Take a design thinking class

“Design thinking” is a business methodology that is credited to design firm IDEO in the late 1970s and has since been embraced by many different companies and industries. The idea behind design thinking, or as it’s often called, human-centered design, is to solve complex problems using empathy, iteration, experimentation, and the embrace of failure (sound familiar?). In other words, it’s a way of solving problems with your customers in mind. This method sounds simple, but once you go through the five steps of design thinking, you’ll discover new and creative ways to solve your problems. For example, if you had trouble making sales at one of your direct sales events, going through a design thinking exercise relative to this predicament can help you come up with solutions you might not have thought of before for the next event. The fun thing about design thinking is that you can apply it not just to your business but other aspects of your life. Bridge Innovate, IDEO, and Udemy offer online and in-person design thinking courses.

Read three books by female entrepreneurs

Women-owned companies make up 39% of all businesses in the U.S. In the direct sales industry, though 75% of the workforce are women, executive roles as of 2019 are still mostly filled by men. That means when it comes to business leadership, much of the advice available is from a male perspective. Regardless of your gender, gaining a different perspective on how other people have found success is a helpful way to find answers to some of your business problems. A great way to do this is by reading what other entrepreneurs have gone through, specifically women. We suggest picking up these three books written by women who have successfully started their own companies: 

Of course, if you’re looking for other ways to inspire yourself into action and support women entrepreneurs, we have some recommendations on what to do and who to follow

Meet a competitor for lunch

You know that saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? There’s absolute truth in that. But though other companies and independent contractors may be competing with you for the same clientele, considering them your enemies isn’t exactly a healthy mindset. But that old saying is right in that there’s much to learn from your competition. Rather than working against each other, why not try to work together? Ask your biggest business rival to lunch and share ideas of what’s working and not working for each of you. And who knows, maybe you can find a way to work together. After all, there’s plenty of room for both of you in your industry, right? 

Want another new year resolution? Plan on joining NFICA in 2020. It costs just $5 a year. You’ll get access to discounts on travel, office supplies, shipping, and software, along with term life insurance and supplemental health insurance, as well as other benefits.

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