Back to School Tips for the Entrepreneur

So everyone’s back from their holidays and the back to school routine is in full swing.  It seems to me that there’s no better time to be thinking strategically about your plans for your business.

For school age children, September represents a fresh start.  A chance to learn new things, try out new ideas, make new friends, gain from new experiences, grow and develop.  With all that come challenges – exams, new and challenging concepts, fall-outs with friends and more.

As parents, we have an important role to play in guiding our children through their school days.  Supporting them in their achievements but encouraging plenty of fun and enjoyment too. In the short term we have uniforms to acquire, stationery to buy (what joy!), lunch boxes to fill, diaries to organise, back up plans to draw up.

For many of us the academic year continues to shape our lives many years after we have ditched our pencil cases, set squares, satchels and moved into the world of work.  With school age kids, a husband in education, a role as a school governor, my year often feels more shaped by the academic calendar than anything else!

As business leaders what can we take from the annual back to school routine?

Fresh start                             

Why wait until December to start your business planning and strategic thinking?  The nice crisp days of September are perfect for pulling together your thoughts and thinking about the future. “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you chose” (Dr Seuss)

Get inspiration

We haven’t all got a teacher at home to inspire us.  We can, however, do research, talk to colleagues, friends, associates, advisors and seek out ideas for how you can improve and grow your business. You may be surprised at how much energy you get from seeking out new ideas. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!” (Dr Seuss, again)

Love learning

When things go wrong or when we’re presented with challenges there’s a huge opportunity to learn more about ourselves.  Five year olds are now learning about the “growth mindset” (Carol Dweck) see whether you have it and how adopting one can make a difference to the way you approach life. “It is better to know how to learn than to know.” (Guess who?)

Mindset "how you can fulfil your potential" by Dr Carol S. Dweck

Figure 1: Mindset – how you can fulfil your potential – by Dr Carol S. Dweck (FYRORN, 2016)

Keep interested

We all know that keeping a keen interest in your child’s education is beneficial.  The same goes for your business and career.  Keep on top of the business’ performance, ask the difficult questions and be prepared to make changes as you go along. Our FD on Demand service offers you all the experience and expertise of a full-time FD, but at a fraction of the cost.  “Only you can control your future.” (Bet you can’t guess who!)

Have fun

Without some fun, life and business would be dull and unenjoyable –“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” (Not Dr Seuss again surely?)

As the plates begin to spin, the pack lunches are ready, school bags are in the hall, labels are sewn into new uniform, the rota for school pickups is drafted, evening meals are planned, after school clubs are booked, take a deep breath and remember “Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!” (Yes again!)

Inspire is passionate about enabling entrepreneurs to succeed and can support business leaders with many aspects of business and strategic planning, provision of Financial Director on Demand services, development of management information and KPIs and more.  Do get in touch if you need someone to talk about your ‘back to school’ routine!

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