The Lee Kenny business column – lessons learned from the first week at school

Lee Kenny, managing director of Snowflake Media.
Lee Kenny, managing director of Snowflake Media.

It’s been an emotional week for us as parents as our middle girl started high school this past week. We were talking about the changes for her and how these also applied to businesses who want to succeed and grow.

Here are the top five areas we can learn from the leap to high school.

Networking

When you are in a new environment it is crucial to get to know new people. After all, if you only surround yourself with one or two clients you can leave your business exposed. In life, school and business you’ll occasionally meet people who don’t appear to be a good match long-term. That’s ok, providing you are making multiple friendships.

100% responsibility

Whether that’s making sure you have the correct books and PE kit or that all your business affairs are in order, you have to take responsibility for everything, good and bad. It’s easy to blame outside factors, but in almost all situations you should have had a contingency plan.

Learn new skills

When did you last learn a new skill? Often in business we may invest in a course and once completed that’s it, job done.

However times and technology changes, and fast. Let’s take social media marketing as an example. The materials and functionality surrounding Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram have all changed over the last 2, 5, and 10 years. When did you last review your website and make changes?

People perceive that a website has a shelf life of 5+ years, but in reality, if you haven’t changed it in 18 months, there is a chance it’s looking dated.

Time management

Alex now has more lessons, more choices for food and even transport options are in abundance. Add in additional homework, 40 minutes more travel time per day and you can see why time management now becomes a priority.

In technology there is a trend called “time hacking”. Essentially how to get the same job done in less time.

This week Alex realised if she wanted a sandwich she could either queue up at lunchtime and spend 20 minutes, or she could pick up that sandwich at first break and spend a minute. Same outcome, very different result. In business we do this all the time.

Scaling Up

With five times more pupils and staff, high school is an example of scaling up a business. Everything from logistics, transport and pastoral care needs to be taken in to account.

The things that work for a 30-pupil school year just wouldn’t work for a 230 pupil school year.

The materials pupils will learn as an 11-year old will be different to the math learned as a 7-year old.

What extra measures do you need to put in place to take your business to the next level?