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The Ghosts of Business Past, Present and Future

The Ghosts of Business

Past, Present and Future

Every small business needs a well-thought growth strategy. What has worked in the past will not necessarily carry your organization to future levels of success. Much like the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic, business leaders need to evaluate their past strategies and current trajectory in order to avoid an unpleasant future outcome.

The Ghost of Business Past

Here’s a startling statistic: 86 percent of companies that were on the Fortune 500 in 1955 no longer exist today, according to a recent CNBC Make It article. While there’s a natural rise and fall to a brand’s marketshare, wise entrepreneurs will carefully strategize their growth from a small business to a mid-sized organization and beyond.

We can’t say that those Fortune 500 extinctions were all the result of poor planning. There’s leadership, technology and a host of other factors to consider for why a brand’s popularity may plummet. However, we know that growth strategies need continual reevaluation. In the 1970s, for instance, it was all about mergers and acquisitions to gain marketshare. However, by the late 1980s, many conglomerates were breaking up in favor of breaking into new technologies more rapidly. It’s important to stay on top of market trends and adjust growth strategies.

The Ghost of Business Present

Today, there are numerous business strategies to consider — 22 to be exact, according to “The Profit Zone” by Adrian Slywotzky, Bob Andelman and David Morrison, which examines the strategies of the world’s most influential business leaders. This means there’s no “one size fits all” strategy for growth. You need to identify the best strategy for your unique business.

One thing is certain: a successful growth strategy is the product of careful planning.

Entrepreneurs need to chart a well defined course to guide business decisions. A growth plan will help business owners minimize their risks, uncover opportunities and avoid common pitfalls, such as failing to delegate responsibilities.

Successful growth strategy begins with an accurate assessment of your business’ strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Know your competition, and know the things which set you apart. A good way to gauge how you’re doing is to ask your existing clients for feedback. Ask how your company can improve. What new products or services would your clients like you to provide?

One caveat. Be careful not to hasten toward every growth opportunity you find. Ensure you’re employing “smart growth.” Consider whether it’s the right path for your business, and protect your profit margins.

A strong mission statement should guide your decision making. Is it time to reevaluate yours? Avoid flowery statements containing buzzwords and jargon while lacking specificity. The goal of a mission statement is to let your employees and business partners know exactly, yet concisely, what your business is all about. These core values will also inform your decisions about growth opportunities.

The Ghost of Business Future

Many studies confirm the rate of business failure is accelerating. A study conducted by Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis projects that 40 percent of the current Fortune 500 companies won’t be around 10 years from now. Will your business follow that grim forecast, or will you, like Scrooge, redirect your course and make the adjustments needed for a prosperous future?

Be sure your growth plan includes a vision for the future. Where do you want to be in three years? Five years? 20 years? Create an action plan to achieve this vision. And make sure all key players in your organization are on board. Doing things the way you’ve always done them rarely results in sustained growth.

While maintaining consistent quality standards is important, a willingness to adapt to market trends is equally vital. You probably created a business plan in the beginning; review it on a regular basis. Investors and clients will want to see a business plan that’s up-to-date. This critical document should define what’s going to happen and when; who’s responsible for what; and what’s expected for sales, expenses and cash. This requires continual analysis and adjustment to ensure you are still on course for desired growth.

If the Ghost of Business Past is threatening to haunt your future growth, there’s no time like the present to make adjustments. Contact the professionals at Brink Results today to start implementing business solutions for maximized growth and profitability.

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Make Your Customers Fall Head Over Heels for Your Business!

What are your customers saying about your business?

How connected do they feel to your products and services? Perhaps it’s time to implement a strategy for making your clients (current and future) fall head over heels for your business.

A Word about WOMM

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is widely recognized to be the most powerful and effective way to create loyal customers. BUT…word of mouth can also destroy your business if issues are not promptly and effectively handled. Consider that when a person has an outstanding customer service experience, they are likely to share that experience with four to six others.

