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20 Hobbies That Can Make You a Better Boss at Work

20 Hobbies That Can Make You a Better Boss at Work

A hobby is defined as an activity done in a regular basis during one’s leisure time for pleasure. Hobbies make life more enjoyable—research can back me up on this. The Society of Behavioral Medicine conducted a research that examined the effects of leisure to health and overall well-being. The results revealed 115 research participants to have positive moods, less stress levels, and healthy heart rates when engaged in their leisure activities. Furthermore, another study explains the effect of hobbies in moderating the effect of anxiety and stress. So, you don’t have to feel guilty about that fishing trip you made last weekend.

The following are hobbies shared by actual business owners, that can help you deal with stress and perform better at work. Remember that a hobby need not to be something you’re an expert at. Hobbies are for enjoyment and something you’re not familiar with is definitely a must-try.

1. Dancing

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    Mastering a style of dancing requires the same level of commitment and diligence required to run, manage, and grow a successful business. TrueLine Publishing President and CEO, Hajmil Carr tells how integral her hobbies are to become a great boss.

    “I am an avid salsa dancer and skier. My hobbies are an integral part of my efficacy and performance at work because they are rooted in pure passion. By delving into practice regarding something that you truly care about, you learn mastery.”

    -Hajmil Carr, TrueLine Publishing

    Dancing once a week does wonders for your abilities as a boss, and is very much an unusual trait for a startup founder like John Turner, CEO of UsersThink.

    “Dancing is the hobby that makes me a much better boss. It provides a great physical outlet, giving me more energy throughout the week, as well as being a fun activity that helps me clear my head and reduces stress so I can be more thoughtful and helpful during the workweek.”

    -John Turner, UsersThink

    2. Flying Aircrafts

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      Founder & CEO of Switch, Yarden Tadmor, is very passionate about managing his business and flying, for the simple reason that it fits his personality so well.

      “Both require me to constantly be learning, awake, and aware of my surroundings. Both include all kinds of variables and things can turn on a dime, but when both move smoothly, they really hum along. At the end of the day, you’re the one in the cockpit or the boardroom, and I really like that kind of pressure and accountability. I thrive on it and I think my employees respond to that managing by example.”

      -Yarden Tadmor, Switch

      3. Acting

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        Image Source: Flickr

        Theatrical acting is absolutely fantastic if you are a boss and looking to improve or gain new skills in such areas like public speaking, teamwork, active listening, or memorization. CEO and Co-Founder of Waverly Knobs, Evin Charles Anderson, is a perfect example of this.

        “It has greatly assisted me in my day-to-day interactions, involvement, team building, and much more. You also don’t need to be in NY, Boston, Chicago or LA as there are many community theater groups scattered across the US that anyone can become involved with.”

        -Evin Charles Anderson, Waverly Knobs

        4. Yoga

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          Image Source: Flickr

          Yoga provides relaxation, clarity and positivity. These are perfect if you’re doing a million things at the same time. Andrew Reich, Managing Director and Founder of InTouch Manufacturing Services comes to office with a peaceful mind thanks to yoga.

          “Yoga guides me towards providing my employees direction and reinforcement while not burdening them with micromanagement and the negativity that some bosses bring to work. My yoga routine also gives me the energy I need to get through the day and motivate my staff.”

          -Andrew Reich, InTouch Manufacturing Services

          5. Game Officiating

          flag-football-game-officials

            Image Source: FlagSpin

            Did you know that there is a third team on the field during a football game? It’s the game officials! Who knew this could be a perfect hobby for The Marketing Quarterback owner, Victor Clarke.

            “From pre-game to post-game, every move by the officials is pre-planned. As a business owner, I must learn and enforce business rules, apply correct positioning to make the right business calls, and occasionally, I must penalize poor behavior. The three priorities of officiating are to keep the game safe, fair, and fun. This should be the same priority of a business owner’s management style.”

            -Victor Clarke, The Marketing Quarterback

            6. Reading

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              Reading has always been a great way to manage stress. It also expands your vocabulary and improves cognitive function. Spencer X. Smith, vice president of sales turned consultant, who also teaches business planning and Internet marketing classes at the University of Wisconsin, shares his love for reading and re-reading books.

              “Depending on what is going on in our business, the best books (Think Good To Great) seem to morph into what I need at that time. The insights were there before, but now I’m just reading it from a different point of view. When discussing these ideas, it also helps to point to an outside source (like a book) so the discussion is more collaborative, and not an edict.”

              -Spencer X. Smith

              7. Exercising

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                It may seem counterintuitive to increase the physical demands of your body, but exercising can make you a better boss. Leading a company is both physically and mentally arduous. Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO of Chargebacks911, routinely changes her workout to accommodate the current demands of her job. As the challenges at work ebb and flow, the intensity of her exercises conforms to her stress level.

