Most business leaders don’t go to school to learn how to run a business. Instead it may be a major in business or another academic focus. The good news is colleges and universities are acknowledging the changing workforce with offerings in, entrepreneurship, as well as professional internships being a required part of the curriculum. Still you can’t obtain a college degree with a major in CEO, president or business owner. A title is only awarded with real life business experience. Perhaps explaining why you, a co-worker or a business associate may on occasion say: They don’t teach this in school!
- Successful business leaders – CEOs, presidents and business owners – are educators.
- Successful business leaders – CEOs, presidents and business owners – are students of business.
In 3 very distinct ways:
1) Educate self
2) Educate employees
3) Educate potential and current customers.
Let’s explore each so you will have a better understanding for MORE success, MORE profit and company growth.
1) Educate Self: Whatever studies you may have pursued, it didn’t fully prepare you to be the CEO, president or business owner of a company. Leading a business requires constant education. Successful business leaders have a real thirst for knowledge. Are inquisitive. Want to know what is out there and on the horizon as it relates to business.
But don’t forget the basics either.
How much do you know about: sales, accounting, marketing, product development and production, customer service, negotiation and contracts, computers, human resources, management or legal issues pertaining to your business?
These are the elements that hold and bind a company together.
Granted you can’t be an expert in everything and yes, you can hire skilled and talented people who know about the things you don’t. Still it is imperative for you to know as much as you can so that you have at least a basic working knowledge. It is critical to understand how everything fits together to run a business efficiently, effectively and profitably.
How do successful CEOs, presidents and business owners continue their education?
- Seminars – both self improvement and professional
- Professional or business networking associations
- Attending business industry conventions
- Trade publications, newspapers, blogs, business publications and trade journals
- Social business media including LinkedIn
- Audio and video
- Observing others in every day business life
- Learning from mistakes
- Having a mentor, business advisor or working with a business consultant, to name a few.
2) Educate Employees: Successful CEOs, presidents and business owners encourage employees to further their business education. Not just with initial, new hire training but with ongoing, advanced training. Education enhances work force skills as well as motivates at the individual level. Education also puts your company at the forefront of your industry. It can solidify your reputation with customers as well as vendors and those seeking employment. It demonstrates you care about the professional development of your employees. An added bonus is education can also aid in employee retention.
Education for employees can include:
- Motivational speeches
- Bulletin board postings
- Email updates on company news
- Company or department meetings
- Employee recognition
- Out-of-the-office seminars
- Online training
- One-on-one mentorship or coaching
- Best selling books
- Trade publications
- Education scholarships
- Taking time during the business day to stop by an employee’s work station or pause when you see a co-worker in the hallway to talk for a moment about the day or project being worked on.
The key is to be consistent, creative and appropriate to the needs of your employees. In return, employees will:
- Look forward to coming to work each day
- Proud to represent the company
- Motivated to be productive on the job.
3) Educate Customers: If you continue to educate yourself as a business leader and as head of a company; if you educate on a continual basis your employees at all levels, then educating your customers is the next natural step.
Think of education as part of the sales cycle. If you educate then your company and the products or services represented are easily sold to current and potential clients.
Because your customers will appreciate the education rather than a hard sell approach. They will understand more about your company, its products and services, the people that represent the company and most importantly, why they need to buy from you versus your competitor.
How can you educate your customers?
For example, through:
- Marketing materials
- The company website
- Social media (Including does your company have a page on LinkedIn?)
- Email campaigns
- Product demonstrations
- Free use trials
- Attending industry meetings and conventions
- Letting customers be the “first” to know about what’s new
- Regularly scheduled visits with your customers to see what their needs are and how your company can better serve them.
Making a commitment to education may seem to be an overwhelming task. Many CEOs, presidents and business owners might simply convince themselves they can’t take the time away from other pressing company business. But in the end those business leaders who make the investment in educating themselves, their employees and their customers will see the investment pay off in much higher levels of long term growth and success.
The bottom line is that a better educated business leader who in turn cultivates better educated employees and customers is better positioned to ensure the future growth and prosperity of the business.
So look around your company. Take some time for yourself. Think carefully about your employees, your customer base, and how you can help everyone to better understand all aspects of the business. The investment you make today is sure to propel you and your company into new levels of prosperity and growth where the company will continue to flourish.
To your success!
Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress throughout the United States. Get MORE from your business! Talk with Howard: 888-738-1855.