And the converse is also true:

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000.” — Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.

So, how do you ensure your customers are “head over heels” in love with your business? Consider the following six strategies for creating loyal customers — ones who will gush about your service and recommend your business to their neighbors and friends.

#1 Know Your Customers

Creating loyal customers begins with knowing who your customers are. Like all successful relationships, it starts with romance. Create a profile of your ideal customers and woo them with targeted marketing. What are the fears, desires and needs of prospective clients that will attract them to your business, and how is your business uniquely equipped to address those concerns and desires? Once you’ve won their business, continue to nurture a long-term, committed relationship. According to the “80/20” rule in business, about 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your sales. These are the customers you need to spend your time and energy wooing and maintaining.

#2 Prioritize Customer Experience

According to the Walker “Customers 2020” report, 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. By 2020, the study predicts, customer experience (knowns as “CX”), will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. If you want your customers to stay loyal, you need to invest in their experience. When a customer has an issue, how easy is it to talk to a live person? And when they reach a live operator, will that person be able to follow through, or will the customer be asked to repeat information to multiple representatives before the issue is resolved? Investing in outstanding customer service will reap greater customer retention.

#3 Manage Customer Expectations

Dissatisfaction is most frequently the product of unmet expectations. From your earliest interactions with a customer, ask open-ended questions. What are your overall goals? What results do you expect from our products and services? What is your desired timeframe? Once you know your customer’s expectations, make sure you honestly communicate what you are able to deliver and when. It may be advisable to overestimate the time it will take you to a complete a project. That way, if you finish early, your customer will be impressed, rather than frustrated if the project takes longer than estimated. Try to under-promise and over-deliver, thus exceeding expectations.

#4 Cultivate Trust

Authentic, timely communication is paramount to developing trust with clients. Most people have a hefty sense of skepticism these days, so you will need to win their confidence. Engage customers with a uniquely “real” voice in written communications. It’s tempting to always spin company news positively, but admitting failures can actually enhance customer loyalty. It puts a human face on the organization and offers a point of relatability. If there are problems with your products or services, be upfront. Notify customers before they are affected by any changes, good or bad. And make sure to provide plenty of opportunity for two-way communication.

#5 Respond to Feedback

Actively seek feedback from your customers to determine how you can improve their experience with your business. Use surveys, focus groups, social media, email and point-of-sale contacts to initiate two-way communication. Then listen. Ignoring customer feedback is no way to make them fall in love with your brand. Show customers you value their opinions. If client surveys indicate a frustrating customer service experience, take action by hiring more representatives or training your current employees to respond more effectively. Always be open to change in response to customer feedback.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft

#6 Implement Loyalty Programs

Showing frequent appreciation to faithful customers is key to retention. Make your customers feel special through loyalty programs, exclusive clubs or VIP events. Be available for calls and be prompt with email replies. Continue to create satisfied customers through ongoing support and special promotions. Consider giveaways, sweepstakes, contests and discounts with cross-marketing on email, social media, in-store promotions and print. Make sure your best customers feel like royalty.

And always say, “Thank you.” They’ve chosen to spend their dollars with your business; never take that for granted. Consider this advice from Walmart Founder Sam Walton:

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

So, as you watch the autumn leaves fall, think about getting your customers to fall head over heels for your business! Need more ideas? Allow the professionals at Brink Results to show you how to create raving customers through business solutions designed for maximized growth and profitability.

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9 Scary Good Tips on How to Be Productive

Take a look at these “scary good tips” to optimize productivity!

It’s the season of spooky sights…is your workplace one of them? Is the paperwork piling up? Are there unanswered messages to be returned? How will you make time for that meeting? All of these frightful thoughts might make you want to grab a mask and hide. But, alas, your work will still be waiting. How can you better manage your time, be more productive and leave work each day with a sense of true accomplishment?

