How To Take Your Career To The Next Level

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Boost your career|How To Take Your Career To The Next LevelThere may come a time during your career when you no longer feel satisfied with your role, whether this is due to stagnant pay, little to no room for progression or any other hurdle which you simply can’t solve. Figuring out how you can combat this issue and take your career to a whole new level needn’t be as difficult as you might expect, as there are just a few key areas in which you can focus your efforts to achieve complete job satisfaction in no time at all. So, if you would like to find out more about how you can boost your employability and seek out a new and improved role with ease, then read on to uncover some of the best top tips and tricks that you can make the most of today!

Start Networking & Make Connections

A brilliant way to spread your wings and attract a great employee is through the use of networking. Networking is the act of making connections with other professionals in your industry, whether this means attending commercial events or conferences, utilising business social media or taking advantage of any other opportunity to get involved with the biggest and best names in your target area. You need to have good interpersonal skills to network well, as it requires a whole load of confidence and self assurance to provide the best first impression every time. Each interaction with a new person or company is a chance for you to sell yourself as what you have to offer, so don’t be afraid to big yourself up and promote your best points. Networking in person can be tough if you don’t have the right social skills to chat to anyone and everyone, but exploring something like social media or email could be the ideal alternative. You can even set up virtual meetings from the comfort of your home, so you can sell yourself remotely without any hassle!

Get Certified Or Publish Your Work

If you specialise in one subject or area, a great way to improve your chances of securing a more advanced role is by getting your work published or certified. Many employers will research the candidates that apply for a position in their company, especially if it’s one that warrants a large pay packet with a lot of responsibility, and it can be a huge attraction to find a notarised or formally published piece with your name on the bottom, or a prestigious university or college with your name in their alumni. It’s not always easy to take such a step, as it’s a big commitment that can take a lot of time, energy and money to pursue. However, the hard work will most definitely be worthwhile and there are many options that you can make the most of. Online school is a brilliant way to seek out an extra qualification or certification without having to forfeit your daily responsibilities, and you can even find sites like OneNotary that will notarise a document for a super affordable fee if you don’t have too much cash to splash.

Set Your Sights High

Failing to stay motivated by not setting your sights high can have a huge effect on your ability to find a fulfilling career. Reaching for the stars will allow you to take your potential job satisfaction to a whole new level, so have faith in your abilities and don’t allow any boundaries to form between you and the best roles available. It can be very difficult to maintain such a level of commitment, especially if you experience rejection or any kind of similar criticism, however remaining positive and moving forward will ensure you can achieve your goals in no time at all. Realistically, you can apply for any role that’s posted if you have the necessary qualifications or skills listed, and you may even be a candidate if you simply show a great level of commitment to learning what’s required. So, take a chance and send your resume over to any potential employer that offers an attractive opportunity!

Taking your career to a whole new level has never been so simple when you can take the time to make the most of the brilliant tips and tricks that have been carefully detailed above. Start off by networking and make strong connections with the best of the best in your industry, whilst figuring out how you can get your work published or seeking some kind of certification to become a more attractive candidate.

Want A Better Strategy? Don’t Talk To The Same People.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Strategy|Want A Better Strategy? Don’t Talk To The Same People.Alan Gozdalski has taken care of the landscaping on my property for over 20 years. He treats my property like his own. When a devastating fall storm hit Buffalo, NY in October of 2006, Al was one of the first people who called me to check on how his (my) yard fared. I am pretty sure that we both had tears in our eyes when we walked the property and found ourselves shoulder-high in a sea of broken trees.

Al is one of the most creative entrepreneurs I know. He pioneered residential ponds in Western New York, and since 1997, he has installed over 1,000 ponds in the area, including one in my yard. Every year I host a holiday party at my house. I invite clients, friends, students and interesting people who have become friends. Al comes to the party.

I was at Al’s store recently, and he introduced me to another customer. He made a point of telling them about my parties. “I met a plethora of interesting people at Roger’s party. In five minutes, I talked to five different people with different ethnic and work backgrounds. I met a nun, a cardiologist, a rock musician who is in the Buffalo music hall of fame, a Pilates instructor, farmers, branding experts, website designers, entrepreneurs, corporate presidents, college professors and some of Roger’s graduate students who are different ages and nationalities.”

Al loves my party. Why? Because at the party, he is exposed to people who don’t think the same way he does.

