By Shaun Chatman

Statistics show that most start-up businesses fail. There is one common trait among the ones that defy the odds and succeed, though. It’s strong leadership. Strong, wise voices can change a company’s trajectory by helping it survive the tough days during the first 18 months. Here are five ways to be a strong business leader in a start-up.

1. Lead by Example

In the early days of a business, a power vacuum exists. Without clearly defined roles, most employees think of themselves as the collective entity. As a leader, you can guide others not just verbally, but by demonstrating positive behavior yourself.

Think about all the daily tasks you perform that others will notice. Perform them to the best of your ability, and you’ll quickly gain the respect and admiration of your peers. By setting a strong example, you’ll train them to act similarly.

2. Where the Buck Stops

Nobody wants to make mistakes during a company’s first few months. Any major mishap could single-handedly destroy all other progress. A financial error in particular could ruin the outlook of a business. Oddly, this is advantageous to you as a leader. When an employee makes a mistake, take the blame in their stead.

Hall of Fame baseball manager Bobby Cox endeared himself to hundreds of players with this humble style. Not coincidentally, he is one of the most successful leaders in the history of his sport. Adopt his strategy by never taking credit for anything that goes right. Instead, take responsibility when things go wrong. You’ll develop the confidence of your employees since they know that if they screw up, you’re the one who will accept culpability.

3. The Best Policy

When a company begins, employees don’t know whether they can trust the people in charge. A single lie can cast doubt among your co-workers, and the ripples from it will destroy team chemistry. For this reason, it’s imperative that you ignore any impulse to lie. No matter how scary the truth is, always be open and honest about your business and your decision-making. You’ll make your staff feel like you trust them enough to demonstrate transparency.

4. Think Positive

Merely by starting a business, you’re showing optimism. You know the statistics about failure, yet you believe you will succeed where so many others failed. That’s the mindset you need during the first two years of your company’s existence. Don’t hide this attitude from your peers. Optimism is contagious. If you need help boosting your own conviction, speak with an established business consultant from Ruota Consulting to learn how they’ve trained others to succeed.

5. Have a Plan

A company with a clear focus and direction in the short term has an easier time motivating workers. People who know precisely what the intentions are for the next few quarters feel more involved in the process. There’s a lot of drudgery in day-to-day working life but, attainable goals enhance the experience and offer your co-workers a chance to achieve something tangible.

Many companies survive the rough first years and grow into strong performers. The ones that do have one thing in common: leadership. Follow the tips above in order to help your business beat the odds.

Shaun Chatman is a freelance writer who has written for many authority blogs. Though he likes to write about everything, he especially likes tech, finance, business, and education. He lives with his family and two dogs in Dunedin, Florida. @Shaun_Chatman