                “Exercise is my passion. I don’t grudgingly workout to improve my health or lose weight. I don’t see exercise as a consequence for eating my favorite foods. I genuinely enjoy pushing my body to its limits. I like discovering new ways to improve my abilities. But most importantly, I relish the clarity and open-mindedness that exercise provides me as I enter the office. Without a physical release of my mental anguish, I wouldn’t be able to joyfully interact with employees.”

                -Monica Eaton-Cardone, Chargebacks911

                8. Traveling

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                  Traveling can help you create a culture of adventure and curiosity in your workplace. TJ Sassini, CEO of ZOZI.com is an avid adventurer. He has pursued his passion in more than 30 countries‹ from wreck diving in Australia and canyoning in New Zealand, to backcountry skiing expeditions and shark diving. He is also a two-time IronMan triathlete and also completed an unassisted solo cycle expedition from Portugal to Italy, crossing the Pyrenees in early Spring.

                  It’s important as an entrepreneur to gain new perspectives and be unafraid to get out of your comfort zone. Founder and Managing Director of Acceleration Partners, Robert Glazer, sets an example of taking a break to his employees.

                  “Traveling is a hobby that gets me out of the office while giving me time to think about The Big Picture and bring back new ideas. In addition to setting the example of taking a break, I actively look for ways to engage my team through travel, whether organizing off-site employee retreats or encouraging employees to take vacation time.”

                  -Robert Glazer, Acceleration Partners

                  9. Playing Piano

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                    Learning a new hobby is never too late for MyCorporation CEO Deborah Sweeney. She took up piano lessons six months ago and she’s loving it!

                    “It teaches me patience and it reinforces my mindset of hard work. My piano instructor is constantly encouraging me to let go and enjoy. That is not always easy for a business owner, but I continue to work on it through piano (and also in motherhood)!”

                    -Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation

                    10. Ice Hockey

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                      Here’s a tough and challenging hobby for you — ice hockey. Andrew Schrage, CEO and Co-owner of Money Crashers is by no means an expert to this sport, but constantly trying to improve his skills and the competition that goes along with participating transfers over to running his small business is a challenge he is very much willing to accept.

                      “I always strive to do a better job everyday and I have a great focus on winning and making my organization one of the best in the industry.”

                      -Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers

                      11. Fishing

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                        Fishing is a great hobby to help better your managerial skills. From the discipline it takes to get up to catch the sunrise bite before work, to the patience it requires to land that first fish, Online Marketing Manager Tim Smith of DialMyCalls knows the drill.

                        “Fishing takes up quite a lot of time in my life and it definitely improves my work ethic. Discipline and patience are two extremely important factors when it comes to managing co-workers and customers which is why fishing is the perfect hobby for me.”

                        -Tim Smith, DialMyCalls

                        12. Gardening

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                          It’s not everyday you get to work with a boss who has an intensively planted yard. Meet Christopher Peck, Managing Partner of Natural Investments. The experience of planning his personal ecosystem, then dealing with successes and failures of the plan, ripples into the similar challenges inherent in running a business and supporting the growth of his colleagues at work.

                          “The time I spend working with the soil and plants in my intensively planted yard pays big dividends in my professional life, that is to manage a 9-office investment advisory firm. These hours refresh my body and mind, of course, and they also offer a quiet time away from the desk during which integration and insight can emerge.”

                          -Christopher Peck, Natural Investments

                          13. Sausage Making

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                            Here’s something you must try at least once in your life — sausage-making. Well, butchery and sausage-making to be specific. To be fancier, charcuterie. That is the hobby of Red Sky CEO, Jessica Flynn.

                            “I think it’s important for every managerial ‘buck-stops-here’er’ to get their hands dirty and make sausage — literally. A world of meetings, emails, digital engagement, and conference calls have blunted our senses. Without the joy of creation, our ability to think creatively and lead with inspiration is stunted. Every business founder, owner, leader or manager needs to commit to creating, crafting, producing, building or cranking out something physical weekly. Put down the digital devices and get hands on.”

                            -Jessica Flynn, Red Sky

                            14. Knitting

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                              The beauty of knitting is that it relieves tension and calms both your body and mind. Business owner and author, Tara Swiger, knits a bit every night, and sometimes even during phone meetings.

                              “It gives me something to do with my hands as I think through a difficult challenge. Without it, I would surely be more likely to snap at my assistant. Because she also knits, it gives us something non-work related to talk about and bond over.”

                              -Tara Swiger

                              15. Biking

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                                Endurance sports such as biking can improve your determination, perseverance and drive at work. President and owner of FREE Advertising, Chris Bolivar, bikes almost every day and competes in Ironman Triathlons. These help him bring enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit to work everyday.

                                Here’s another avid long distance road biker. Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E Brands. Biking allows him to build momentum that will keep going even after he finishes the ride.

