Everyone can’t be amazing at everything. How can your embark on a regiment of committed, continued self-improvement?
In Stephen Covey’s top-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, the 7th habit “Sharpen Your Saw” focuses on just that – the desire to humbly self-improve. It’s an ongoing process, however one of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways start-ups can achieve this is to sign up for topical newsletters to help out in areas where they feel they could use improvement to raise their game, profile, and likelihood to succeed!
Here are some areas where some of our start-up colleagues (and us!) have struggled, and some helpful newsletters and sites to visit to help you tool up bit-by-bit, day-by-day.
1) Sharpen up on … your online marketing and social media.
While putting up a post on Facebook, dropping a few pictures on Instagram, or tweeting out a few lines on Twitter isn’t technically challenging, there’s a whole skillset behind yielding a specific outcome you are intending (whether that’s branding, reach, engagement …). Take some pointers from big corporates and agencies to see what’s working (and not) out in the land of social media, and what you might be able to emulate on a smaller scale. We’ve been signed up to SmartBrief for years – frequent and relevant content to fuel your inner marketer. Click here to sign up for free.
2) Sharpen up on … your Microsoft Excel skills.
*groan* Yes, I did just bring up Excel. To be upfront, I’m pretty comfortable in Excel and would be fairly called an advanced user. However, I know so many start up founders who swear off Microsoft Excel, and knowingly, to the point where even the most basic of time-saving tasks are avoided. You can often find downloadable, free templates to do most things – whether its Cost Of Goods Sold menu-writing templates, expense reporting, timeline / project management templates, forecasting and projecting … all you may need is the confident to navigate around Excel. I recommend signing up for a free, user-friendly Excel newsletter (try Excel Campus - conveniently they post videos to YouTube as well so there are some handy tutorials to watch live). Start simple, you may surprise yourself.
3) Sharpen up on … your motivation and selling approach.
One of the best known authors on sales and motivation Zig Ziglar used to say “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Well – neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” You’ll encounter many obstacles on your start-up path, many of which may discourage you from continuing – if only for a moment. It’s in those moments that having a fresh, daily perspective or approach to solving your Problem Du Jour may sharpen your daily resolve and help you stay positive in those moments. Selling Power offers a great newsletter, giving you the option to sign up for both a daily jolt of sales training and inspiration. Love it.
4) Sharpen up on … your copywriting and blogging style.
Not all start ups will dedicate themselves to writing a blog, or maintaining it as the months grind on. However, with so many easy to use blogging tools at your disposal, once you get set up the focus needs to turn to quality, engaging, appropriate content. Improving your written work and style won’t just benefit your blog (whether you choose to continue with it or not), but will help you write more engaging emails to colleagues and prospects, work better with marketing partners, and may even help you define your business and early adopters. There are a lot of blogs who write about blog writing … however The Blog Herald is one of the most comprehensive – articles from everything to writing style, SEO, image selection, getting results from your blog posts … Check them out here.
5) Sharpen up on … your knowledge of the Australian hospitality industry.
Where you’re intending to keep on step ahead of the food industry with your smart phone app idea, or wanting to know about the latest trends in food / beverage / services / products in-market … Hospitality Magazine is a great read. The newsletter is free, drops into your inbox every week (or more) with fresh content, and may just be what you need to give you that next idea to take you to the next level! Click here to sign up for their newsletter – printed copy of the magazine is also available, order on-line.
What newsletters do you follow to keep sharp? Drop us an email to let us know, or leave a comment below.