Small business is seen by many as the future of business. It’s nimble, it’s adaptive, it moves, it jinks, but it’s also an incredibly tough place to operate and succeed in. Resources like time, money and support are usually in short supply, roadblocks and bumpy trails are the norm and growth is often the last thing that is thought about, with the prominent thought being simply of survival.
Most of my clients are “growing” small businesses. Businesses that have often stumbled their way through a plan or a strategy and implementing it and seeing positive signs and measures from their efforts. However, on our first meeting, the question most asked is :
“ What has leadership got to do with small business?”
The Australia Tax Office currently defines a small business as less than 15 employees and turning over less than 2 million dollars. So the range of businesses asking this question is from single entity micro-businesses to others that have three directors and up to a dozen staff.
“ Tony, what has leadership got to do with small business?” What does it have to do with my business?
So here are five things that leadership has to do with small business. I have tailored these things to the single entity, the sole operator in business, with an understanding that this is often the starting point for all businesses. If it works for a single entity business, it will work for yours.
- Self- leadership is critical. In business, the owner must have strong self-leadership skills to ensure they are effective, productive and focused on their goals. This comes from defining and understanding business aspects like your vision, your purpose and prioritising your goals and outcomes. Otherwise owners and operators get distracted, unfocused, overwhelmed and all those things that keep us bound and our results poor. By implementing strong self- leadership principles and daily practices, you are well placed when your business grows and you need to grow the team. Remember, if you cannot lead yourself, you cannot expect to lead others, or goals, or outcomes, or results.
- Culture starts with you. Your vibe and feel for your business comes from you. The way you vision your business must be clear in terms of being able to communicate it clearly, and in our actions in how we live it. If your culture is to provide a work- life balance and your behaviour is to work 20 hour days, your team (if they survive) will often feel compelled to do so as well, OR leave it to you. Neither is a great options. I know, many have a passion for their business and are knee deep in it 24-7, it takes leadership skills to align your culture to the one you want and to create the culture you want.
- Leadership builds trust and respect. In every business situation trust amplifies results. In fact, everything great in your life and business now has been built on trust. Developing yourself and growing with a plan, provides you the awareness and the skills to build solid levels of trust with people at every level. We all know that trust is critical within our inner circles, but trust is conveyed in all of our interactions. If you develop the capabilities to listen and respect others, it is amazing how much trust you will receive in return.
- Leadership builds influence. John Maxwell tells us leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. And it is. Developing your leadership capability creates influence for you. Your ability to influence your customers, your teams, your suppliers is important, and if your influence with collaborators, partners and networks increases. so will your results. This is itself is worth the investment you should be making now.
- It builds confidence. You have all seen the confident leader, the one that strolls into the room, with the ability to talk to everyone, connecting and commanding with magnetic like charisma and personality. You compare that with yourself, filled with self-doubt, and that delusional a fellow trying to fake it, till he makes it. Confidence comes from developing and practicing your skills as a leader. It’s about growing, stretching and challenging yourself and becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. Developing leadership, builds confidence.
Review where you are at now. It’s is absolutely likely that you have something to gain from developing yourself as a leader. Stretch, challenge and grow. You will be amazed at what that does for your business.
What has leadership got to do with small business? I reckon everything. Let’s grow your business, develop a growth mindset and lets set the world on fire.