You have a fantastic idea. You know that you can turn that idea into a small business and turn a more than decent profit. Like many people today, you are considering turning towards the life of an entrepreneur and becoming your own boss.
Chances are that you can do it. After all, you’ve been the boss of yourself for as long as you’ve been an adult, right? Not so fast. Being the boss of yourself is vastly different from being the boss of others. And simply being a boss does not equate to being a leader.
You may be the best at one thing. Many of us have at least one skill at which we excel. That simply doesn’t mean that you are ready to be a leader if you’ve never had the opportunity to be one. Leadership is a learned skill. The good news is that, because it’s something we have to learn, it is also something that we can constantly improve. One of the best ways to learn something is by making mistakes.
“But I’ve never been a boss before, and I’ve certainly never been a leader,” you may be thinking. You haven’t had the chance to make mistakes. No problem: you can learn from the mistakes of others. Here are 5 leadership mistakes that other people have made and you should avoid.
Wearing All the Hats
When you start your small business, or if you already have, you may not need employees. There isn’t much help you can accept when it comes to bringing your vision to life and launching the ship. Once your business takes off, however, it’s time to do more than rely on contractors for the details. You simply cannot wear all the hats.
Your job now is to build a profit. Your concentration should be on making your business grow and succeed. You can’t do that if you are worried about payroll, human resources, IT security, maintenance and all of the other tasks that come with a small business. It boils down to one word: delegate. You have to do it.
Yes, it can be worrisome to put someone in charge of an aspect of your business. You may lay awake for a couple of nights wondering if you made the right decision. If you hired the right person, then know that you have a capable employee taking care of whatever task you’ve given them — so try to rest easy. Your business will be more successful if you free up your time to concentrate on your bottom line.
Forgetting to Stop Talking Long Enough to Listen
A good leader knows that they have to listen more than they talk. Communication is more than barking directives and dictating assignments. If you don’t actively listen to your staff, you’re missing out. These are the people helping you run your business. You’ve trusted them to speak with your clients and customers. They have ideas and you should be listening.
Think of all the bosses you have had. Chances are high that you’ve had at least one who either didn’t listen to employees and made them feel worthless, or did listen and then used employees’ ideas as their own, taking all the credit. Don’t be that boss.
The micromanager. What can be said about the boss who hovers over the shoulder of every employee, telling them how to do their job? Once you give an employee a task, trust that they will accomplish it and step back. Try to remember that there are multiple ways to get things done; it doesn’t have to be your way.
As long as the end result is the same and your employee is being productive, let them do their thing. After all, you trained them, and you hired them because they can help your business grow.
Mistakes will be made and plans will have to be adjusted. That’s just life. Micromanaging your employees will eventually lead to an unhappy and unproductive workforce. It may even lead to you needing to find new employees.
Keeping Your Employees Down
When you think of a parent — or maybe you are a parent — what do you think their job is? Most people parent their children hoping that they will become a better person and more successful than they are or were. Develop this same attitude with your employees.
Some small business owners shy away from hiring the best and brightest because they are afraid their employees will receive all of the praise and credit. Who cares? Lavish praise upon your employees when they deserve it and let them know they are appreciated. A talented team will lead to a successful business. A successful business will lead to more profit. That’s why you started your business in the first place.
Ignoring the Bottom Line
Despite what you may feel, it is not a display of greed to worry about your bottom line. Don’t forget to make the profit a priority. If your business isn’t profitable, it will fail. In fact, more than half of the small businesses that open their doors today will be closed within five years. You don’t want yours to be one of them. Give attention to the bottom line, and make adjustments if you aren’t seeing the profits you were hoping for.
The decisions that you make for your company should be centered around your profit. From hiring employees to purchasing equipment, your profit should be in your mind with every decision you make.
Simply running a small business is easy. Running a small business and making it successful, however, is not. You need a talented group of people who believe in your work to help you along the way. If you’ve chosen to hire employees, you need to ensure that you are ready to be a great leader. Don’t be worried that you aren’t a good leader now; it’s a learned skill. Research what it takes to be a good leader, just like you researched what it was going to take to run your business.
We’ve already said that you can’t do everything yourself, and we meant it. That’s why we are here to help you. Reach out to our team to find out how Company.com can assist you in the day-to-day tasks of running your small business and free up your time for the more important things, and to start a free trial of our premium software package.