Vital Leadership Skills for Small Business OwnersPosted on February 25th, 2020
Are successful small business owners born leaders or do they learn leadership? There’s a distinct difference between being a boss and being a leader, and while not all entrepreneurs become leaders, every business owner has the opportunity to nurture their leadership skills.
Key elements of true leaders include a visionary mindset and a sense of strategic direction. They are able to look into the future and see the potential within themselves and others. They seek mentorship, garner wisdom, and take proactive steps to achieve goals beyond the status quo.
These are the leaders who inspire those around them to work towards a greater future as well. Small business owners who embrace leadership are often rewarded with growth and exponential success. I say “embrace” leadership because it’s not something we either have or we don’t; leadership is something that can be learned, and successful entrepreneurs are always learning.
Learning to Lead
Small business owners who are motivated to become better leaders can intentionally cultivate a skill set that will help them lead with vision, purpose, and clarity. In my experience working closely with many entrepreneurs and small business owners (and growing a successful business myself), these are the leadership skills that make a difference:
In order to lead effectively, you have to know where you’re going. Ask yourself “What does my company want to become?”. Through answering this question, you can develop a vision statement that articulates guiding principles for you and your team.
Planning is also key to developing and sustaining your vision of the future. Where do you want your business to be in 5 years? 10 years? Creating a financial model is a helpful tool for setting goals and illuminating the path that will allow you to reach them. When you know where you’re going, you’re able to take decisive action and lead those around you down the right path.
Once you’ve developed your vision for the future, can you inspire your team to help it come true? “Leadership is defined by action,” the balance notes, and the best leaders inspire through their example. That means living by your vision and guiding principles. True leadership is demonstrating growth through your own commitment to improving yourself and your work, not just demanding growth from others. “Therefore, in developing your own skills, you have to act in ways that are fitting to your leadership vision and your self—all the time.” When your team admires your work ethic and integrity, they’ll be inspired to bring out the best in themselves.
That doesn’t mean that leaders act alone. In fact, the best leaders are good listeners who seek advice, ask questions, and actively include others in their journey. The best teams are communicative, transparent, and engaged in the success of all of their parts.
FundingCircle writes that “Collaboration empowers employees with your confidence… (and) allows them to make contributions that scale beyond their individual role and make them feel valued.” Make it a point to actively solicit feedback, opinions, and ideas from your team. When everyone’s unique talents are being nurtured, your company will be at its strongest and most effective.
For entrepreneurs and owners who’ve needed to wear many hats while launching and growing a small business, this skill can be one of the most difficult to embrace. But just because you can do everything doesn’t mean that you should! The ideal outgrowth of collaboration is the ability to delegate certain tasks and responsibilities to trusted members of your team or outside advisors. This doesn’t just lighten your burden; it also increases the investment in success across the organization.
Growing a small business requires lots of different skill sets, so don’t hesitate to seek help and advice when needed. Enlisting the experts for assistance in planning, finance, hiring and HR, accounting and bookkeeping, or more is a smart way for leaders to delegate vital services while they focus their time and talent in ways that make an impact.
At e2E, LLC, our subject matter experts enable small business leaders to assemble their dream team of advisors and support services to promote growth. Contact us today to learn more!