If you’re a business leader, you’ll know just how valuable – and transferable – your skills are to a whole host of other areas. As a leader, your to-do list features everything from financial management to the creation of a company culture – and these are all useful transferable skills no matter what career path you choose to take in the future.
And in some cases, it’s even possible to push this much further and give yourself the good grounding you need to move from business management into even more unusual areas, such as politics, teaching and more. This article will look at some of the fields that an entrepreneur who has crafted a name for him or herself as a business leader can shift into if they want to succeed in a field other than commerce.
Politics and policy
As a business leader, you’re likely to spend a lot of your time responding to policy shifts. Perhaps you run a high-growth business and your revenue has reached such a level that changes in VAT policy are likely to begin affecting you due to the large level of turnover you’ve experienced. Or maybe you rely on a certain type of government grant in order to grow your business, and as a result, you’ve built up skills and experience when liaising with government officials.
While in the heat of the moment you might find yourself frustrated about the sort of policy changes that politicians and others choose to pursue, for some the knowledge and experience of this is actually an advantage in the long term. By learning about what policy decisions affect a business, you can then make a sideways shift into the realm of politics. This is a well-trodden path, and some entrepreneurs like Najib Mikati have gone on to high office: in Najib Mikati’s case, it was as Prime Minister of Lebanon. And even if you don’t fancy climbing the political ladder to that degree, there may well be a local position – such as a mayoralty – that you can contest. Building a network in the local Chamber of Commerce is a good way to start your local political career, as it means you can build a reputation for yourself as a respected business leader.
Teaching and education
When people think of teachers, their minds often jump to difficult teenagers and loud primary school children! Of course, there is much more to teaching and education than that. There are plenty of roles available that involve teaching business at all levels of the educational ladder. This could be a business studies class delivered in a school setting, say, perhaps to GCSE or A Level students.
But for many entrepreneurs, the teaching road taken is often at a higher level. Universities and business schools are often looking for experienced business leaders to give guest lectures or even more regular lessons at their institutions, and this can be a great way to impart your wisdom and help create the entrepreneurs of the future. In fact, this route can often be seen as a business move in itself for you: teaching contracts at good universities are often lucrative. What’s more, management of a business isn’t unlike managing a classroom so there’ll be plenty of direct crossovers.
Subtly different from teaching is mentorship. Mentoring someone involves given guidance and advice rather than direct supervision, and it’s something that many former business leaders find rewarding – not least because it’s got all the good bits of managing without the bad bits! Mentorees require a more informal type of managing than an employee would, which means you have scope to be creative with your advice. Mentorees are often quite self-directed, too, so they’ll be able to lead the way to some degree while you simply help them out.
When a business leader leaves office they can feel they’re at a bit of a loose end. Having spent years building a product or service and enjoying the rewards of that effort, it can be unsettling to suddenly have endless free time. But the good news is that there’s plenty to do with your new-found spare time. Whether you decide to become a teacher in a school or other institution or you want to be a leader in the public sphere and manage a town or even a country instead of a team, there are lots of ways you can transfer your management and leadership skills into something new when your career ends.