//6 Things My Dog Taught Me About Business
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6 Things My Dog Taught Me About Business

Who said you can only learn from your parents, peers and past? While she may not speak English…or any other human language, I’ve learned a lot about business from my cockapoo colleague, Darcy.

1. Start Every Morning With A Hop, Skip And A Jump

Come rain or shine, Darcy is always chipper, never more so than in the morning. If she hasn’t launched herself at me and covered me in licks by 8:01am then she’s simply not my Darcy.

If you’re a morning person then I salute you, because I’ve got a hunch that the majority of people, like me, aren’t best pleased when the alarm goes off at 7am. Whether it’s illness, stress, fatigue or a hangover, we’ve all dreaded the thought of getting up out of bed at one point or another. For those who loathe getting up, it’s time to turn that frown upside-down.

Starting the day with a smile is the morning mantra adopted by many successful people, including actress, dancer and fashion designer, Julianne Hough. Julianne Hough’s morning routine begins with thanks, thanks for the things that have happened to her and thanks for the things she is planning to do. Why? According to international success coach and positive psychologist, Niyc Pidgeon, ‘positive emotions open up your brain for creative thinking…your mind is 39% more productive when set in ‘positive’ mode’ (Driven Woman).

Want to have a good day in the office? Banish those bad thoughts and smile!

2. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

Darcy is forever recognising the importance of taking a break. Trying to find her? After cuddles, scoffing her face, popping to the loo, and having a run around the garden, chances are she’s lying somewhere awkwardly fast asleep.

Between working through lunch (Burnley Express) and doing unpaid overtime, Brits are clocking up more than 48 hours of work each week (The Daily Mail). Although, when compared to other nationalities, the UK doesn’t work the longest hours, we are thought to put in a staggering £31.5 billion worth of free work each year (The Telegraph).

Among the country’s hardest workers are startups: groups of budding entrepreneurs determined to stay afloat in today’s competitive business marketplace. But can working more hours be more of a hindrance then a help? According to a study conducted by Stanford University, the answer is yes. Why? The results of their investigation found that productivity typically dropped after 50 hours of work, meaning that those who worked for 70 hours accomplished no more than those who worked for 55.

To boost productivity and avoid burnout, it’s time to work smarter, not harder. To get started, consider taking regular breaks, delegating work to someone else and indulging in something fun!

3. Loyalty Is Everything

Dogs earned the accolade of man’s best friend for a reason: they are loyal till the end. True to her breed, Darcy is by my side wherever I go, whether I want her there or not.

Gone are the days of lifelong employment. Now, the average person changes job 10-15 times during their career (The Balance). With each employee lost, you can expect to pay much more than their salary to recruit someone new.

But how do you foster employee loyalty and avoid unnecessary expense? Leave the smoke and mirrors for the magic shows. Instead, ensure that your business has transparency at its core. Cultivate an atmosphere of trust, respect and reward and your employees will offer their loyalty in return.

4. Do What You Love

Darcy loves digging, playing with her toy turkey, eating and sleeping. So, there’s a 25% chance that you know what she’s up to right now. What Darcy doesn’t like, Darcy doesn’t do, even if it does mean that I have to coax her on the odd walk or two.

‘Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’

(Confucius).

Too many of us are ignoring this advice. As a result, in the UK, 48% of employees are not happy at work. While budding entrepreneurs fair better, with 84% of them being ‘very satisfied with working for themselves’ (The Guardian), there’s still room for improvement.

Life’s too short: do what you love! Many people are reluctant to leave their mundane jobs, afraid that there is nothing to gain from pursuing their passion. But, have a little courage, spend your life doing the things that you love and you’re more likely to be healthier, successful, nicer, fulfilled, productive, motivated and earn more money. Don’t believe me? Alex Jukes is an ambassador of the ‘do what you love’ philosophy, translating his passion for music and travel into a successful business (The Drum).

5. Build Relationships

Forever on the look out for new people and creatures to get to know, my little pup is a relationship-building aficionado. Big or small, human or not, Darcy loves everyone and everyone loves her.

Business is all about relationships; relationships with colleagues, relationships with clients; relationships with influencers, relationships with customers and relationships with other businesses. Taking the time to forge strong relationships with others can reap dividends, whether you’re looking to raise awareness, engender good opinion, attract new clients or earn repeat business.

But how do you reach and communicate with the right people? Traditionally, businesses would communicate almost exclusively face-to-face. Today, social media and technology is changing the way we do business. While many still prefer to meet, more and more businesses are building relationships remotely through Skype and popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

If you’re a techno-phobe or a social media newbie, check out this helpful guide to a successful social media strategy.

6. Go After The Things That Are Important to You

Throw a ball and Darcy has it in her mouth before you’ve had the chance to say “fetch”. Focussed and determined, Darcy will do whatever it takes to take home the furry green prize.

When setting up a new business, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. To help turn that work mountain into tiny, manageable molehills, try focussing your attention on specific goals. When you set yourself short-term goals, your focus is guided, your momentum is sustained and your sense of achievement is amplified (Forbes).

Stefanie Gorman is the head of public relations at Stefanius Limited. Stefanius Limited is a family-run PR agency offering project-based, retainer and paid-by-results options to people throughout the UK.

Stefanie Gorman is the head of public relations at Stefanius Limited. Stefanius Limited is a family-run PR agency offering project-based, retainer and paid-by-results options to people throughout the UK.