Remember, as a kid, how exciting the days were just before the start of a new school year?
- Shopping for school supplies and clothes
- Planning extra-curricular activities like sports or music programs.
- Starting the year with a clean slate
- Reconnecting with classmates
As the summer comes to an end and new school year begins, many of us reflect on the transitional period from summer to school. Why was it so exciting for us? For some it was maybe a little scary, but the few weeks before school were always intense and memorable.
Starting a new school year means:
- Re-examining the big picture
- Reinventing yourself, reinventing your business
- And, of course, learning new skills and subjects.
Why reflect on it now? Because those insights can offer valuable guidance on how to improve our professional lives — by taking the positive aspects of the back-to-school season and crafting a back-to-business equivalent to help us today.
Now, let’s consider how these might also be useful to your business or career.
Re-examining the big picture
Each year, students get the opportunity to start fresh. In other words, they have a specific date each year to start with a clean slate and re-examine where they’re going and how they are going to get there.
What about you, as a professional or business owner? Do you periodically take stock of your professional progress and development?
With a constant stream of urgent demands from clients or colleagues, fires to put out, video conferences, emails, phone calls, paperwork… you probably rarely have a chance to push back from your computer and breathe — let alone stop to focus on your business’ big picture.
Why not start applying this period of self-reflection to your work?
You can borrow from the “Back-to-school” idea and prepare your own “Back-to-Business” season. Implement new business- and career-enhancing processes like blocking out an hour each month on your calendar for brainstorming.
This also might be a good time to be inventive in your personal life and in business to improve your business processes and make you more productive. Let’s examine a few ideas.
Reinventing yourself, reinvesting your business
Because students are still learning who they are, students entering a new school year often reinvent themselves by trying a different style of clothing.
As a successful professional, you probably don’t need to reinvent yourself each year. But we all could benefit from reinventing ourselves even if it’s on a small scale such as being more assertive with vendors or honing your sales skills. Take this time to seek out ways to challenge yourself personally and professionally.
Next you can take on reinventing your business. Maybe you think you need to be in the office all day, every day, to be responsive to customer calls, email and faxes. Not if you have cloud services like eVoice® and eFax®.
With a virtual phone service like eVoice, you can have a virtual 800 number that answers your calls with a professionally recorded greeting, which then forwards them to any phone numbers you select. And with an online fax service like eFax, you can receive, edit, sign and send faxes from anywhere, even right on your smartphone or tablet.
Your homework is to do a little research about cloud services like eVoice® and eFax® during your Back to Business time this year. You might find that you can reinvest your business with very little effort.
Another suggestion: Use this Back-to-Business season not just to improve existing skills. Take this opportunity to learn new skills and subjects. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Learning new skills and subjects
Obviously, a new year at school means learning new things.
When was the last time you tackled a new subject or skill? Today more than ever, as technology speeds the rate at which new skills become essential and old skills become obsolete.
So, where can you go to learn new skills — especially considering how busy you are?
The truth is it has never been easier to continue your education and professional development — in virtually any subject, from public speaking to design or coding skills — than it is today. In fact, we’ll have plenty more suggestions for you in upcoming posts.
More “Back-to-Business” tips to come…
If you found this “Back-to-Business ” post helpful as a strategy for improving your professional life, keep checking back here throughout August.
We will continue to post more ideas for going “Back-to-Business" the easiest ways to make learning a lifelong practice, to clever tricks to add accountability to your business with “grading,” to finding the right gear and gadgets to help you get the job done, and more.