Some of the most successful business owners in the world are multilingual, including, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg, Entrepreneur reports. This is no coincidence: learning a second language equips budding entrepreneurs with a host of skills essential for business success. We live in a globalized world, and language skills are vital for networking and building a solid client or customer base that spans multiple geographical locations. Moreover, they also help you to develop strong active listening and problem solving skills, enabling you to thrive in even the most high-pressured business situations.
Improve active listening and problem solving skills
Learning a language involves maintaining focus for long periods of time, closely watching and listening, and replying deliberately (even if you make mistakes). In turn, this develops and strengthens your ability to actively listen. This skill is crucial for forming strong business relationships and boosting productivity. Additionally, learning a language is essentially an “exercise in cognitive problem solving,” a study in Massachusetts found. It also increases cognitive flexibility and higher order thinking skills, which further strengthens your ability to solve problems in other areas. Effectively solving problems and making business decisions are crucial skills for any entrepreneur.
Support your employees
In addition to impressing clients and customers, learning a second language also helps support your employees. By being able to form strong relationships and make effective business decisions, you’ll boost overall morale and confidence in the workplace. Your employees will therefore be happier and more loyal to your organization as a whole. It’s important to provide your employees with as much support as possible to retain their loyalty and succeed commercially. Investing in workers’ comp insurance is another great way to do this. Unfortunately, a worker is injured on the job once every seven seconds. When accident strikes, workers’ comp insurance protects you as the employer from legal repercussions, as well as protecting your employees financially from potentially devastating wage losses and medical expenses, Cerity Insurance advises.
Build a bigger client base
Roughly 20% of the worldwide population speak English — and most of those aren’t even native English speakers. Being able to speak at least a second language opens you up to a plethora of communication and networking opportunities that would otherwise be inaccessible. You’ll have the skills to communicate with potential foreign business partners all over the world, whether in-person or online. Additionally, if you want to set up your business in a foreign country, knowing the local language is essential. Certain requirements like paperwork may not be in English, for example. You’ll also appear more professional, trustworthy and respectful to the natives when you communicate your brand message in their language.
Language skills have multiple benefits for budding entrepreneurs, whether you’ll be working in your home country or abroad. They provide you with the confidence and knowledge required to understand all your markets. Not only is learning a second language fun and rewarding; you’ll find it also empowers you with skills and attributes needed for commercial success.