A conversation with some schoolteacher friends at a BBQ got me thinking about education and how it impacts our businesses.
Now, I know there’s a lot of successful entrepreneurs who give it the big “university of life, self-made zillionaire” routine whenever this subject comes up…
And personally, I pretty much hated school between the ages of 11 and 15, before taking a belated interest for the final couple of years as I learned to stop counting the hours/minutes/seconds to the last bell…
But I think there’s a lot to be said for the school experience…
At least for marketers and entrepreneurs…
Things vary from place to place, but the ‘traditional western’ schooling model many of us went through provides some useful experiences for the budding biz-owner.
(Not to mention inspiration for one of the greatest movie genres ever, the High School Comedy.
Where would we be without Dazed & Confused, Heathers, Ferris Bueller, Clueless and the inexplicably underrated Breakfast Club knock-off Summer School starring Mark Harmon & Kirstie Alley (the 32nd highest-grossing film of 1987)?
BORINGSVILLE, that’s where.)
Thing is though, education doesn’t always work in the way it’s intended.
We go in green, and we come out… different, if not exactly ‘educated’.
And as you know, in marketing, different is often better than, well, ‘better’…
So the same lesson can be experienced 20 different ways by 20 students.
Not everyone gets the same takeaway, and nobody ever remembers the same details.
But when you spend 6+ hours a day bunked up in a classroom with a gaggle of peers, you can’t help but take something away from the experience, even if Pythagoras’ theorem* disappears from your brainbox the moment you graduate.
* I think it’s something to do with how they make cheese.
Like it or not, school helps shape us as businesspeople…
It moulds us – sometimes we escape that mould later, and sometimes a few of the indents stick around.
Take the way you respond to authority – a lot of that comes from school…
And what can be a hindrance when you’re 13 and determined to question EVERYTHING and listen to NOBODY WHO REPRESENTS ‘THE MAN’, can stand you in pretty good stead for entrepreneurship.
How you prefer to learn your craft – reading, practicing, listening, last-minute cramming or plain ol’ cheating (see me after class) – that starts early too.
Then there’s the relationships you make that help grow your biz – you’ve been doing that since you were four years old, and it’s fascinating to see how this develops over time.
Some pretty good lessons in there, book-learned or not.
And if you were lucky enough to go to university or college, you got to extend this period of learning/experimentation and merge it with actual adult living (sorta)…
The rules were pretty much the same as when you were in 1st grade, but you also got to eat what you want and live in your own filth for a few years.
And after that you’re out in the big wide world, often starting with a sucky J.O.B. that establishes the motivations and passions for your future biz.
Suddenly, education is no longer a one-way street
Now you’re able to influence others and even teach people what you’ve learned too…
I don’t mean Pythagoras’ Theorem** and all that stuff. That’s not really learning, it’s just remembering.
** wait, is it the one about your arm span being the same as your height?
I’m talking about the things that help you make your mark on the world.
The experiences, triumphs and unmitigated disasters that made you YOU.
We may not all be teachers, but in business we all get to be guides.
Each of us is able to guide others by showing them a faster, cheaper, more effective or even just more FUN way of doing something.
Some of these experiences are hard-earned with scars, some cost a king’s ransom, others come completely by accident.
But when you share that knowledge in a product or service, you’re doing something completely unique to you:
You’re guiding people down a better path, and shaping their experience of the world, even if it’s in a small way.
What a wonderful thing.
So I hope you’re able to guide someone this week…
It’s a great feeling, and you don’t have to be a schoolteacher to do it – though 6 weeks’ vacation each summer can’t be all bad (my teacher friends LOVE IT when I roll out that fake news stat)…
But remember, what you’ve learned and how you share it is a crucial part of Selling Unique.
That’s what happens when you communicate your biz’s uniqueness to the right people in the most effective way…
…and sales follow.
Because those people understand WHO you are, HOW you can help them and WHAT you stand for, beyond just the ch-ching of the cash register.
And if you want to communicate all that in a way that captures your best prospect’s interest AND builds trust with your audience, I have just the thing for ya.
It takes just 1 hour (half the time of one of those double maths lessons you used to hate) and incredibly, I’ll be the one doing the homework…
It’s called a Selling Unique Clarity Session, and you can find more details right over heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.
I just opened up a few slots for the rest of the summer and I’ll be back at my desk next week for the first one.
This could be the difference between an A+ and an F (like I got in Chemistry, ugh) for your messaging clarity. Are you in?
Including your chance to bag an early bird discount while getting complete clarity on how you express your biz’s unique value.
PS – look, if you insist… we can substitute The Breakfast Club for Summer School in this list. I just always go for the deep cuts, y’know. What’s your #1 High School Comedy? Hit up the comments below and tell me! I’m a sucker for movie chat.