinking?

If I were to guess, I’d say you’ve already invested plenty of time (or plan to) in learning lots of different things related to online marketing and growing your business.

Now don’t get me wrong. That’s important. But unless you did some focused thinking first, the odds are high that you’ve learned many things that aren’t really necessary for growing your business right now.

I’m talking about the difference between “just-in-case” learning and “just-in-time” learning.

Right about now, you’re probably expecting me to present you with a persuasive logical argument in favor of better thinking. But I’m not going to do that…

Why? Because one personal experience on your end will trump a thousand logical arguments on mine.

So today, I want you to think about your business for 60 minutes — and I assure you… it won’t be easy.

Specifically, here’s what I want you to do…

1. Spend 15 minutes identifying all the obstacles currently standing in the way of your business goals. Then choose the one you believe will give you the biggest payoff if eliminated.

2. Next, spend 15 minutes trying to uncover the root cause of that obstacle. You can do it by thinking about the obstacle and asking yourself, “Why am I experiencing this stumbling block?” When you have an answer to that question, ask yourself WHY about your answer. Keep repeating the process until you’ve drilled down to the root cause of the obstacle — at least five levels below the surface.

3. Now, spend 15 minutes brainstorming as many different approaches as you can come up with to dealing with the root cause of the problem. Choose the solution you believe to be best.

4. Finally, for the last 15 minutes, think through all the steps you’d need to take to execute the solution you just identified.

Then… get to work on it!

In other words, take action immediately.

The idea is to minimize the time from the conception of your plan to its completion.

That’s what winners do. They first spend time thinking through new solutions to their problems. And when a new solution works, they not only get an immediate payoff, they also have new intellectual capital they can use (and sometimes sell) over and over again.

So, do this thinking exercise today. Then come back here and tell me how it went for you.

[Ed. Note: Thinking deeply and seriously about your business goals on a regular basis is a must for entrepreneurs who want to a build profitable, sustainable venture. But thinking isn’t enough. As Rich Schefren explains in his essay today, you also have to take action on what you discover.

At Early to Rise’s 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference, you won’t just build an online business from scratch in only five days. You’ll also learn how to look at your growing business with a critical eye and come up with strategies for overcoming the obstacles that might be standing in the way of your success.

Rich Schefren’s businesses have done over $35 million in sales. A renowned business strategist, Rich coaches many of today’s top Internet gurus and service providers on streamlining their businesses while exploding their profits. Learn more at www.StrategicProfits.com.]