One of the most effective ways to get creative is to interact with people from varying backgrounds who have a variety of interests. This isn’t always easy to do, for most of us find it more comfortable to spend time with people familiar to us. To our own detriment, we often don’t make the time or effort to meet new people.

I am pretty sure that we violate the fire code by packing so many people into the house at the holiday party. You can’t help but meet new people when you come. And, if I know two people who would enjoy talking with one another, I make a point to pull them aside to make an introduction.

Research conducted on communication networks determined that the best source of new information is NOT from the people you see regularly. Why? Those people usually have the same information that you do.

The best source of new information is from other networks — people who run in circles different from your own. In technical terms, this is known as non-homogeneous groups. To stimulate your creativity, it is important to tap into groups of people with whom you usually don’t interact.

I offer a program called Breakthroughs Lab, designed to help clients work through tough problems. When I’m hired for these projects, my clients are stuck and facing an obstacle that even their most competent people can’t solve. They often tell me, “We need to have all of the technical experts on this.” I ask them this — “If the technical experts haven’t been able to solve the problem, then why would we have more technical experts work on the problem??

Instead, a Breakthroughs Lab consists of a client and five to seven “creative catalysts” — industry experts who are also highly trained in Creative Problem-Solving. I find people who know very little or nothing about the client’s problem. By nature of being new to the problem, they will have new information that the client does not have. It’s sort of like coming to my holiday party, but the focus is on creating a breakthrough.

The same is true for developing strategy. You will get a much richer result if you include people who are NOT working the business all of the time. They bring the fresh perspective that can set you apart from your competition.

Seek out those people who you might not usually connect with. Talk to them. Learn from them. And if you are in Buffalo, NY in December, give me a call. There might be a party brewing.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Strategy|Want A Better Strategy? Don’t Talk To The Same People.Dr. Roger Firestien has taught more people to lead the creative process than anyone else in the world. He is senior faculty and an associate professor at the Center for Creativity and Change Leadership at SUNY Buffalo, author of Create in A Flash: A Leader’s Recipe For Breakthrough Innovation and President of Innovation Resources, Inc.
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Why Your Business Needs to Collaborate

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Growing Your Business|Why Your Business Needs to CollaborateRunning a small business is challenging, exciting, hard work, demanding, all-consuming and ultimately if you do it well, exceptionally rewarding. But, finding ways to grow and improve that business is tough. One thing that you might consider is collaborating with other companies, either in your field or your local area. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should.

It’s Easy

Business is hard. Growing your business is tough. Coming up with new ideas all of the time and dealing with admin is hard work, and finding new ways to market your business can seem impossible. It can also be terribly complicated. Use contract management and collaboration can be easy. Which means it’s always worthwhile.

To Reach a New Audience

When you collaborate, whoever it is with, their audience, or at least part of it, become your audience. You’ll reach more people without having to do any extra work.

Collaboration Increases Trust

As a new business, it’s hard to gain trust, but crucial that you do if you want to grow. Collaborate with a more experienced and well-respected partner, and the world will start to trust your business too.

Collaboration Can Lead to Inspiration

Do you ever get a creative block? When you feel stuck and as though you can’t move forward or come up with a new idea to push your business forward. We’ve all been there at some point. Collaborate with other business people and creatives, and they will inspire you. They’ll show you new ways to do things and to think, and you could come out of it buzzing with new ideas.

To Grow Your Network

Networking is so vital for small businesses. It gives you a chance to make meaningful connections, for both now and in the future. It gives you access to knowledge and sources of information. It helps you to grow your business and gives you a chance to learn. Networking can also help you to build a helpful support network of people that understand you. Collaborating with other companies in your field, and local companies is a fantastic way to add people to your network.

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Growing Your Business|Why Your Business Needs to CollaborateMoney-Saving

Often, when we collaborate with other businesses, we split costs. Your marketing bill, staff costs and other expenses might not be too much higher, but the costs to your business might be halved. Doubling your budget for the task in hand. Collaborating can also mean that you get free access to an expert and skilled workers. It’s a great way to save money.

Power in Numbers

Have you heard the saying “two heads are better than one”, while it’s not always true, and some of us work much better on our own, when it comes to collaboration in business, it can be. As a small business owner, you might spend your time trying to be an expert on everything, and it doesn’t always work. There might be issues In your business that you just can’t find a solution to, or problems that you can’t seem to overcome. Collaborate with another business, an influencer, or even a freelancer, and you’ll have fresh eyes, and another head to help you, even if it’s just short term.

