You’ve recently started a new business and you have a thousand different ideas and projects for growth. We know the feeling – it’s exhilarating.
We also know that proper, professional communication is what takes a start-up to success.
Whether it’s through language training or a business English course, strengthening your communication skills will allow you to better convey your company message and establish a solid brand identity. Here are six other reasons to learn a language and how it benefits you, your team and your business as a whole.
This may sound obvious, but it’s often overlooked. You may have thought, “English is an international business language. If I speak English, I can do business anywhere in the world.” This is true… to some extent.
If you want to grow your business and set up shop in a new country, knowing the local language is a mandatory step. English is a good start, but it won’t cut it when you have to understand and implement the requirements to set-up your business (e.g the paperwork might not be in English). Once you’re up and running, you will be communicating with people who might not know English.
Here’s an important tip: if you communicate your company message in the local language, you will seem more trustworthy, professional and respectful. It’s crucial that your potential audience recognizes these qualities.
2. Enhances Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
Whether you’re setting up in your native country or abroad, delivering service in your customer’s native language is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary service. It avoids miscommunication, misunderstandings and reassures your clientele that their needs will be met.
A happy customer becomes a loyal customer. Loyalty turns into advocacy. When people share their positive experience with your company to their friends and family, you have gained new customers – without spending a single marketing dollar. Word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing, but also the hardest one to achieve. Get it right from the start, make your customers happy and comfortable (in their native language), and you will reap the fruits of your efforts in no time.
3. New knowledge = new perspective
When you open your mind to knowledge, you also allow yourself to see things from a different angle. With that in mind, the potential is infinite.
This will become even more apparent to you if/when you hire an employee from a different cultural background to your own. Diversity offers different ideas and opinions, all essential for the growth of new business. Embrace your differences with people and always see diversity as opportunity.
4. Culture is just as important
Learning a new language is also understanding and appreciating another culture. Cultural elements are just as important as language when you’re communicating to a potential audience. A cultural faux-pas can be unforgiving. Make sure you understand, appreciate and respect the culture (even if it’s your own).
The more you integrate the culture into the message, the more relatable it will seem to your customers. Get close to the people you want to attract, understand their needs and wants according to their lifestyle and surroundings and put yourself in their shoes. They are more likely to listen to small businesses, if you learn to speak their language.
5. Helps employee confidence, productivity and retention
We’ve established how language learning can benefit your bottom line and your customers. Now, let’s introspect. Whether you’re a one-person act or you’re managing a large team of people, skill development supports day-to-day productivity, saves time and boosts confidence levels. Science says it too. According to Psychology Today, it’s the endeavor that generates a high self-esteem and sense of pride.
Language learning is a key skill that builds stronger relationships with customers, thus improving the confidence and productivity of the team as a whole.
Pride is a great feeling. The more you accomplish, the more you want to accomplish. Multiply that feeling by the number of employees, and your organization’s productivity levels will skyrocket! Your employees will be happier and more likely to stick with you through thick and thin.
6. It’s more than just fluency
Language learning provides many essential skills for any professional – especially entrepreneurs:
Enhanced creativity: Language learning makes you see the world differently. With new perspectives come imagination, creativity and innovative ideas.
Improved cognitive skills: A new language enables you to discover unfamiliar words, idioms and grow your understanding of something completely new. The more you practice it, the more curious you will become. Curiosity and looking for new opportunities are crucial to stay ahead of the game and stand out from your competitors.
Better problem-solving & decision-making: Learning a language opens the brain to new knowledge. New connections start being made, allowing a smoother problem-solving and decision-making process. It’s not just a coincidence that Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirotwas fluent in both English & French!
Supports multi-tasking: It has been proven that bilingual individuals are better at switching between tasks, as their brain is used to switching between languages.
While language training may not be your priority as an entrepreneur, it is more rewarding than you might think. We understand that budgets are tight and go towards more immediate, profit-oriented projects. That’s why we’ve created a cost effective solution, exclusively for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses.
This post was originally posted on Eton Institute's Blog by Manon Hazell.