Frédérick Perrier, Project Manager for Business Services, CEDEC Small Business Support
Back to school: the time of year when things settle back into routine and the workload gets heavier. But it’s also a time when some parents are now free to designate a larger portion of their day to growing their business.
Like New Year’s, the back to school season incites a mood of “let’s get back to business.” It’s a good opportunity to take stock of what has and hasn’t been working and what needs to be done to move successfully forward. It’s also a time to remind ourselves of the basic skills, tools and relationships that got us where we are and which can help us scale up yet again.
If you’re an established business, returning to basics means taking stock of your soft skills – the oft forgotten, but critical building blocks for a successful career and business.
Soft skills include things like negotiation prowess, organizational skills, critical and creative thinking, and problem solving and communication skills. While hard skills (technical skill and experience), such as computer skills or a certain diploma, are crucial for success in your particular industry, soft skills sharpen the dynamics between you and your colleagues, your employees, or your suppliers. Well-honed soft skills can increase the quality of your business relationships and, in turn, increase growth and profitability.
If you’re in the pre-startup stage, the basics means breaking your business idea down to its foundational blocks and validating their potential. You’ll need to consider some of the five W’s: Who will you sell to? What problem are you trying to solve? Do you know why your business exists – and can you explain what you do in 15 seconds?
It’s not always easy to get back to basics. After all, no one thinks, “Geez, I’d like to go back to Kindergarten” (well, maybe you do on a particularly stressful day when you long for more carefree times!). We’re not suggesting forgetting everything you know or starting from scratch; think of it more as a re-centering exercise. Finding the basic elements that got you where you are and which, once re-visited and tweaked, can help you take your business up a notch.
To sharpen your soft skills try working with a mentor. Seventy-three per cent of businesses run by entrepreneurs who have been mentored will survive the first five ‘make it or break it’ years and continue to go strong. CEDEC Small Business Support mentors emphasize soft skills while helping you reflect on decisions made and how they impact your business.
If you’re looking for a workshop that will help you validate your new business idea check out our Youth Start-up Workshops where we help move your business idea from intention to action.
For more information reach out to us. We’re here to help your business innovate, grow and prosper! Kimberley Griffith, Customer Experience Agent – firstname.lastname@example.org or (888) 641-9912
CEDEC Small Business Support offers powerful frontline support to help your small business innovate, grow and prosper. For more information or to book a free 360° Screening of your small business visit: www.cedec.ca/sbs