However successful your business and however long you have been in business, there should also be an opportunity to learn from others. Perhaps more importantly, you must always be prepared to learn from others.
There is always a different way of doing things, communicating, using technology, creating systems, making society a better place and as a social entrepreneur it is important you are open to new ideas and embrace change.
You should also be open to who is teaching you – some of Nyasha’ s best learning opportunities have been from the children she has helped through her company Banya Family Placement Agency. By listening to their experiences she has found new ways to help, support and counsel them.
In running her business and charities, Nyasha also ensures her staff and volunteers have plenty of opportunity to attend internal and external training courses to develop themselves professionally and personally. She encourages work experience placements for University students and practice placements for social workers. She also uses every opportunity to educate herself on new ways of doing things in her business, researching, using Google, questioning experts and learning from the people around her. She also values learning from mistakes she has made in business. We are all human – we will make mistakes -that isn’t an issue – but it is important to ensure that every mistake is an opportunity to reflect and learn from the experience.
Learning should be active though. It is easy to learn passively – but unless the learning results in a change in systems, behaviour, attitudes or values, the learning is wasted. It is important to apply what you are learning both in business and in life.
For example, currently Nyasha is educating herself about finance – this was as a result of the economic crisis in 2008/9 – she wanted to understand more about why the crisis happened and how to mitigate the future risk of being uninformed. She still hasn’t worked out why it happened but as a result of her learning she is creating World Impact Capital, a private equity fund focusing on social impact investment for women-owned businesses in Southern Africa. As an African lady who continues to have her heart in Africa whilst living in England, Nyasha has also done some research about doing business in Africa in the 21st century. Through all her learning she realised women in Africa need support to set up and grow businesses to provide for their children and ultimately create jobs. Hence the need for venture funding to help the process.
What have you learnt recently – and more importantly, how have you applied it? Do share in the comments below.