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5 Things to Consider if You Want to Stay Competitive

5 Things to Consider if You Want to Stay Competitive


    Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or manager, you have to pay attention to the business landscape and your place in it if you want to be successful. You don’t want to get caught languishing by the side of the road as the rest of the marketplace rushes by you. It’s important to assess where you are now and how you can maintain, regain, or create a competitive edge over the crowd.

    What You Need to Consider

    1. Branding

    What do you do and what sets you apart?

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    Branding is the buzzword of the day, maybe the decade. Though possibly overused, the concept is still an important one. Branding is far more than a memorable tag-line, catchy logo, or impressive elevator speech. The primary value of branding is in clarifying precisely what makes you different, what you have to offer that makes you stand out from the bulk of competitors in the marketplace. Branding is the cornerstone of any successful marketing plan.

    2. Relationships

    What do people care about and what needs do they have?

    Getting to know and understand people is vital. The key is to focus on quality over quantity. Masses of social media connections matter less than relationships with people who can directly influence the success or failure of the business. Current and prospective customers, as well as employees and professional connections have the most relevant opinions and useful feedback to offer. It’s imperative to communicate, listen, and build relationships with those who can impact the future of your business.

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    3. Leveraging

    What are your areas of efficiency and areas of weakness?

    Small businesses and entrepreneurs tend to be resource poor. It’s just the nature of not having a large cash flow at their disposal. The most successful excel at squeezing the maximum value out of available time, money, and talent. Their strategy is to do what they do best and delegate or outsource the rest. Essentially, they know how to Do More with Less.

    They spend their time on activities that provide more value, those activities that increase revenue or help the company to grow. What they don’t do is waste their time on activities that provide little or no value. While it may seem counter-intuitive to pay others to do tasks that could be done in house, it’s often more efficient and profitable in the long run. Leveraging unproductive activities saves time and money, by increasing the focus on the most valuable tasks.

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    4. Growth

    Where are the opportunities for growth?

    Complacency and stagnation are red flags that portend a grim outlook for future success. The danger lies in placing so much of our focus on digging in, completing current projects and managing small crises that we forget to be open to change and creative innovation. Unfortunately, this negatively affects our position in the business market and diminishes our competitive advantage.

    It’s critical to keep one eye focused on growth, evolution, and innovation. If you don’t, you will fade into the crowd while other more forward thinking businesses surge ahead, leaving you in their dust. This sounds overwhelming and somewhat intimidating when you barely have enough time and energy to focus on current needs, but it doesn’t have to be. All that’s really required is that you stay open to new opportunities and consistently take steps — even small ones — to keep growing and moving forward.

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    Growth takes many forms. It might be revising an existing process, updating skills, investing in new equipment or learning a new technology. It also might take the form of more significant changes such as shifting careers or business models, or launching a new product or service.

    5. Balance

    What do you need? What are you neglecting? What would make you work and life more enjoyable?

    Balancing priorities and the different aspects of our life is the foundation for building a successful and personally fulfilling career or business. Modern society is buzzing with the work-life balance conversation, but often we misconstrue the meaning of balance, or at least the real world application of the concept. It’s not about trying to allot equal portions of attention, time, and energy to the separate parts or even making one a priority over the other. It’s more about discovering that right combination of shifting importance and focus that can meet the ever-changing demands of work life and personal life while still leaving us feeling happy and fulfilled, and not on society’s terms, but on our own.

    Success and fulfillment requires that we pay attention to where we are, how we’re doing, and where we’d like to be. If we can figure out what sets us apart, how we need to grow and what we need to do to keep moving forward, then we can begin to apply our focus and resources – namely time, energy and money – in a way that allows us to continue to thrive.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Moving Chess Pieces via Shutterstock)

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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    Last Updated on January 27, 2021

    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

    How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

    Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career, and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in your craft, it’s difficult to excel in your chosen career or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation. Visual learning is one way to do this, and it can be incredibly effective in helping you work better.

    Content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

    The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

    Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, but you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

    It all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

    As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts. Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However, I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

    There are several types of learning styles, which exist as part of the VARK model. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

    The four most popular types of learning styles are:

    • Visual learning style (learning by seeing)
    • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information spoken or presented)
    • Read/Write learning style (learning that involves reading and writing texts)
    • Tactile/Kinesthetic learning style (learning by touching and doing)

    For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning.

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    Are You a Visual Learner?

    When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

    This may mean you prefer to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. It may also mean that you have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

    Visual Learner Infographic

      Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles[1]. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

      However, visual learning in particular can really boost your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not, and here’s why:

      Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory, which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[2]

      While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e. learning about human DNA).

      Visual learning does use a different part of the brain, and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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      By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

      How to Use Visual Learning for Success

      Here are 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

      1. Bring Back the To-Do List

      We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. However, written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

      While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

      I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

      2. Add Graphs, Charts, and Symbols to Reports

      Yes, it seems like more work for you, but graphs enable you to monitor the heartbeat of your business.

      Graphs and charts help you find trends in your finances, make a budget, and analyze data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and convert it to relevant information displayed in different shapes and images in a matter of minutes.

      As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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      When broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

      3. Effectively Brainstorm With Mind-Mapping

      With mind-mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole, which is a great way to tap into visual learning.

      Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare, while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

      It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

      Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

      Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

      4. Add Video Streaming to Meetings

      What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation?

      When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories as images in our minds.

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      For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance as people can see their colleagues in addition to whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

      Final Thoughts

      The question is not whether visual learning is better than the other learning styles. Each has their merits and situations where they will be most useful.

      The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

      You might discover that understanding scientific concepts is much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

      The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

      More About Learning Styles

      Featured photo credit: You X Ventures via unsplash.com

      Reference

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