Overview: Students are going back to school, continuing their education while simultaneously starting fresh. We think business owners should do the same thing, observing a “back-to-work season!” What do we mean by this? Read on to find out!
Swimming pools are closed and stores are having big sales on number 2 pencils, which can only mean one thing: It’s back to school season!
But while kids everywhere are eagerly anticipating — or lamenting — the start of a new school year, there are plenty of reasons for grown-up business owners to be optimistic about the new phase of the year as well.
It’s important for business owners to periodically step back and take a look at the big picture, and to think about what’s going well at work… and what has room for improvement. If you’ve been considering taking such a step back to assess your business, we’d like to propose that the beginning of the school year is the perfect time.
Young people all over the country are either starting the new school year or settling into their school routine, preparing to make new discoveries and enter a new phase in their lives.
So why not take advantage of this page-turning time of year to get a fresh start at work? Why not go back to work this fall with a new outlook and a desire to learn how to improve your business?
Read on for some of our specific tips on how to do this!
Review Your Business Philosophy
For students, back-to-school season is a time of new beginnings: new teachers, new classes, new school supplies! So how about looking at your business from a new angle?
Re-evaluate your business model. Is there any area where you’re not being as efficient as you could be? Take a good long look at your sales strategies. Are they working well for you, or might a new approach be more effective?
And consider your business’s online presence, including your website and social media activity. Is your site modern, aesthetically pleasing, and mobile-friendly? Are you posting on the social media platforms where your target audience hangs out?
It’s possible that, after reviewing all of the above, you’ll come to the conclusion that everything is working well and there’s no need to make any major changes. But if it leads you to an epiphany you wouldn’t have had otherwise, it’ll be well worth it.
>> Related Reading: Small Business Guide to Social Media
So what do you do after you’ve found room for improvement?
Getting a Fresh Start
Here are step-by-step suggestions on implementing a change at your business.
Identify the Need for Change: As you evaluate your current business model and notice things you could be doing differently, take note of exactly what needs to be changed and why. Getting to the root of your issues will help you take the next steps.
Set Clear Goals and Objectives: Define what success looks like for your business. What’s the next threshold you’d like to cross? Align your goals with your company’s existing mission and values.
Analyze Strengths and Weaknesses: Get SWOTed! By which we mean, consider conducting a SWOT analysis to understand your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This will help you know where to focus your efforts.
Develop a New Business Plan: Once you’ve figured out what changes will be helpful, outline a detailed plan with your new goals in mind. This should include marketing strategies, financial projections, operational plans, and more.
Consider Rebranding: If your business fresh start includes a significant shift in direction or major changes to your products, brand voice, or target audience, consider rebranding. You don’t have to change the name of your business — you can just update your logo or your overall branding strategy to align with your new vision.
Engage Your Team: Don’t surprise your employees — make sure they’re on board with the changes! Communicate openly and honestly about why the changes are happening and what they mean for everyone involved.
Implement Changes Gradually: A sudden overhaul can be jarring for both employees and customers. Implement changes gradually where possible, and provide plenty of information to help everyone adjust.
Monitor and Evaluate: Constantly evaluate how the changes are working. This might include monitoring sales, customer feedback, employee satisfaction, or other relevant metrics.
Stay Committed to Continuous Improvement: Understand that a fresh start isn’t a one-time thing. Stay committed to regularly evaluating and adapting your business to meet changing needs and environments. Remember, there’s another new back-to-school season just a year away!
Remember, a fresh start doesn’t mean throwing everything away and starting from scratch. It’s about making thoughtful, strategic changes to revitalize your business. Just like a student studying for their first exam of the semester, approach your fresh start carefully and deliberately to ensure success.
So where else can business owners take a cue from students going back to school?
Learn New Things
One great thing about being an adult is that you can continue your education while making your own decisions about what subjects you learn.
When fall rolls around, kids go back to school and start learning new things. You’ve probably already learned about punctuation and multiplication, but learning never has to end — even for business owners!
There are so many ways you can expand your horizons. You could read books about a specific technology or area of business that interests you. Maybe you’ve been meaning to learn about coding, or some useful new software that you haven’t tried before. Or maybe you’ve been wishing you were more of an expert on bookkeeping.
You could also take an online course to enhance your understanding of a particular topic. You can even take night classes at an educational institute near you.
Continuing your education is a fantastic way to keep your brain in good shape!
>> Related Reading: 15 Simple, Practical Tips for Learning Valuable New Business Skills
Learning Opportunities Can Come From Anywhere
Of course, your ongoing education doesn’t have to begin and end with formal book-learning. You can also learn a lot from other people!
Consider inviting a fellow entrepreneur out for coffee (or a video call) so you can share experiences and advice. We also highly recommend connecting with groups for business owners on social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Alignable, where successful people regularly dispense knowledge and wisdom.
And don’t overlook the potential of your employees! Encourage them to share ideas with you and each other. They can offer knowledge on their own areas of expertise. Who knows — you just might find your new favorite time-saving technique or customer service strategy!
Encourage Employees to Learn New Things
As you mark the occasion of back-to-school season by increasing your own knowledge bank, be sure to encourage your employees to do the same. You might consider sending them links to resources (like the aforementioned online courses) or recommend books that you found enlightening.
Learning new things is exciting, and it can motivate your employees to take their own fresh approach to their work. And anything new they learn could be something they can use in their work for your business!
>> Related Reading: How to Motivate Employees to Learn New Skills
Back-to-school season can be just as exciting for business owners as it is for students. It’s a time of new beginnings, fresh perspectives, and brand-new lessons — for everyone, including entrepreneurs.
But as we ease into fall, here’s a question: Did you manage to take a vacation this summer, or were you too busy working on your business to take time off? Returning from a relaxing summer vacation can offer an amazing opportunity to hit the “reset” button on running your business.
We’re big advocates for work-life balance, but we understand how hard it can be for hard-working business owners to take a break. That’s why we love helping those business owners by giving them one less thing to worry about!
With a website support plan from MyUnlimitedWP, you can rest assured that all the technical concerns associated with your business website are taken care of. That means you’ll have more time for that vacation. Bon voyage!