“Back To School” Business Growth Advice

by | Aug 14, 2020

This week, my kids went back to school.

Virtually.

Every kid is on their own computer. The teacher is doing a live stream. And, in our school district, the kids are expected to be online from 8:15 am to 3:05 pm.

Within the first 30 minutes of getting back to school, I had:

  • A child doing other things on their Chromebook, not school
  • A child frustrated because they couldn’t log in to their class
  • A child hijack the chat
(I have a few kids.)

For those first 30 minutes, all I could think was, “It’s gonna be a long year. I hope we all survive.”

But once the kids had their first break and we got all the programs working, I started thinking differently. I saw the parallels between what my kids are going through and what business owners (jumping to the next stage of their business) experience.

So here are some “back to school” business growth tips:

Stop Surviving and Embrace the Plan

We spent the entire summer in confusion. Would the kids be going back to school? What would in-person school look like? Would we start on time? Ect.

Not knowing the plan prevented us from moving forward.

But here’s the crazy thing…once the plan was announced, we still couldn’t move forward. Because, as parents, we were staring at the whole thing in disbelief. This couldn’t possibly be the solution.

I’m absolutely positive every single teacher felt the same way. However, as they jumped online with their 30 kids, they didn’t hold back. They embraced the plan and taught their students for the entire school day.

It’s time to embrace your business growth plan. You’re not in survival mode anymore. Or at least you shouldn’t be. You have to step outside of your business (on a regular basis) and get the systems in place. Get the plan in place.

The truth is, you are going to default to survival skills more often than you would like. But as you embrace the new stage your business is in, you’ll recognize that the skills that got you here won’t get you there.

So the tip is this: Commit to the plan. Eventually, those daily “fires” won’t seem as important. Or someone else will take care of them. Or your processes will naturally eliminate them. But new growth requires you to stay focused and committed to what you’re trying to achieve.

Find the Right Technology

The one benefit to finishing the 2019-2020 school year online is that we already understood the technology when school started up this year. That made the transition a little bit easier. And helped to streamline the process.

We were introduced to a few new programs. (I really like the typing program my kids started. Back when I was learning how to type we had to use typewriters.)

But the technology makes all the difference.

In your business, finding the right technology will help you make that leap between survival and streamlined success. How do you manage your processes? Your sales team? Your customer experiences? Do you have an easy way to communicate with all team members? How about a good project management tool?

What does your business look like moving forward?

A big part of this stage is finding the technology that works for you. And if you don’t want to be the one deciding which programs work, assign it to a team member. Let them do the research.

The members of our Elite community have experience with various systems. So you can always reach out to us here as well to ask about best practices others are sharing.

Value Your Team

We were told, before school started, that most of the online activities would be “getting to know you” games. Which is typical for the first week of school anyway. But I’ve never been in the classroom to see my kids take part in these activities before.

Here is what I noticed…being recognized and appreciated matters to our kids (younger AND older). Every time one of my kids was asked about themselves, they sat taller in their chairs. They smiled. They were deliberate in answering the questions and they shared LOTS of detail.

I don’t think we ever grow out of that. But as adults, we don’t share details. Because we recognize that most people don’t care. If they ask, it’s usually only to be courteous.

But do you know what happens when a teacher knows a child’s name? And their favorite color? And what pets they have? The child listens. The child trusts. And the child will do anything the teacher asks, because they know she/he cares.

We need to care more. We need to value our team members more.

There’s a million different ways you can do that. Find some things that work for you. But be intentional in seeing your team members and recognizing their value.

Show Up

This one is downright crazy. A teacher who teaches one of our kids excused the class for lunch. She told them to log back on at 1:00. At 1:00, the children were there…waiting. But the teacher never showed up. In the end, we found out that a second meeting link had been generated when the teacher logged back on.

Even so, no one sent out a message telling everyone to switch over. Nope. The students (and parents) just sat there wondering until finally giving up and leaving for the day.

How often do we fail to show up in our businesses?

I want to give the teacher the benefit of the doubt. It was the first day. But didn’t she notice the majority of her class was missing? Why didn’t she stop to find out where they were and how to get them back?

In your business, are you losing customers? Do your prospects come in hot but then drift off? Do you communicate with them regularly? Do you and your team do what you say you’re going to do?

What about within the office? Are you confident in your business plans? Does your team trust you to be on top of things? Do they respect the decisions you make?

Do you show up for them? And for your prospects? And for your customers?

Showing up requires communication, confidence, and commitment. How well do you project these?

You Get To Choose What Kind of School Year This Will Be

My final thought is this: my kids hesitated only a little bit. But they quickly adapted to make the best of the situation. The stress of the situation fell, if I’m being honest, on my wife’s shoulders. She’s the one who sorted through all the emails from the school. She’s the one who made sure each kid was ready with a computer, login info, and instructions from the teacher.

And she told our kids that although this school year is different, it can still be great.

In the end, you get to decide what your business growth experience looks like. You can’t remove the stress. The little fires will always be there. But you can decide how you feel as you grow. And you can find viable solutions to the challenges you face.

As you know, our goal (our only goal) is to help you create the systems, processes, and beliefs in your business that help you jump from struggling (but successful) start up to greater clarity, increased productivity, and stable revenue.

When you are ready, let’s get you signed up for a free consultation.

And enjoy your school year!

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