Avoid Monster To-Do Lists     

It’s a good idea to create a list of tasks which need to be accomplished for the day, but be realistic. Don’t write out an impossible list which will leave you feeling overwhelmed and deflated at the end of the day. Try using the “1-3-5 Rule” from The Muse COO Alex Cavoulacos. This is a to-do list limited to one big thing, three medium things and five small things you can accomplish each day.

Knock Out Tiny Tasks

The “2-Minute Rule” is another handy tool touted by productivity guru David Allen. As you are planning your day, you’ll think of many little things that could be done quickly — in less than two minutes — things like tidying up your desk, responding to one email or plugging in your phone to charge so it’s ready when you need it. Instead of adding these tiny tasks to your daily list, just do them! Now.

Don’t Cower to BIG Tasks

So you’ve identified that “one big thing” that needs to be accomplished. But if it’s a really big project, you may need to break it down into more manageable pieces and delegate the work over several days. Never make a huge project just one item on your to-do list. Every project has big, medium and small tasks involved in its ultimate achievement.

Prioritize for Productivity

You’ve created a simplified to-do list. Great! Now don’t just stare at that list in horror. Where to start? With the most important item first! You have a limited amount of time in any given workday. What good would it be to check all the small tasks off your list only to realize at the end of the day that you’ve never gotten to your highest priority item? Tackle the toughest task first. Imagine your sense of accomplishment if you knock it out before lunch!

Mitigate Monster Meetings

Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself, is it really necessary? Can the goal be accomplished more efficiently through email, a phone call or video conference? Never schedule an “update” meeting; updates can almost always happen by email. If you must do a face-to-face, don’t schedule a full hour. Limiting meetings to under 40 minutes and phone calls to less than 20 minutes will help keep chit-chat to a minimum and encourage focus for maximum productivity.

Limit Dastardly Distractions

Turn the ringer off your phone, or better yet, put it out of sight when you need to focus. Constantly checking those notifications will derail productivity. Thought you could just respond to that one text? Before you know it, you’ve wasted an hour catching up with social media notifications. If you’re lacking self-control, there’s an app for that (several, actually) to help you escape from online distractions during your workday.

Make a “Stop Doing List”

Highly successful people often swear by their to-do lists, but consider making another kind of list. What do you need to stop doing in order to be more productive? If you end the day exhausted, you need to identify the things that are taking up your time but don’t really matter. Maybe you need to stop worrying about things you can’t change (like another person’s attitude), or stop engaging in office drama.

Don’t Be Deceived by the Multitasking Monster

It’s time to take the mask off the multitasking fallacy. Our brains are not wired to do more than one task at a time. Make a conscious effort to mono-task until the job is done. Constantly switching from one task to another makes each task take longer. It is impossible to fully commit your mental energy to the most important work while simultaneously trying to accomplish something else.

Eliminate Time Vampires

Have you ever gotten to the end of a workday and wondered where the time went? If you have little to show for your eight hours on the clock, start hunting for time vampires. They might be things like checking your personal email and social media, or they could be people — the coworker who always want to chat, the client who treats everything as a crisis or the employee who demands hand-holding. Identify the scenarios that are sucking away your time and address them.

Stop being tricked by time management monsters! Let the professionals at Brink Results treat you to spook-free business solutions for maximized growth, productivity and profitability.

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3 Don’ts and 3 Do’s for Becoming a Better Listener

Learn How to Listen Again

Are you a big idea person? Great! Those you lead are likely inspired by your thoughts. Just be careful to remember your employees have good thoughts, and maybe even big ideas, too.

A charismatic and decisive personality may have catapulted you to the top of your industry, but you won’t succeed without the support of your staff. Employees want to feel valued, and a big part of that is believing they are being heard. How good are you at the crucial skill of listening?

If you’ve ever been accused of being a boss that doesn’t listen, it may be time for some lessons. Here are 3 Don’ts and 3 Do’s for becoming a better listener.

DON’T…assume you know all the answers.

