14 November 2023

Does Your Business Need to Revisit Its Language-Learning Strategy?

Every successful business has a business plan – and once they are up and running, successful businesses have the wisdom to revisit that plan and make those all-important tweaks to stay ahead of the game.

Maybe language learning is not strictly speaking a part of your business plan – but if you operate internationally, have a global network or rely on overseas engagement, then more than one language may be useful when it comes to ensuring your business thrives. If any of these points resonate, you may discover you need to consider your language-learning strategy each time you polish up your wider business strategy.

In this article, we look at when your language-learning strategy may benefit from a rethink.

Going for Growth

The numbers are looking good, your objectives are being exceeded, and the projections for year-end suggest you have smashed those targets out of the park. Great news, especially in this economy! However, once you have celebrated your successes with your team, it may occur to you that you need a bigger challenge next year.

Maybe your business is ready to open a new overseas office, or perhaps there are prospective international customers in the new target market you identified when you updated your business plan. Businesses rarely stay static and succeed regardless – they succeed because they continue to grow, innovate and invest in the future.

Updating your business plan might also reveal a skills gap you need to fill – and perhaps you will need to rely on overseas experts, manufacturers or networks to keep your knowledge or product base up to scratch. If you have the in-house ability to connect effectively through a shared language with your new international partners, you may discover you already have the edge over your competitors.

Minimising Mistakes

In the same way that you comb through your business plan to look for ways to save time and money and minimise wasted resources, assessing your investment in language training may reveal missed opportunities and costly mistakes.

Imagine your marketing team has revised one aspect of its strategy to target potential customers in Spain. The strategy yields unexpectedly swift results, but amidst all the excitement, the details fail to filter through to your sales team (who are busy focusing on your long-standing customer base in Italy). When the new Spanish orders start to flood in, it finally dawns on everybody across the business that Italian is not the only language the business needs. The company’s long-standing investment in Italian language learning requires a refresh so that you can make a great first impression on your new customers – but nobody has taken a single Spanish lesson! Your language-learning strategy is therefore in need a speedy overhaul, which may then rely on some thoughtful budgeting (as clearly Italy remains a crucial sales market). You now have two languages on your radar.

Retrofitting your language-learning strategy to improve communication in a new target market is perfectly achievable, of course – but just think how much further ahead you might now be if you had foreseen the importance of Spanish to your business’s future.

Equally, if every new employee you onboard is encouraged to sign up for the free German lessons you provide, you need to ensure those lessons continue to achieve the same business objective you intended. If business in Germany is declining but the Middle East market is booming, maybe Arabic lessons are a better fit for the future.

Restructuring for Sustainability

Sometimes, revising a business plan is necessary because business is not booming, and the review you require goes beyond tinkering with your plans to achieve additional growth. Instead, your strategy for success may need a radical rethink if you hope to keep the business running.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a good example of a time when businesses had to restructure their plans – with some businesses seeing opportunities expand, while others watched as their revenue collapsed. The businesses that made it through the challenging times and are thriving today were often the ones that considered the immediate problem as well as the future, acknowledging that while the world might change in more permanent ways as a result of the pandemic, certain elements of the way we live would return to a new normality over time.

In such challenging times, you might realise you need to temporarily shelve some previous plans for growth. However, radical rethinks can only benefit from keeping in mind the longer term to ensure a sustainable future for the business.

Sometimes, a restructure of your strategy may lead to cutbacks – but restricting budgets does not mean you stop investing in what works. When you focus on what your business needs to do to survive in the short term, you may find you discover the secret to your longer-term success. And if international connectivity is still essential to delivery, targeted language learning may become more fundamental than ever.

Revising your business strategy can lead to surprising outcomes across the business, and you may find that language learning plays a crucial role in the future of your globally focused business. If your planning sessions have revealed a gap in the international market you hope to target, or perhaps you want to hire a global team, contact us to find out how we can help you connect and communicate in a particular language to achieve business success.

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