                                “As someone with ADHD, I find that biking is a terrific way to clear my head and regain focus. Arriving to work focused, attentive, and passionate means that I am able to give my employees one hundred per cent, and in turn, they can feed off of my energy, optimism, and support.”

                                -Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands

                                16. Blogging

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                                  In addition to blogging regularly about his experiences as a business owner to help and inspire other small business leaders, Matt Rissell, CEO at TSheets, has learned to fly airplanes. These two hobbies make him a better leader because by learning to fly he is exercising his ability to take risks, which he believes is an essential skill as a business leader. Additionally, by sharing his experience, failures and successes with other small business on the TSheets blog, he is reminded of the challenges he has faced while building a successful tech company outside Silicon Valley.

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                                  17. Teaching Indoor Cycling

                                  Fitness instructor leading class on exercise bicycles in gym, low angle view
                                    Fitness instructor leading class on exercise bicycles in gym, low angle view

                                    Image Source: Huffington Post

                                    Teaching rhythm indoor cycling demands a unique-for-each-class, pre-planned choreographed routine with a heavy motivational and performance component. Each musical beat is accounted for, yet you often must pivot with plan B or C within seconds based on your reading of the group’s desires and unknowns, balanced by their needs, which are not always equivalent to their demands. That’s how Alissa Walter, co-founder of Blindsgalore runs her business.

                                    “I conduct my business like I run my spinning room — with precision and prediction yet with the nimbleness to change the whole shebang. At the end of the day both shows must go on and both crowds have to want to come back to join you the next day.”

                                    -Alissa Walter, Blindsgalore

                                    18. Meditating

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                                      As a business owner you are often rushing from meeting to meeting every day and don’t always get the chance to reflect on how your actions affect those around you. That’s where transcendental meditation comes in. This hobby helps Founder and CEO of CloserIQ, Jordan Wan, alleviate his stress and improve his focus and general self awareness.

                                      “Regardless of whether you believe that meditation provides health benefits, I think it’s a great way to block out time and reflect on the quality of your interactions with your colleagues and employees.”

                                      -Jordan Wan, CloserIQ

                                      19. Playing Chess

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                                        Chess can make you a better boss, but not in some crazy-seeing-20-moves-ahead kind of way. Chess taught ilos Founder, Sean Higgins, to appreciate losing. Every time he loses, he learns something, he study harder, and eventually gets better at it.

                                        “You learn quickly and not fear coming up short but to take those missteps and use them to become better than even you thought you could be. Because of this lesson, my team isn’t afraid to come to me with their mistakes. We can face losses together, learn our lesson, and come back stronger on the next milestone.”

                                        -Sean Higgins, ilos

                                        20. Fixing Cars

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                                          Mechanical work takes a lot of problem solving, muscle work, and tremendous patience; but for Enerpan Insulated Panels Controller, Marten Skupien, cars that most people don’t even notice are gems in disguise.

                                          “Today, I’ve got two. A 2004 VW Jetta TDI and an 2007 Audi A4 Avant. I love doing mechanical work on them because it can be frustrating but really rewarding. So doing things like replacing the suspension so that it’s lower… so much low J. The other thing that I really like doing is the detailing of a car because you can really lose yourself in the details of it, it’s nice and calming.”

                                          -Marten Skupien, Enerpan Insulated Panels

                                          Hobbies encourage us to take a break and are proven stress-busters. For busy business owners, they take their breaks with purpose. They engage in activities where they gain a thing or two that can help them succeed and become better bosses. Found a hobby that interests you? Good, now it’s time to plan something this weekend.

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                                          Jane Dizon

                                          Nurse, Ninja Mom, Digital Marketing Specialist and Writer

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                                          Last Updated on May 28, 2020

                                          How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

                                          How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

                                          Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

                                          To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

                                          1. Digital Savviness

                                          As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

                                          Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

                                          Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

                                          For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

                                          From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

                                          Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

                                          2. Financial Forecasting

                                          Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

                                          Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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                                          However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

                                          Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

                                          3. Video Production Skills

                                          The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

                                          If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

                                          In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

                                          • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
                                          • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
                                          • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

                                          4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

                                          As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

                                          Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

                                          Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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                                          5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

                                          Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

                                          Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

                                          For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

                                          Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

                                          6. Honing Pitches to Investors

                                          Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

                                          The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

                                          You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

                                          Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

                                          7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

                                          In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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                                          Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

                                          8. Automating to Your Advantage

                                          The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

                                          Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

                                          9. Managing Millennials

                                          Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

                                          In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

                                          Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

                                          A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

                                          Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

                                          Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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                                          Offer Constructive Feedback

                                          Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

                                          Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

                                          10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

                                          Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

                                          By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

                                          Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

                                          How to Develop This Skill

                                          Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

                                          As the African proverb goes:

                                          “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

                                          Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

                                          More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

                                          Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

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