Everyone has the right to open their own business. It is what makes America such a wonderful place to live. The opportunities are endless. However, no one has a right to success. Each one of us has to earn that.
The question for many small business owners is how. How do I reach my goals? How can I ensure my business is a success? You’ll often hear that there is no single answer to either of those questions. You might read that it needs to be developed on a case-by-case basis or that there are too many answers to even begin. This is not the case.
There is one answer to business success, and that answer is strong leadership. Leadership has become a buzzword recently thanks to a resurgence of American entrepreneurship in the era of tech startups and it deserves the attention. Effective leadership is the difference between a company’s success and its failure.
The great part is, effective leaders are made, not born. So, how does one become an effective, strong leader? Read on and practice the following 5 steps and you will be well on your way.
It is impossible to maintain success while flying by the seat of your pants. Every successful business is based on a solid, well thought out plan. When a leader has taken time to determine likely obstacles and derive plans to prevent or overcome them, he or she eliminates unnecessary stress and dysfunction. Why sit back and wait for the punches to start flying when you can actively work to guard yourself now?
In order to succeed, a company needs goals. In order to set goals, a leader must reflect on exactly what success for the company looks like. This is not easy. These goals need to be lofty to encourage growth and to stretch employees but they must also be achievable. Spend time today, even right now, asking yourself the following three questions: Where do I want my company to be in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years? Until you have those answers, you can’t move on to the next steps.
Once you have decided on the goals for your company, you have to inform your employees and partners. Otherwise, how will they rise to the challenges you are setting for them? Some people think the goals of a company should be kept secret because they often include financial goals, which are psuedo-taboo in our culture. Contrary to this belief, hiding your goals from your team makes it difficult for them to work towards them, and this attitude will assuredly hinder your company’s growth. Instead, share your ideas and goals for the company with your team members and get everyone on board to work hard to reach them! Motivate!
Now that the team is motivated and the company has a plan, it is time to take firm grip of the wheel and make sure to keep the company on the right path. This doesn’t mean micromanaging, but rather looking forward, predicting obstacles, and creating strategies to work around them. A good leader can motivate but a great leader can guide.
Your team will inevitably look up to you as a leader. If they see you slacking, what kind of an example does that set? You need to be the hardest working person in the office because your employees will follow your example. Leading means taking responsibility for the fate of the company. Your business lies in your hands, so you absolutely cannot afford to slack off and set a bad example.
Once you have mastered these steps, your cultivated leadership will help your business soar. These things might be difficult at first but, as with everything in life, practice makes perfect.