When a problem — or an opportunity — presents itself, you may be tempted to jump in and take decisive action. A wise leader will first seek and consider other viewpoints and opinions. Be careful not to let the loud voices drown out meeker personalities. You may miss sage advice or a creative perspective for approaching the situation. If you think you already have all the answers, you won’t hear anything else.

DON’T…check your phone or computer monitor.

To really listen, you need to get rid of distractions. In today’s workplace, it’s commonplace to have phones or laptops constantly within reach. Pay attention to how often you glance at a screen while talking to someone else. Each time you do, you are briefly checking out of the conversation — and sending the signal that listening is not a priority. Put away the phone and other distractions and really tune into what is being said. If you have too much going on, schedule a better time to talk when you can focus.

DON’T…overreact to opposing views.

Be aware of your “hot buttons” and don’t overreact to negative or differing opinions. When you become offended, your receptivity shuts down. Even if the other person is speaking in an angry tone, try to listen to their perspective and find common ground. Avoid the temptation to interrupt and interject your opinion. If you do, no one will be listening.

DO…pay attention to nonverbal clues.

A large part of communication is nonverbal. A person may be saying one thing with his voice but another entirely with his body language. Pay careful attention to facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact and posture. If an employee is agreeing with you verbally but leaning back and crossing her arms against her chest, acknowledge the mixed message and ask her true opinion.

DO…acknowledge what you are hearing.

There’s nothing more deflating to a person than to have an idea he’s invested a lot of thought into quickly dismissed by a superior. Even if you are pressed for time, acknowledge all ideas presented in meetings. Take a few seconds to summarize what you’ve just heard, and ask clarifying questions. You don’t have to say you agree, but you should always express gratitude for the information. This conveys the message you are really listening.

DO…make listening a priority.

Listening is a mindset. It needs to be consciously practiced. As a leader, you need to acknowledge listening as a critically important skill — one worthy of effort. Use your strong voice to lead, but also know when it’s time to listen. Your colleagues and employees will appreciate your recognition of their intellect and value to the organization.

Want more tips on how to develop your leadership skills? The professional business consultants at Brink Results help grow companies through management training, people development, organizational assessments and professional coaching. Learn more about how listening and other skills development can boost your team’s productivity!

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Get Schooled on Marketing for Small Businesses

Does wondering how to attract new customers keep you up at night?

Most small business owners don’t feel they have the time to keep up with marketing trends and stay on top of new technology. You know you should be doing more, but where do you start? It’s time to go back to school! Here’s a quick education on marketing for small businesses.

1. Write a Marketing Plan

One of the smartest things you can do for your business is to develop a marketing plan outlining your strategy for attracting new customers. Your mission statement is the foundation of your marketing plan. Use your business goals to create an effective marketing strategy. You will need to identify your target market, determine your unique selling position and develop the ideal pricing strategy. You will also need to determine your marketing budget and map out a promotional plan. Find more information on developing an effective marketing plan on thebalancesmb.com.

2. Create Marketing Materials

Cool, new apps are being created for swapping contact info at networking events, but don’t ditch paper business cards yet. They are still the standard — just make sure yours stands out. Consider professional design, embellishments which are relevant to your business or a brief “call to action” offering a special discount. You can’t, and shouldn’t, include everything about your business on a business card, so spend some time developing a professional brochure as well. Make sure there is a digital version available on your website. You may also consider a complete redesign of your website, if it’s been a few years, to keep it fresh and functional.

3. Engage in Networking

All the bells and whistles available on the web will never trump your interpersonal communication skills. Face-to-face networking is still a huge part of growing a successful business. Join your local chamber of commerce, register for a small business conference, or organize your own local event. Networking with peers will help you learn new strategies and may generate valuable leads. If you are attending a networking event, do some research in advance so you know which workshops will be most beneficial and which attendees you should seek to meet. It’s also a good idea to practice your “elevator pitch.” Think about what’s truly unique about your business, then create an attention-grabbing “hook” to start the conversation.

