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5 Ways to make the most of a business bootcamp

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by Startacus Admin

5 Ways to make the most of a business boot camp ‘How can I make the most of a business boot camp?’

Anyone who has ever attended one of these short, intense, and concise training courses will no doubt have considered this issue rather carefully prior to taking part. Business boot camps offer a truly unique opportunity to hone your enterprise skills, knowledge and experience, but such is their intensive nature, that without appropriate prior reflection, you can quickly find yourself lost, confused and frustrated.

The range of topics which can be covered by a business boot camp is extensive indeed, but in recent times there has been a particularly pronounced upswing in the number and variety which are dedicated to the business aspects of the ‘online world’.

Growing the digital economy by encouraging traditional businesses to embrace the possibilities of the online space has become a top priority for the government. Some local councils, like the new Derry City and Strabane District Council have taken the pioneering step of delivering extensive ‘Growing the Digital Economy’ schemes, which in their case includes a programme of specialised free business boot camps.

Irrespective of the subject matter of the business boot camp you are attending, there are many key tips and techniques that you can employ before, during, and after the course that will help ensure you get maximum value from it.  Many of these techniques are transferable into other business events too!

Here’s a quick rundown of the main points that you should consider:

5 Ways to make the most of a business boot campResearch - ‘That’s your answer to everything’ I hear you cry, but as usual a little carefully undertaken research can really help to boost your chances of gleaning value from the business boot camp experience. This doesn’t have to mean hours spent poring over every detail of the topics under discussion, but merely familiarising yourself with some of the key concepts and themes to give yourself a little head start. Most business boot camps will provide details of what you can expect well in advance of their commencement, thus giving you the opportunity to get ahead of the game. This step is paramount in achieving the next one...

5 Ways to make the most of a business boot campPrepare - It is unlikely that everything under discussion in the business boot camp will be 100% relevant for your business, so it can be a good idea to pick your way through the given information and identify specific areas that are of particular interest to you. Now is the time to get a grasp of the issues that will most affect your business, and central in making sure that the boot camp serves you well, is an awareness of the points on which you need clarification. Business boot camps offer a great opportunity to question the experts within a learning environment, so make sure you don't let it pass you by!

Further to this you might like to consider preparing more generally for the broader boot-camp experience. True, business boot camps are predominantly learning experiences, but further opportunities might also arise from your attendance, and it is just common sense that you prepare for these.

Specifically situations such as this create a very good networking environment, and whilst this should never be the primary motivation in your attendance, it is of a happy bi-product.

It’s a nice idea to give your networking skills a little brush-up ahead of the boot camp, especially if they are a little rusty. Specifically consider how you communicate about your venture and engage with others about theirs, and be prepared to offer tips, advice, and support where you can.  

Because of the highly specific nature of boot camps, these can be a great way to meet other business owners with whom you may have a good deal in common; you should not waste this opportunity to discuss, collaborate, share, advise, and be advised.

Check out our recent post on effective networking and collaboration for a bit more info on this point.

5 Ways to make the most of a business boot campGet involved - Mercifully the days of the passively delivered informational lecture are gone, replaced by the charismatic and involved style which is the very root of the boot camp model. Active participations have become a staple of the boot camp culture and making the most of the experience will probably require you to go beyond the role of silent observer. For some people this is a challenge in itself, and something that is far outside of their comfort zone, but we can assure you that full participation is crucial in making the most of the experience; at the very least it will make the whole thing a good deal more enjoyable.

5 Ways to make the most of a business boot campAsk Questions - Putting your hand up in a room full of your peers and admitting that you don’t understand something is daunting for some, and absolutely terrifying for others. They fear looking like fool, and being identified as the only one in the group who doesn't understand.

This is complete nonsense of course because the chances are, others in the group don't understand either, but they are too weak and cowardly to speak up for themselves, nodding along like a bunch of hypnotized sheep.

If you are a little shy of asking questions in public, there are quite a few simple tips that you can consider to help boost your confidence.

Remember ‘He who asks a question is a fool for a moment, he who does not remains a fool forever’.   

Hang Back - After the boot camp has officially finished, you are presented with a really good opportunity to squeeze a little extra value for yourself by staying behind for a chat with the mentors. As well as being very knowledgeable, such people are generally extremely well connected, so passing up the opportunity to benefit further from their position, would be a crying shame.

Speaking of Business Bootcamps, if you happen to live in the Derry / Strabane area in Northern Ireland, you might want to find out about their Growing the Digital Economy programme and the business mentoring, concept clinics and business bootcamps that they are running.

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Published on: 4th June 2015

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