How To Find People To Connect With In Your Industry

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Connection in Business|How To Find People To Connect With In Your IndustryWhen it comes to owning your own business, one of the best things you can do in terms of growth is to connect with people in your industry. When people say ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’, they are 100% right. Connecting with people within your industry could not only lead you to incredible opportunities, but also to making some lifelong friends that understand what you’re going through on a daily basis. It will help grow your business, give you a better understanding of the industry and allow you to enjoy what you do even more than you already do. With that in mind, here are a number of ways to find people to connect with in your industry:

Use LinkedIn To Search For People In Your Industry

One of the best ways to find people that are in the same industry as you is to use LinkedIn. As a social network that has been designed for professionals, this is a great way to connect with people that follow the same line as work as you. Whilst you may find it difficult to build your connections up at first, once you start having meaningful interactions with people your followers will grow. Once connected, you can regularly engage with the content they share or open up a private discussion in their messages. For a guide to using LinkedIn as a business owner, you can visit this site here.

See Who Else Is Using Your Popular Industry Hashtags

Within your industry, the chances are there will probably be some popular hashtags that are used. The best thing to do is do some research into what hashtags your competitors are using on popular social platforms, following them so you can interact and engage with people in your industry. If you’re looking to follow more people in your industry, you can scroll through the hashtags and connect with people that you think sit perfectly within in your niche. Whilst it does take time, it is one of the best ways to connect with people in your industry. For a guide to finding people using hashtags, you can visit this site here.

Use Public Directories And Search By Occupation

If you want to find people in your industry but you don’t feel as though they will have a strong presence on social media, it may be worth using public directories to search by occupation. With directories that provide both email and phone numbers, you will be able to reach out to anyone that you feel may be a worthwhile connection. For an example of a public directory page, you can visit the Aubrey Ferrao page here.

Think About Attending Industry Events And Conferences

Finally, attending industry events and conferences is one of the best ways to connect with new people. You will have plenty of options to meet with people in person, giving you much more of a starting point that if you were to meet someone online. It may be daunting, but it’s the best way to find people that have things in common with you.

The 5 People You Need Around You To Succeed In Business

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Success in Business|The 5 People You Need Around You To Succeed In BusinessSucceeding in business is not something that you can do alone. Whilst many of the ideas that you use will be entirely down to you, and you will be making all of the big decisions for your company, the truth is that you won’t make it unless you’re surrounded by some great, awe-inspiring people, who know the world of business like the back of their hands. But which people do you need around you if your company is going to become the next big thing in your field?

Here are 5 of them…

#1: The innovator
When you’re hiring for your business, you need to make sure that you’ve picked out some people that don’t always toe the regular business line. Whilst there are some things that are proven to work for most businesses, you’re never going to push through to the next level if you’re not surrounded by people who aren’t scared to take (well-informed) risks now and again, so pick out some innovators.

#2: The mentor
Whilst it’s a good idea to choose out some fresh talent, there’s nothing better than finding out a good mentor, who can tell you all that you need to know about your industry. Ideally, you’ll be able to talk to somebody who has a lot of years under their belt, and has owned various businesses (or one successful one) that has much in common with the direction that you’ll be taking. Seek a mentor!

#3: The expert
Most business owners do all that they can to teach themselves the various tricks of the trade. Whether you’re trying to figure out your IT, your finances, or that perfect logo for your brand, you have to understand sometimes that only the experts can get the job done properly. Seek out some IT support from places like, and look into other ways to get the experts on board.

#4: The friend(s)
Often overlooked in discussions about business, you do actually need to have a good network of out-of-office, non-business friends. Not only will this keep you grounded, but having the support of your friends and family will really help you when you’re trying to make your way through the tough first few months (and years) of business, so don’t underestimate the importance of your support network.

#5: The passionate
You can have all of the people mentioned above around you in your business, but if there is no passion when you walk into your office, then you need to do all that you can to change this. Whoever you meet and manage to get on board, make sure that they’re bursting with passion, and that they really think about what they can offer to help make your vision a reality. Passionate people, apply within.

So, if you want to succeed in business, then make sure that you have these 5 types of people on board with you. It can make or break your company, so don’t get this wrong!