4. Spend Advertising Dollars Strategically

Conduct market research so you know who your customers really are. This will help you spend your advertising dollars more effectively. Buy ad space on relevant websites or advertise during television programs likely to be watched by your target audience. Facebook is a highly effective and inexpensive online tool for delivering ads to users who fit within specified demographics that are relevant to your business. Consider high tech and low tech options, from social media marketing to a sidewalk sign promoting your daily specials.

5. Use Social Media

Attempt to fully leverage the power of social media marketing. It may take some time — and perhaps professional assistance — to optimize your social media presence, but the payoff can be tremendous. According to a Pew survey, at least 76% of U.S. internet users engage in social media. Among young adults, 90% use social networks. Explore the power of marketing your business on popular social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Yelp. Find out more about the 10 top social media sties for business on Lyfe Marketing. Additionally, consider other internet marketing options such as blog posts and YouTube videos.

6. Focus on Long-Term Relationship Building

Not only do you want to gain new customers; you want to keep them! You must continually be building customer satisfaction. You want your new customers to stay with you for years to come AND to recommend your business to others. To ensure your clients are happy with your products and services, periodically ask for feedback through customer satisfaction surveys. Other ways to build long term relationships include volunteering your time at charitable events in your community. And don’t forget to send your best clients holiday gifts and birthday cards!

7. Enlist Professional Help

The internet offers many helpful tips and tutorials. You may want to start with Constant Contact’s video, “Getting Schooled on Small Business Marketing.” Sign up for a webinar or participate in a seminar to learn more. If you still feel overwhelmed and uncertain of where to start, consider hiring a marketing consultant. Look for someone with expertise in key areas such as search engine optimization (SEO), brand positioning, marketing strategy, lead generation and campaign development. Ask for references and a list of notable achievements. You may also want to consider hiring a sales coach.

The professionals at Brink Results offer many online and in-person training and consulting options and are eager to help you grow your small business!

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Get Out of Your Mid-Year Rut!

Are you stuck in a rut at work?

Perhaps your creative energy is zapped, your motivation is lacking, or you see little hope for moving up. If your career seems to have hit a plateau and you find yourself in a mid-year rut, don’t give up! There are strategies you can employ to pull yourself out and make upward progress toward your goals.

1 | Don’t Get Stuck by the “Sunk-cost” Fallacy

Falling for this fallacy often keeps people stuck in dead-end cycles. A sunk cost is defined as any past cost that has already been paid and cannot be recovered. This could be an investment of time, money, emotional energy or other resources. A simplified illustration would be continuing to eat after your are full because you don’t want to “waste” the meal you’ve paid for. Yet you will make yourself uncomfortable (and unhealthy) by continuing to eat. Apply this principle to decisions you are making on the job. Are you “locked in” to making something work just because you have invested so much time and energy into it? Pause to evaluate rationally whether it makes sense to invest further resources.

2 | Go Beyond Wishful Thinking

Stop wallowing in self pity and start digging out of your rut! Having a dream is good, but you need to develop a path to attain it. If the roadblocks seem impassible, you are focusing on the wrong thing. Go beyond wishful thinking and pinpoint why you are feeling stuck. Try journaling. Brainstorm ideas. Do research. Ask yourself difficult questions and be honest with the answers. What is holding you back from breaking out of your rut? What are you afraid of? What are you passionate about? What opportunities are you currently overlooking? You can start by simply asking, “What if…?” Then take the first step toward making your dream a reality.

3 | Set Attainable Goals

It’s great to paint a vision of your end goal….but don’t stop there. Big-picture plans are needful, but even more so are the intermediate steps to get there. Set realistic goals and reward yourself for smaller achievements on the path toward your ultimate dream. For example, if you are passionate about helping people but find yourself stuck in a cubicle most of the day, what are the steps you need to take to shift your career path toward a more fulfilling role? What hurdles stand in your way, and what can you do to leap over them? Realistically assess your talents and set attainable goals accordingly.

