Business Leadership NOW is the cry across the nation for businesses both large and small. As a business owner, by default, you are the leader of your business. You can either ignore the impact of the role and bear the consequences or grab the reins and choose your destiny.
The problem I see far too often is the business owner who feels overwhelmed because things are happening too fast and there’s not enough time to follow through. Or at the opposite end, sales have dropped off drastically and all attempts to turn things around have failed.
What can be done to bring these challenges into perspective and gain control? The answer is: think like a leader.
As a coach working with small business owners for 13 years I’ve seen the difference it makes when entrepreneurs consciously choose to function as leader and learn to apply the fundamentals of good business practice.
I base my work on what I call the Prime Strategies. These are the strategies that lead to a strong and profitable business in any economic environment. These are also the strategies that allow the entrepreneur to gain a sense of control over business results.
There are six strategies I consider critical to be understood and applied on a consistent basis.
Clarify Vision and Mission
Create a Strategy to Achieve your Goals
Write a Plan to Fulfill your Strategy
Take Action on your Plan
I think of these as a cycle, starting with the most abstract — your business vision and mission. The next step toward realizing the vision is to carry out your mission using a strategy with goals as interim targets that can be quantified. Your plan identifies the specific actions that will carry out your strategy and should include the costs to do so. An important part of the planning process is to identify what expenses must be incurred in order to create the results you want.
Of course, the most important part is the action – actually taking those specific sequential steps that you’ve committed to your calendar. Once you’ve acted, the most tangible part of the process, your financial statements, will tell you whether or not your plan worked. It’s important to review and analyze this information so you’re in a position to make better, more informed business decisions. Repeated on a periodic basis, this cycle will lead to realization of your vision.
Learning how to apply these strategies isn’t second nature to most small business owners, but the knowledge and skill can be transferred easily to those who are open to new ideas and ready to learn. It’s time to call upon the expertise and perspective of others.
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely lot. The ultimate decision and responsibility always falls to us. Bad decisions can be very costly, but making no decision can be just as costly.
By nature we feel we know what to do and can do it all ourselves. That’s a hurdle that all entrepreneurs must overcome in order to grow, thrive and prosper. We tend to hold on to jobs that would better and more cost effectively be completed by someone else. Once we identify our strengths and our limitations and give ourselves permission to get help, we can reach out to others when our needs are outside our core expertise.
Here are some of the ways to expand your capabilities and your horizons as a leader.
– Outsource and Contract for Services
It’s possible to build a sizable business using only outsourced and contract services. Contracting for expertise or services is a way many small businesses are growing without having to make huge capital commitments.
– Create an Advisory Board
I recommend either a formal or informal Advisory Board of trusted colleagues who can give you valuable perspective from different vantage points. Your payment to them is their opportunity to gain from the interaction with you and the other experts on your Board.
– Become an Expert in your Network
Most of us under-utilize our network. I know from personal experience that I was slow to activate my network. Since doing so, however, I’m seeing a renewed interest in my work. I’ve become clearer about the expertise I offer and am taking active steps to make it available to my network.
– Poll your Market
Your customers, prospects and even your competitors can be a great source of valuable information and a reference for distinguishing yourself in your market. Ask them and listen to the answer.
– Use Partnerships and Alliances
Partnerships can accelerate business growth as a low-cost, high return investment. A partnership is reasonably quick to create, and if done short term, can be a test for a longer term arrangement. With today’s technology it’s easy to create virtual partnerships for the purpose of expediting business growth.
These are ideas that business leaders are thinking about and acting on now.
Step up to the helm, think like a leader, take command of your business.
What the economy needs now are small business leaders; those who are building strong and profitable businesses for themselves while contributing to the economic well-being of the 21st Century.
According to Jim Blasingame, well-known radio show host and publisher of The Small Business Advocate, “the 21st Century is the Century of the Entrepreneur.” We need leaders.
Are you leading your business? If you’re feeling unsure, get the help you need NOW and assure your place in the Century of the Entrepreneur.