By Barry Sloane
What makes some businesses more successful than others? More often than not, it comes down to leadership. Being a strong small business owner includes the following 7 components:
1. They take care of themselves. Smart small business owners recognize that having a sharp mind requires having a healthy body. Attention is paid to eating healthy and making time for physical exercise. What lesser business owners might see as overly indulgent behavior is seen by truly astute managers as necessary maintenance of their most crucial tool: their brain.
2. They have lives outside their business. Spending too much time focused on any single interest will almost always lead to hitting mental walls. Leading a balanced life – taking time for interests outside of work – means exposing yourself to a diverse range of mental stimuli (you never know what might trigger a great idea), and giving your work brain the rest it needs to be focused.
3. They are bold. Being a great leader is all about being bold and forward thinking enough to go beyond simply following proven business and market trends. The best small business managers are pioneers, even in small ways, and always keep their eyes open for new ways to accomplish things. This means taking chances, but if anything is a critical part of running a small business successfully, it’s a willingness to do just that.
4. They are organized. Sometimes having a head full of innovative business ideas can lead to being a bit scattered. The difference between a smart person who remains an ineffectual business owner and someone who takes command of their industry falls on having an ability to not just have good ideas, but to be organized enough to follow through with them. Keeping your meetings, deadlines, and business plan on a highly organized schedule, and sticking to it, will be what sets you apart from other small businesses that fumble in disorganization.
5. They nurture relationships. When you’re overseeing the management of a company, it can be easy enough to get caught up in the day-to-day work and forget to look up from your desk. The importance of taking time to stay in touch and have thoughtful, generous interactions with clients and professional associates cannot be undervalued.
6. They make decisions. Small business owners have to be decisive. It’s simply not optional. From daily operations to broad directional choices, your job is to lead your company, which means waffling with indecision just will not work. The ability to make decisions is directly related to your sense of confidence, so if you find yourself not knowing which choice to make, remind yourself that you are an expert at what you’re doing and trust your gut. If the particular decision on the table involves a part of your business that you aren’t a total expert about, deciding to consult someone more informed is still a valid decision.
7. They cut the fat. Proactive small business owners are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating which parts of their company can be more streamlined, including which vendors and suppliers could possibly be swapped out for better sources and how work is divided. Knowing how your company’s time, human resources, and financial resources are distributed – and paying steady attention to keeping that distribution as efficient as possible – is how small business owners keep their company thriving ahead of the competition.
Barry Sloane is CEO of Newtek, The Small Business Authority.Image used under license from Shutterstock