4 | Do Something Different! 

We’ve all heard the quote oft-attributed to Einstein that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” You can wish all the day long for your circumstances to change, but they never will if you don’t get moving. Break up your blasé routine, beginning with small changes. Try rearranging your desk or office. Take a mid-morning walk outside to invigorate your mind. Sign up for a seminar or workshop on a topic you find interesting. Engage in a new hobby. Take a personality test to uncover hidden talents and behavioral motivators. You never know where inspiration might strike!

5 | Get Advice

As you consider new possibilities, ask people you respect for advice. Identify your most successful friends and acquaintances and invite them to share their perspective on your current position and how you might move forward. Turn to your closest friends for candor. We often have “blindspots” that friends can point out, if we are humble enough to listen. Sometimes it’s also helpful to enlist a professional. Reach out to a life or career coach. Author and entrepreneur Scott H. Young suggests employing a “weak link analysis” on yourself to overcome personal and professional plateaus.

If you feel stuck and need help progressing toward your career goals, the professional business consultants at Brink Results can help you gain momentum. NOW is the time to grab that shovel and start digging your way out of the rut! CONTACT NOW

 

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How to Keep Your Cool at Work

7 Strategies to ‘Keep Your Cool’ in a Heated Workplace

We’ve all been there. A big deadline is looming. Coworkers are being annoying. The boss is irritable…maybe things are even going badly at home. You feel like one more thing might cause you to explode. How can you keep your cool when you’re in the pressure cooker on the job?

You could invest in anger management classes, but chances are, you just need a little coaching. Anyone can learn to self-regulate their emotions. The next time you feel like going off on a verbal tirade, step away and try these seven strategies for self-calming.

1. Bite Your Tongue — Literally.   

Don’t bite hard, but gently and discreetly put a little pressure on your tongue, just enough to keep you from immediately responding to an irksome comment. Consider if there is really anything to be gained by a retort. If someone else is spouting off, any comments from you will likely make them even angrier. Don’t feel you need to respond to every negative comment directed your way.

2. Take a Step Back.

If someone is coming at you, take a literal step back as you “step away” from the verbal attack. Take a deep breath to clear your mind and close your eyes for a moment to distance yourself from the other person. When you open your eyes, you’ll find yourself in a better mental space.

3. Put on Your Poker Face.

Even if you aren’t saying a word, your actions could further provoke an angry coworker. Remember, actions do speak louder than words. Be conscious of your body language. Make a every effort to avoid rolling your eyes, sighing or raising your eyebrows.

4. Don’t Be a Know-It-All.

Correcting facts may be needful at times, but keep it straightforward. And some things don’t need to be corrected. If someone forgets a few minor details while relating a story, you don’t have to be the know-it-all who says, “You’re wrong!” just to inflate your own ego. Sometimes it’s wise to let non-critical errors slide.

5. Be an Active Listener.

Often, people who go off in anger are simply wanting to feel they are understood. You don’t want to fuel a fire by responding in anger, but it’s also unwise to remain mute. Both responses are likely to make an angry person angrier. Nod your head and say things like “I hear you” and “I see how this might upset you.”

6. Don’t Take Sides.

No one likes a gossip. To avoid being seen as two-faced, carefully consider your words. Don’t join in when one coworker is badmouthing another. Use neutral language to avoid inserting yourself into the drama. If you are pushed to give your opinion, employ gentle words. You may be able to neutralize the situation with statements like, “I’m not sure what I think about that.”

7. Laugh a Little.

Laughing may be the last thing you think about doing when tempers are rising, but it is a proven stress reliever. You don’t want to be seen as laughing at someone else, but you certainly can attempt to lighten the mood. Try laughing at yourself a little. Are you making your situation weightier than it needs to be? Learn to use humor to diffuse tension in the office. Just make sure the joke is never at someone else’s expense.

