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5 back-to-school lessons for business leaders

With students across the UK making their way back to schools and universities this week, after months of anticipation, a brand new school year is at last on the horizon. 

But the ‘back-to-school buzz’ isn’t just for students…

If you feel like your new year’s resolutions went out of the window long ago, then now could be the perfect time to start afresh. In fact, setting your goals at a natural transition point, such as a birthday or a change in season, is highly effective – according to a popular theory named the Fresh Start Effect.

As an entrepreneur, there’s a lot to be learnt from back-to-school season. So we’ve put together our top lessons to help you bring those business goals back into focus!

Build your routine

It takes a good few weeks for students to find their feet when entering a new phase of school-life at the best of times, and given the long break and unpredictable climate this will be especially true. If you’re in the early stages of your business or embarking on a new business recovery strategy, this is very much going to be the same scenario for you too.

It’s common to experience a trial & error period when getting to grips with what works best in terms of your operations and the results you’re hoping to achieve.

Be patient and don’t be afraid to make some mistakes. Every challenge presents a new opportunity to learn and take steps toward a more successful routine that helps you get to where you want to be.

Try setting aside time in your diary each week to monitor your results and recap your plans. This is a great way to keep on top of your goals and ensure that they’re not drifting out of sight.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

This age-old saying is just as important for entrepreneurs as it is for students revising for their annual exams! Whether it’s a new campaign, a product launch, or an event – failing to have a solid plan in place can lead to a whole host of issues you might not have even considered.

It’s important to think about all possible challenges and outcomes you could encounter, especially in the current changing environment. The better you prepare, the better your results will be. Explore what you’ll do if your budget runs out more quickly than anticipated. What happens if profits are not as high as you predicted? What if you’re short on team members?

Pinpointing potential issues now will help you to more easily navigate through any potential obstacles you might encounter further down the line.

Do your homework

No matter what stage your business is at, there’s always room for improvement. The earlier you are in your business stages, the more important it is to research your competition, understand your audience, clue-up on your financial options, and get to know your local community. But even if you’re already a well-established business, research plays a vital role in any plans for recovery & growth.

Not only will thorough research help you to more clearly understand how and where your brand fits into the market, but it will also help you to uncover any gaps or opportunities that might hugely enhance your service offering and boost your results.

Branch out

There’s no such thing as a silly question. Just as we’d encourage children to speak out if they’re unsure, or to approach a teacher for help, entrepreneurs should never shy away from mentorship. Young entrepreneurs, especially, can learn a lot from someone who has already been in their position. But likewise, even the most established business leaders can still seek advice and growth from a business mentor.

A mentor can put you in touch with important industry connections, provide you with valuable insights, and guide you through any pain points you might be experiencing.

Partnering with companies who complement your product or service is also another really effective way of expanding your market and strengthening your offers – giving you the opportunity to reach new audiences and create an even better end product.

Find a work-life balance

With hectic schedules and never-ending paperwork,  finding time to take a break can be difficult – even more so when we’re working remotely or with less staff – and this is often something many business owners neglect. But just as extra-curricular activities are a key part of any school routine, taking time to enjoy passions outside of your business is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.

If you let your business consume you, you’ll often notice a negative impact on your work and may even find you’re more susceptible to ‘hitting a brick wall’. Taking some quality time out allows you to refuel and reignite your creative output – often leading to some of the best and most lucrative ideas.

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