We all feel lonely some days. For a business owner, this is magnified because you might just work for yourself and have no employees. And since the pandemic, more people than ever have the amazing opportunity to work from home. But this lack of connection can cause serious problems for not only our personal health but also for the health of our business.
One of my dear friends chose the word HEALTH for her “Word” for 2024. I think it’s a fantastic word that can stir up all sorts of possibilities! So what does it mean to have a healthy business and how can we achieve that with more connection? HINT: A healthy business is not necessarily the one who brings in the most money!
The health of your business is directly tied to the daily habits and practices that happen consistently each day, each week, or each month, and are carried out by you, your staff, and your customers.
So how do we develop HEALTHY habits and practices that also foster connection? And how does this eventually tie into our bottom line of more customers, more money, and (if you’re in the business of teaching students) help more amazing kids?
I’m going to be straight with you here. Spending hours and hours creating that “perfect” flier to put in the library is not going to cut it. Or what about making your website cleaner and more professional looking? Nope, not that either.
Are you full with students? What about when three drop all in the same month? Now what? How long does it take you to get three new additional students? A month? Six months? If you are actively connected with your community, this time will be much shorter and you will most likely even have an ongoing waitlist.
Okay, so let’s talk about what connection means specifically to this field of dyslexia intervention/tutoring/remediation.
Here are a few ideas just to get you started:
Are you attending local school board meetings? Do you know the current topics being discussed that impact your local schools?
Have you connected with any state representatives in your area? Do you know which ones have a strong background in education reform? Do you attend any of their events to hear them speak about the local issues?
Do you know (like really know) other small business owners in your area who are in a field similar to yours? Speech therapists, Counselors who specialize in ADHD, Occupational therapists who work with kids with ADHD, neuropsychs who assess kids, not to mention all the incredible teachers and administrators who work in your area. Connection, connection, connection! Really TRULY get to know people, not just so you can advertise with them, but to become an educated leader who knows what is going on in town, what the concerns of families are, what the concerns of business owners are, and I guarantee you will grow your business!
How about connections with other business owners beyond the field of education? One of the best things I ever did was to get connected with my local SBDC (Small Business Development Center) which is part of the SBA (Small Business Administration.) They offer free and paid classes and workshops, but my favorite is the one-on-one FREE coaching from actual business owners in town who are offering their services to help other business owners! Also remember to look into business networking groups in your area. Many offer once a month breakfast groups or evening classes on a variety of topics. Learn, grow, develop skills. Connections!
And just like with personal health goals, it’s important to be intentional with our business habits, especially in the area of connections. Going to a business networking event once every few years will not cut it, just like eating one salad every few years will not cut it for our personal health goals.
Write down 3-5 key connection opportunities that you want to focus on over the next year. For example, SBDC, monthly business lunch group, and attending school board meetings.
For each one of those opportunities listed above, physically write them into your calendar for an entire year. For example, the SBDC might not have a calendar for an entire year, but on their website I see that they usually have a Monday evening class on the 1st Monday of each month, so I’m assuming that this may continue through the year and I will add this to my calendar. Then the business lunch group is every 3rd Tuesday, and the school board meeting is the 2nd Friday of the month and I will add this to my calendar.
Make CONNECTION a priority this year! Focus on this important element of being a strong leader in your town. Join Facebook groups that involve leaders in your town. Participate and connect! And please don’t just meet someone to give them your business card or flier. The goal of connection is to grow your own leadership skills and to know your community better.
I am excited to hear how this year of connection is going for you! Please CONNECT with me and share your stories!