Words spoken in anger are usually regretted. It’s much better to step back and regain your calm. Conflict in the office is unavoidable, but it can be mitigated with clear thinking, gentle language and, perhaps, a little humor. If your team could use some help managing workplace behavior and relationships, contact the professional business consultants at Brink Results. Help everyone in the office to keep cool in the midst of heated work situations.

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P2P 101: Why Training Peer-to-Peer Works Better

Is the money your company spends on training paying off? Corporate training courses deliver an intense amount of information in a short period of time — most of which is promptly forgotten. How can learning be reinforced and retained? The answer may be peer-to-peer training.

What is P2P?

Peer-to-peer, or P2P, happens when people train their colleagues. It’s an ongoing form of learning that’s reinforced at regular intervals.

German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the “forgetting curve” in the late 1800s, and brain science has since confirmed that we forget most of what we learn within hours of receiving new information; retention one week later is generally less than 10 percent.

P2P learning has a much higher success rate. It’s done in a nonthreatening environment with continued opportunities for questions and discussions. Both the trainer and the trainee benefit from this exchange of knowledge, as well as the organization, which benefits from a culture of knowledge sharing. Peer-to-peer training can take many forms, including weekly small group gatherings, as well as online discussions and resource sharing.

5 Key Benefits of P2P Training:

#1: Cost Effectiveness — In contrast to spending thousands of dollars to send a handful of employees to a training seminar, all that’s required for P2P training is a conference room at your facility. Training can be scheduled on a regular basis during a time when it’s most convenient for your team. There will still be occasions when outside training is needed, but peer-to-peer learning is a low-cost, high-value supplement.

#2: Employee Engagement — According to a recent Gallup report, just 33 percent of U.S. employees report feeling engaged at work. Researchers found that employee engagement has a positive impact on several key performance outcomes including a company’s profitability, productivity and turnover rates. Peer-to-peer training engages employees by giving them opportunities to learn and grow — and to share their knowledge with others, especially if responsibilities for leading P2P sessions are rotated.

#3: Institutional Agility — Things change rapidly in business. Technological innovations require companies to be adaptable. This makes knowledge sharing within your organization critical. Peer-to-peer training works against knowledge “silos” and allows employees from various departments to stay up-to-date on industry trends and useful technologies. Knowledge hoarding can no longer be tolerated; knowledge sharing is powerful.

#4: Retainment of Intellectual Assets — Institutional memory loss is a real problem for many large and small corporations. Today’s workforce is increasingly transient. Bureau of Labor statistics show the average person changes jobs about 12 times during a career, and the average employee tenure is just 4.2 years. When employees leave, they often take valuable knowledge with them — knowledge that could have helped remaining peers and future new hires. When a company implements a P2P learning system, knowledge is regularly shared, so it doesn’t walk out the door with employees who resign or retire.

#5: Team Building — People are generally more relaxed with their peers than when they’re with the boss. When new information is presented from someone at the same level, it’s often absorbed more readily. Training peer-to-peer allows team members to learn together. It engenders respect and camaraderie and may even motivate lower performing employees to step up their game. Everyone brings unique skills, experiences and knowledge to the conversation.

“Two people will collectively know more than one,” writes Forbes contributor Douglas Merrill. “Three will know more than two. And when you have a room full of smart people sharing their knowledge, there’s very little you can’t accomplish together.”

Of course, there is still a place for outside training and consultants to bring new skills and knowledge to your team. However, you’ll get more “bang for your buck” if you supplement this training with peer-to-peer learning. After the consultant is gone, knowledge will be retained at a higher rate as employees continue the conversation and share what they are learning.

Is it time for your organization to create a culture of knowledge sharing? The professional business consultants at Brink Results can help you establish and implement a peer-to-peer training system that will boost employee engagement, increase institutional agility and stimulate innovation to grow your business.