I have happily enrolled in a course offered by the WBDC which began this past Saturday. It’s an opportunity for me to focus on my business and grow myself, a service I continually offer others without always giving myself the time and focus to stay current with my own company’s needs.

The instructor is a knowledgable and generous executive from Citibank who donates her time to give back to entrepreneurs in the community. Because she’s in the business of loaning money to the biggest companies in the world, she’s intimately familiar with the reasons for success and failure in businesses large and small. There’s not an ounce of emotion involved. It’s all about the numbers. This is a refreshing vantage point as I am intimately connected to the feelings and lessons involved in entrepreneurship.

Our teacher’s vocabulary included terms that were new to me: spectrum analysis, operating leverage, throughput, end-user benefits, etc. But as they were defined, I realized they were all things I knew. They just sound so much more professional when uttered in this context.

If you didn’t come from a corporate background, or were absent the day they taught this, let me share one of these terms to you.

Operating leverage – One of our members owns a space that is used about 20 hours per week in service of his company. Figuring out the operating leverage, he can look at what the advantages (and disadvantages) would be to using the space 40 or more hours per week. The concept is simple. The wording gives it a bit more heft.

This reminded me of when my friend Murray Aitken, an ex-McKinsey consultant, came and spoke to the Jane Pollak Arts Forum I founded several years ago. Murray talked about having a ‘forcing mechanism’ in your business–the equivalent of a boss or a paycheck for which (or to whom) you are accountable on a regular basis. Sounds much classier than a ‘goal buddy’ or ‘accountability partner’ which I have always recommended.

Anyway, it feels good to be learning the terminology the Big Guys use. Feels better that I already know this stuff under a different label.

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