Leadership in Small Business 101, Part 3: How to Plan and Execute for Growth

Being an entrepreneur is no doubt a full time job. It’s no secret that entrepreneurs and small business owners have a lot on their plates—not to mention the overwhelming pressure of knowing that 80 to 90 percent of startups fail during the growth stage.

Whether you own or operate a business in a physical location, such as a small retail store or office, or whether you operate virtually, the principles of being a true business leader don’t change, nor do the steps for planning and executing growth.

One of the biggest mistakes that most entrepreneurs and small business owners make is that they often confuse being a manager versus a leader. And, yes, there is a difference. A true business leader does more than delegate, oversee the day-to-day tasks, and review time sheets at the end of each pay period. This is a manager. A leader, however:

   •     Taking control of finances
   •     Networking
   •     Creating a synergy with your employees

So how exactly does this relate to business growth? Let’s take a look at how becoming a true business leader can help align employees with your vision, how to set your business up for success, as well as how to plan and execute for growth.

Get your finances under control

Let’s talk money for a second. Although “entrepreneurship” seems like it’s all about the money—especially since we are all in the game to make a living and put food on the table—deep down we know that money isn’t the real driver behind what we do.

Unfortunately, the primary reason why most small businesses fail during the growth stage is due to lack of money. You can easily avoid this by making smarter financial decisions, cutting down on frivolous spending, and teaching your employees the same. Getting your finances under control and improving cash flow will put your business in a better position to grow.

Get employees behind your vision

A number of organizational tactics and methods can be used to help employees think outside the box, use active creative problem-solving, and embrace innovative solutions. Small business owners can do this by simply deploying action-oriented training to encourage the entrepreneurial mind. Additionally, creating a collaborative company culture is key to getting employees behind your vision.

Start Networking

Networking is the key to growth. Although as an entrepreneur or small business owner you already have enough on your plate, finding the time to network might seem impossible. However, networking and staying in touch with your community—both online and offline—will open doors to multiple opportunities. Some ways to do this include hosting events and attending events, such as local meetups, conferences and seminars, and joining other organizations and associations. Additionally, teaching your employees to stay in touch with your network will help boost morale.

There are a number of things that entrepreneurs and small business owners can do to making planning and executing for growth easier. Here are a few examples:

   •     Taking control of finances
   •     Networking
   •     Creating a synergy with your employees

As for you brave entrepreneur, never lose sight of why you started your business in the first place. Remember that a true business leader should strive to be a better entrepreneur and a better leader each day. Keep an open mind, embrace new opportunities, and never stop learning.

Look for part 4 in our Leadership in Small Business 101 series next Tuesday: “How to Keep Your Company’s Data Secure.”