In business, learning is not so much of a curve as a vertical line with no end point. Whether you’ve just taken a deep breath and handed in your notice or you’ve been trading for years, being prepared to adapt and change with the times is vital to understanding the needs of your customers. To stay ahead of your competitors you have to be progressive, dynamic and always receptive to learning.
Business isn’t all about hard figures and the bottom line; it’s your skills and services that will give you the edge – not your prices. Read on for some tips on how to develop the personal potential that will get you professional results. Develop entrepreneurial skills and boost your business:
Keep up with the competition
Even for the most up-to-date practitioners, social media is constantly growing and evolving. It would be negligent to overlook this powerful marketing tool. If you choose to develop your social, it can create an online community of brand evangelists, communicate your products and services and show the personality behind your business.
It’s also a great way to scope out the competition, harvest valuable feedback and forge valuable connections. All you need to invest in your social is some time and use competitive analysis tools.
Education, education, education
It can’t be stressed enough: every day is a school day in business. The most successful entrepreneurs understand every facet of their operation, and can just as easily fill in a tax return as they can tweet about their latest product or brief a designer to get the desired outcome.
Personal coaching can be valuable for identifying weaknesses in an organisation. Consider bringing an outsider in for a bit of one-to-one work, assertiveness training, or perspective.
Find an inspirational mentor
Having someone in your life who has experienced the setbacks and triumphs of being a business owner can give you one thing it’s impossible to learn: the benefit of experience. If you don’t know any likely candidates, approach someone in a similar field and offer your services in exchange for tips and assistance.
Knowing when to be humble and take advice can be difficult, especially if you have a strong personality, but it can pay dividends.
Forge great interpersonal skills
Networking, prospecting and sustaining client relationships are all dependent on great interpersonal skills. If you find yourself pressed up against the wall, lurking uneasily in the cloakroom or drinking to unwind at seminars, it might be time to consider giving these skills a boost.
Cultivate your nerve by taking a college course with an interpersonal component, or consider studying abroad. Opt for a multicultural society; the United Arab Emirates, for example, nurtures a strong international community of global citizens.
Get out there and work for it
Not everyone is a natural salesperson, but if you haven’t got the passion to push your product or service, it’s unlikely your customers will care about it. Even if it’s not your thing, put aside a few hours a week to prospect new customers and revisit inactive accounts.
Sales is more often about persistence than securing an immediate contract, so plan out a positive customer journey, which may begin with a call and progress to a face to face meeting.
With the numbers of self-employed workers on the rise, and many small businesses transcending status from sole trader to registered business, there’s never been a better time to evaluate your skill set. Personal development is an ongoing process. Make time for it, and it’s likely you’ll make money from it, too.
Image by Steven Depelo,
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