When our kids head off to school, we hope they will grow friendships, widen their horizons and share experiences. But what about us? As business people, we need to follow suit and refresh our business skills.
Follow our classroom-inspired tips for business:-
Make new friends
Does your business network need attention? Take this opportunity to review your network and reconnect with old contacts but also make new connections. Don't be cliquey; aim to widen your circle. Brush up on your networking skills, and importantly, remember to listen so that you can understand and help your contacts with their needs, rather than just talking about your business.
If you're new to networking, or simply not very confident, find a networking buddy to help introduce you to the group and its individuals. Someone who can show you the ropes, provide some advice and set you in the right direction. Alternatively, offer yourself as a buddy to someone new to the network.
Share your top trumps
When networking, your goal should be to swap and share useful knowledge and information as well as your business cards. Aim to become an 'expert' in your field and gain the trust and respect of business people seeking your services. Share and engage with your connections, both online and off. Contribute advice pieces to credible blogs and via your social networks. Be seen to add value and you will become a highly valuable part of your network.
Put your hand up
Don't be afraid to acknowledge that you don't know something. Take it as an opportunity to research, to ask questions or to empower your team. Always be open to learning, and be motivated to find new solutions. Or give the challenge to your team members so that they have the opportunity to develop and shine too.
Learn new skills
As your business grows, there are always new areas to develop and new skills to learn to ensure that your business moves ahead. You and your staff should take advantage of all learning opportunities available, whether it is a webinar, seminar at a trade show or a training course. Your business will increase its efficiency and productivity, and your staff will be motivated to succeed.
Find a mentor
Finally, it's always beneficial to have a mentor. Someone, like your favourite teacher, whom you can soundboard off, share experiences, ask questions and seek guidance as you navigate your business towards success.