This week’s roundup will be a bit different to my previous ones. That’s because I want to have a look at a few of the important business lessons that I’ve learnt recently. However, not all of them are learnings that I’ve completely internalised, but bit by bit I’m trying to live by them a little more.

Lots of these learnings came from two amazing Drive the Network events during the summer. At each of them we talked about A-Z of business, with each letter of the alphabet representing different challenges or lessons, pros or cons and tips or tricks.

If you’d like to find out more about the A-Z of business project, you can check out this Facebook thread.

A-Z of business

? Accountability and action go hand in hand

Both of these words – ‘accountability’ and ‘action’ – have a strong connection to the setting of goals. In business (as well as in marketing), you need to set yourself clear goals, otherwise you won’t know where you’re going and if you’re on track!

What else should you consider when setting goals?

  • Write them down
  • Break them down into smaller steps
  • Share them with others to ensure accountability
  • Be clear on what your outcomes are
  • You can stick with a pen and paper or you can use apps like Google Suite or Trello to have your goals at your fingerprints wherever you go.

? Associates
? Attitude
? Advice

? Be you! Be authentic, be open, be honest, be vulnerable and be true to your core values

In today’s busy and crowded world, it’s really important to be authentic to your true self. Especially if you’re a small business owner and if your business is heavily based on you as a person, you need to make sure you’re coming across as YOU.

Don’t try to be someone else, or pretend you’re different. Everyone else is already taken and you’ll come across as fake and untrustworthy.

Remember that people buy from PEOPLE they know, like and trust. And people can’t get to know you without you being open and honest with them. They can’t like you if you’re not being real and relatable. And they can’t trust you if you’re not being yourself.

Be the best YOU that you can be!

? Brain space
? Break the rules
? Believe in yourself
? Balance

? Community, collaboration, consistency, clear communication

These are only a few of my favourite C words!

Community and collaboration are really important to me – both online and offline. Running your own business can be lonely, so surrounding yourself with like-minded people is crucial for business growth, as well as to stay sane.

Consistency is another favourite of mine. I usually use it when it comes to social media, but it’s equally important when it comes to networking, building relationships, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercise and self-care routine.

Clear communication is also important for multiple reasons. It’s important in your marketing to have focussed and clear comms towards your customers – making sure that your messaging is resonating with them Clear communication is also important when it comes to outsourcing, bringing new team members on board and collaboration. Last but not least, for clearer internal communication and understanding your inner language is crucial to maintaining a healthy body and mind.

? Creativity, Challenge, Clarity
? Determination and delegation
? Experimentation and excitement
? Fear, Failure and Freedom
?… and so on

A few more lessons learnt

These are just a few examples of how the business alphabet might work and how each letter can teach you an important lesson. Below are a few more ideas that I captured during these meetings.

One of the most challenging words for all independent solopreneurs is HELP:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • When struggling, focus more on what you’ve done than what you haven’t done
  • See what you can learn from hindsight

Another word that we’re often uncomfortable talking about is ‘MONEY’.

We’re often too ashamed to ask for money. Entrepreneurs who are just starting out (myself included in the beginning) often struggle to price themselves properly, as they don’t feel comfortable putting their price up. It might be because of the lack of self-worth, fear of losing the client, internalised shame of looking too greedy or any other reason.

Freelancers and small business owners also often lack sales skills. They started their own business because they love what they do – their passion lies within particular skills. But often they don’t realise that to run a successful business they need to be the sales guy/gal (as well as the admin, finance director, marketing executive, HR manager and so on).

When it comes to pricing your services/products, remember that there’s an unlimited amount of money in the world. You don’t need to worry that by increasing your prices and charging what you’re worth you’ll be stealing someone else’s fortune.

When talking about money with a potential client, don’t put yourself down by explaining your price. Answer questions about your prices with the same clarity in your voice as if you were telling someone the time. This will make you sound more confident and it’ll make you more convincing.

Remember what pain/problem you solve! Base your pricing on the value you provide, not the cost for the company. What are the benefits? Explain why working with you is an investment and not an expense.

What word describes the most important business lesson that you’ve learnt recently? Let me know! Tweet me @lenkakopp.

Book Corner

When I started thinking about which book(s) should go in this week’s book corner, there was one that immediately stepped out: Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women from Otegha Uwagba.

I’d heard a lot about this book before I bought it. I saw lots of people singing praise about it on Instagram, screenshots from this book kept showing up on my Facebook timeline, quotes from the author were all around my Twitter and even people on LinkedIn seemed to love it. Well, if something can infiltrate every single one of my social media feeds, there must be something about it!

It turns out that the Little Black Book is actually pink. Erm, that was a surprise. But at least it was little – the perfect pocket size.

The book description reads “Full of fresh ideas and no-nonsense practical advice. This ravel-sized career handbook is guaranteed to become your go-to resource when it comes to building the career you want.”

Now it might be because I’m reading this book two years after its original publishing date or maybe because I do read a lot and listen to a lot of podcasts regularly, but I haven’t found that many fresh ideas in there. However, the rest was absolutely true – this book is filled with simple, no-nonsense, practical advice. And thanks to its size, you can take it with you wherever you go and have it on hand whenever you need inspiration!

Here are some gems I’ve gleaned:

Power Hour

“Resist the temptation to check your emails or social media accounts first thing in the morning, as you run the risk of falling down an Internet rabbit hole. Instead, dedicate the first hour of your working day – when your mind is at its freshest – to establishing what your priorities are for the day ahead and making start on them.”

Don’t surround yourself with yourself

“Don’t be afraid to open your work process up to others – if you’ve hit a wall, talking things through with someone else can really help. A fresh pair of eyes usually helps you look at problems from a different perspective.”

Change your scenery

“Don’t forget to mix it up once in a while. If you usually work from home, try to spend one or two days a week working from a different environment, whether it’s your local library, a dedicated co-working space or a chilled-out cafe.”

I must agree with this one – especially with the point of finding a co-working space to work from a few days a week. Having a dedicated office space makes a huge difference to my productivity, creativity, as well as my mental health.

It’s not only about having a professional-looking space to work from (that has proper desks and chairs to assure I’m sitting correctly), but it’s as much about the people working from there as well. Plus working from outside of your home forces you to get out, walk/cycle/commute, which can be a valuable time to get some headspace, think things through and get some fresh air.

Have you read this book? What’s your favourite piece of advice from it? Let me know in comments or tweet me at @lenkakopp.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (*).

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.