Being a small business owner can be rewarding in many ways but can be frustrating as well. Trust me, I know first hand! Unlike many small business owners out there, I was thrown into this lifestyle without really thinking about whether or not this was a good choice. You know the saying, “If I only knew then what I know now?” Well, that was me! I love saying that statement now to myself.
Leadership is important in your business whether you have 1 employee or over 50 employees. Hopefully, these tips will help you on how to be a good leader for your business if you are not already. All of these tips can’t be done just once, you need to practice them daily or weekly or monthly. Repetition of each task will get you in a routine and make your business run smoother.
Tip One: Work on your Business, Not in It
This actually sounds pretty ridiculous because you should know how to do the majority of aspects in your business. This means that you need to focus on your future plan and how your business is going to move forward and grow. You are the mastermind of starting your business. You can’t stop thinking and growing just because you are now open.
Sometimes it is a lot easier to focus on the day-to-day operations of your business because I am sure you know it best, but you are not helping your business this way. What did you hire staff for if you are just going to let them sit on their backsides and play games on their phones all day. You need to work on your five and ten-year plans and what steps you need to do to get there.
By working your business and not in it, your business will eventually be able to run itself. As an owner, you need to be able to take a vacation or if you need to leave for an emergency and not have to worry about whether the business will run itself or fall apart without you.
You should be able to leave at any given time and your business should sail smooth. It is very gratifying as an owner to not worry about your business when you are not around. It means you have done your job and have led your employees to be efficient and independent thinkers.
Tip Two: Have a Plan and Work It
Now that you know what your future goals are going to be for your business, don’t forget about the actual business. I know I said don’t focus on the day to day operations but it is important to find out how each department in your business is doing. Check on the inventory and assess your business on a regular basis.
Work this into your short-term goals. Don’t let the business slip out from under your fingers because you were looking at your long-term goals. At the same though, don’t micromanage every little detail. Practice your plan and make it work.
Tip Three: Find a Mentor
Wow, this is an important tip! Find someone you trust, is patient and who has success in a similar business as yours. You need to be able to bounce off ideas or call them with questions. I’m glad my mentor was patient. There would be times when I would call my mentor five or more times a day and even at all hours of the night.
I wouldn’t go this far if I was you, but I had a great relationship with mine. After getting scolded for waking her up, she was more than helpful. The trick to finding a good mentor is finding one that wants you to succeed. This makes all the difference in the world.
Tip Four: Keep an Eye on the Future
We briefly talked about long-term goals. I always told myself to look for the light at the end of the tunnel during hard days or think about that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is important as well because there will be frustrating and long days. Remember why you started the business in the first place and to look forward to brighter days. If you have this attitude you will have more light days than darker ones.
A positive attitude is crucial in succeeding in your business. There would be days when I would have 20 clients needing my attention all at once. Remembering why I was in the business and what my goals were helped me get through the day and focus on my future. Thomas Fuller said “All things are difficult before they are easy.” That is definitely true.
Tip Five: Honesty and Integrity
I cannot stress enough how important honesty and integrity is in the business world. I know we have all heard word of mouth is the best advertisement. Well, not if it is negative. If you say you are going to deliver your product at a certain day and time, then do it.
Unfortunately, life happens and sometimes you can’t make your deadline. That usually isn’t a problem if you are honest with your customer. Tell them why you cannot make the deadline. They will appreciate your honesty even though it was not when you initially told them, but they will more than likely return to your business because you treated them with integrity.
They go hand in hand and can go a long way in your business. This doesn’t sound like it would be hard to practice being honest but if you’ve helped someone learn the piano, then you know that paying attention to detail and communicating with your customers takes the same effort, it’s just like learning to read music for the piano. Consistent practice is very important.
Tip Six: Pay Yourself
For heavens sake, pay yourself! I cannot stress this enough. We all go into business to make money, right? Well, how are you going to make money if you aren’t paying yourself? It will become harder and harder to stay positive when you aren’t paying yourself. There would be months when I wouldn’t pay myself because I always needed something else for the business. You are always going to need something new. Make it wait and pay yourself.
I mentioned earlier about practicing these tips and how it is similar to learning to play an instrument. When you are learning to play an instrument you practice the movements and notes in a slow and methodical manner to make sure you are practicing it correctly.
Practicing all of these leadership tips is very similar. Imagine learning to play the piano and you have to practice every day. Eventually you will be able to play with speed from all of the repetition, just like you will be able to run your business much smoother because you have practiced every day.
James Martell is a speaker, author and publisher, leading expert in affiliate marketing and has been a self-taught Internet entrepreneur since 1999. He lives with his wife of 27 years and four kids in Vancouver, B.C. Canada.
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