Success Skills are Most Often Learned in Life Not on Campus
Undoubtedly, education in a formal setting such as university can be a crucial part of professional success. College is a great place to set the foundation for social skills, research skills, networking ability, and basic knowledge. Without this base, it may be more difficult to rise into the upper echelon of business — though certainly not impossible; we all know of extremely successful business people who did not go to, or complete, university.
I love formal education, and am always hopeful that everyone would get a chance to access it, but I am also the first to say that the most important aspects of business are not taught in school. They are learned in the field, through self-directed exploration and study, and through experience. Here are six skills to excel in business that they don’t teach you in school.
The most prominent leaders can tell you the top three habits that contribute to their success, as soon as they are asked. It is because they optimize the essential tasks that need to get done by making these daily rituals an unrivaled part of their life.
This includes limiting time spent on emails, being proactive in maintaining strong connections with people, taking advantage of systems, and dedicating time to learning new things.
These are not tasks that require willpower. They are, in fact, nearly programmed, and lead to seemingly automatic success for these leaders and their businesses. In my opinion, every business administration degree should come with a minor in building productive habits.
Effective copywriting and communication
Writing is an extremely underrated part of business, which is why many companies have to outsource their copy needs. Unfortunately, especially for small businesses, hiring people to write effective, persuasive copy for their website, brochures, and ads is an expense they can’t afford.
Learning to portray the benefits of your product or service in a manner that inspires people to take action is an essential skill.
Know your “what” and your “why”. What drives your entrepreneurial spirit? Why do you do what you do? Why do you want to do what you do?
The answer to these questions lies in your values. If you value giving back to the community, your organization will reflect that. If you value authenticity and integrity, your business standards will reflect that too. Carefully examine yourself and your values, then make sure that carries over into business.
The importance of value in products and services
Too many university business courses emphasize financial gain rather than what will provide value to others. Ironically, the businesses that provide true value to their customers are typically the ones that make the most money. They are also the businesses that thrive in tough times, because the owners have a strong passion for the services and products they provide. Their motivation comes from within, and that is what leads to success in the long run. When you produce and sell based on what you value people will reciprocate that value by purchasing your product or service.
Self-awareness and personal development
As a business owner, you are the business in the beginning (though, every business owner should also be building an exit strategy from day one). Your physical health, your emotional state, your stress levels, your passion, your ambition; these all contribute to the success or failure of the organization.
It follows that an investment in you is also an investment in the business. Spending the money to eat healthy, organic meals is a business expense. A gym membership is a business expense. Taking time out of your day to mediate, work out, and enjoy life is a business investment.