Bring Your Past Experiences to Your Business

Elizabeth Reyn

So you finally started that small business. That’s great! Finally, all those years answering the phone, alphabetizing file folders, and creating press packets proved more valuable than just the $10 an hour you were getting .

You cultivated that idea you’ve been harboring and took the steps to see it through, which included establishing your company’s mission and services, and hired like-minded staff members who could see your projects though.

It is important to remember that your past experiences are more than just stepping stones to the place you eventually want to be. Those internships and jobs have allowed you to grow as a working professional by helping build your skillset.

But while you shouldn’t abandon all that you’ve learned, you also shouldn’t let every aspect your prior work experience overshadow the new work you’re about to undertake. Your new business will require different responsibilities and a different system of getting work done. And you don’t want to be stuck doing the same work you’ve been doing.

Here’s how to effectively take your experiences at your previous work and apply it to your new business.

In with the Good, Out with the Bad

Admit it, not every work experience was a good one. Were you stuck on a team with a colleague who was doing half the work and receiving all the credit? Did you notice anything detrimental about the way the business you worked for was run? What did you like/didn’t like about your previous work experience? Take what you learned at face value and apply all of the favorable yet useful aspects to your business.

Be Open to New Advice

Even though it’s your business, never shoot down anyone else’s claims before giving them a chance. You want to bring what you learned to better the project you’re working on, but you don’t want to come off pushy. You’re going to be working with colleagues and clients from diverse professional backgrounds. Maybe they may know things that you don’t. Put in your two cents, but also be sure to stay open to new ideas about how to get work done. Everyone has something to offer, and sometimes that something can be the most efficient method.

Be Helpful Without Being a Know-It-All

Any previous training you have received that would be beneficial to the business is invaluable to your colleagues or interns. If you’re in charge of training, in addition to walking them through the office, teach them things that will be helpful during their time at the business. Microsoft short-cuts, when to fax vs. when to scan important documents, how to construct a press packet for efficient marketing, etc. are always useful to learn as part of any business.

Expand on Your Skillset

Your skills from your previous experience shouldn’t stop once you’ve developed your own business. Keep following up with what you’ve learned to see if there are faster, more efficient ways of getting work done. Learn about different operating systems. Expand on your experience by getting certified in Google Adwords. There is never an overabundance of tweaking and improvements that can be made to benefit your business.