If you are the owner of a small business, you probably don’t need me to tell you that owning a business is not an easy job. Because small businesses typically have a staff of less than ten people, the owner is often forced to wear a number of different hats. For many business owners, this can prove to be very difficult. Although they may be passionate about their business, they might not feel prepared enough to handle all that is required of them.
Thankfully, you don’t have to spread yourself too thin or attempt to master every little area of your business. If you can develop the following three skills as a leader, you’ll find that owning a business doesn’t have to be so tough.
When it comes to owning a small business, it goes without saying that your business is your baby. You developed it, nurtured it, and you aim to watch it grow and flourish. Because you know what your business needs more than anyone else, it can sometimes be hard to let anyone but yourself provide what your “baby” needs. I hate to break it to you, but you simply cannot be everything that your business needs. You need help. This is where delegation comes in.
In the larger scope of the way your business is run, it would be beneficial to assess your strengths and weaknesses in managing the business, and then find people who are strong in the areas where you are weak. Your business can only flourish when each area is being handled by someone who truly knows what they’re doing. So, if you are terrible with marketing, hire the best person you can find to cover that area for you. Just because it’s a small business doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone.
This skill also applies to daily tasks. When you have a to-do list on your desk that is either overwhelming or cannot be completed in one day, delegate specific tasks to different members of your team. Accomplishing each task may be a lot for you to handle on your own, but with many people splitting up the tasks, it’s so much more manageable. This will help you to manage your time more effectively and focus your energy on the most important tasks.
As the owner of your small business, you will naturally make decisions that you feel will benefit your business. In order to get your stakeholders on board, there is much more required than being able to articulate how great your idea is. You also need to be able to forecast cash flow and sales as a result of the changes you want to implement. Do your research, analyze profits from similar ideas or campaigns, and apply them to your business. Equip yourself with as much data as possible to demonstrate that you can run your business in a way that is profitable.
Truth be told, though everyone involved in your business has a vested interest in how well the business fares financially, you are the only one who will have to declare the business’s income on your taxes. For that reason, it’s important to monitor your business’s profits and losses. Even if you have someone else managing your financial accounts, it is important for you to be aware of what is happening financially in your business so that you have an idea of what you will need to report. That way you eliminate any surprises when tax season rolls around.
When you first came up with the idea for your small business, you probably had a good idea of what you wanted your business to become and how you wanted to get there. One of the hardest aspects of onboarding team members is ensuring that whomever you hire has an accurate understanding of and appreciation for your vision for your business. Without clarity of vision, your employees can easily make decisions that are contrary to what you want. This is why communication is so important. The first day an employee begins at your business, you need to be able to clearly communicate (verbally and through documentation) what your business is all about and what you expect from your employees.
Once you have established this foundation, it’s all a matter of keeping the lines of communication open on a day-to-day basis. Not only do you need to be able to articulate what you need from your staff, but you need to make sure that you’re hearing from them as well. Your employees have a very different perspective than you, and they may be able to see areas of improvement that aren’t quite visible to you. Listen to them, and let them feel like they have a bit of ownership in what happens with the business as well.
This is also true of stakeholders and customers. Stakeholders, who have invested in your business, want to know that their money is being put to good use. They need to hear from you, and most of them like to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. It helps them feel more involved in the business outside of their financial contribution. Customers also like to be able to know that they have a way to communicate with you if they need to. Try taking some customer service calls, especially those issues that require some upper-level decision-making, or take some follow-up calls to clients off of your employees. Your customers will appreciate knowing how much you care.
The biggest takeaway from this article should be that being the owner of a small business does not have to be a lonely role. Though your team may be small, they are undoubtedly a strong support system for you to help you navigate the daily responsibilities and stresses that come with owning a business.
You also have a resource through us here at Tuxedo Impressions LLC. We specialize in providing support for small businesses. Take a look through our website and discover some of the many ways that we can help your small business become the success you know it can be!
~ Jamara Wilson, Team Tuxedo Impressions LLC™