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Five lessons from grade school that apply to your small business
This post by guest blogger Christy Nichols appears in our series Small Business 500.
Back in school, you probably used to wonder when you would apply basic classroom lessons like algebra later on in life. Well, you may not be calculating the pythagorean theorem on a daily basis, but there are lots of valuable lessons from your grade school days that are worth revisiting when it comes to running your small business.
1. Organized meetings
Back in your elementary school days, your teacher probably had each day carefully scheduled, with time for math, science, and English. Take note, and make sure you schedule your meeting time clearly! Every time your partners get together, the meeting should have a clear agenda. Each agenda item should be allocated to a different person, and a time limit for each item should be set. Allow for enough time for the discussion to reach its objective, but keep to the schedule to allow for more focused productivity.
2. Keep to deadlines
You wouldn’t have handed your homework in late, would you? Now that you’re all grown up, make sure you stick to those great habits! Each task should have a clear objective and a deadline for achievement.
3. Follow up
You know how you used to get report cards? Now, it’s your turn to give some feedback! Because each task you perform has a specific purpose, it’s important that you use the results of each task in some way. Follow up is important because it can be easy for important tasks to slip through the cracks. With follow-up procedures in place for each activity you carry out, you can avoid losing sight of what’s important.
Broken-telephone was fun and all, but when it comes to your business it’s important to make sure the right message is getting across. Communication is essential for:
- maintaining your status as a thriving or expanding entity
- garnering new contacts
- increasing your public profile.
Reaching out to others who are in a similar line of business and maintaining that contact will help solidify a positive reputation in your business arena.
5. Don’t do too much too soon
Did you every try to do track and volleyball, run for student council, edit the school paper, learn the cello, and join the debate team? It’s just not sustainable! Once your company is gaining momentum, it will be easy to visualize the expanse to which your company can grow. However, be sure you are able to meet the demands of your clients, and that you have built a solid support structure within your company to provide for your clients. Creating demand is a good thing. Disappointing hundred of clients who love your company because you can’t follow through with product is not so good. Pace the growth of your company steadily and solidly.
—Christy Nichols is an accomplished writer and teacher, and co-founder of EDventure International. With a keen zest for life and a passion for travel, she’s zorbed down the English hillsides, frozen in a Bulgarian mountain hut, climbed to the top of an erupting volcano in Sicily, and danced the Pentozali in Crete. EDventure International is an educational leadership volunteer organization, offering leadership and personal development certification to participants who volunteer for projects in the developing world. Participants create positive change in these communities, while gaining invaluable life experience and sense of achievement in a safe and positive environment.