Starting a new business is an exciting and somewhat stressful ordeal. There is so much to take care of just to get everything off the ground — but you’ve done it! You’ve made it happen and now you can call yourself a business owner and manager. It is kind of a weird feeling to have the title, but you deserve it; you’ve accomplished something that more than a few people will fail at and most won’t even attempt to do.
As the business starts performing and money starts rolling in, you may find yourself thinking about setting yourself up for growth and possibly even expansion. Doing so might require hiring more people or expanding services offered. But there are other important things to consider as you dive into the world of managing a successful business.
The number one thing you should be spending time thinking about is management in general, particularly your own management style. Believe it or not, management practices and tone can have a real impact on making or breaking a business. Choosing how you manage employees and through them accomplish certain tasks and goals can empower them to propel your company forward and encourage the development of strong policies and practices, or it can hinder your growth and mire you a pool of disgruntled, distrustful employees.
A Savvy Business Leader
Becoming a savvy business leader means having a real idea and vision that you can follow through with. It also means having the skills and training to make these goals an actual reality. Good ideas can easily become derailed by a lack of practical business decision-making skills.
This is why so many business leaders have a foundation in skills built through an MBA program. Business programs typically take the time to expose their students to real aspects of running a business without the financial risk of actually doing it, which can help build skills and exposure. Likewise, business schools are great places to network, a powerful tool for starting and growing a business regardless of what industry you end up in.
The past year has brought a lot of changes to business and, for many, a great deal of hardship. But there are savvy ways that you can lead your company through the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side in 2021. Things such as changing your marketing strategy and sales platform to reflect the growing number of online shoppers and embracing the benefits of remote employees can make a big difference given the current circumstances with the pandemic.
Leadership over Management
The terms leadership and management are often used somewhat interchangeably, but they are quite different. Management is an essential aspect of every business — someone must be there to guide employees through their work, answer questions, and provide feedback. Ultimately, the manager is the person who does the work to keep the ship sailing smoothly.
A leader, on the other hand, is someone who inspires employees to follow their direction and guides positive change in an organization. True leaders don’t always have to be in a management role, but all strong managers are also strong leaders. They invoke respect and loyalty through the positive relationships they create, the trust they place in fellow employees, and the quality work they accomplish.
- The ability to make decisions, even in difficult circumstances.
- A willingness to adapt as situations change.
- Strong relationship-building skills across disciplines.
- A dependable personality and demeanor.
- A desire to learn new things and teach them to others.
- The ability to control emotions and make rational decisions.
Space for Communication
Though many different management styles work well, most of them have at least one thing in common: communication. Open lines of communication between employees and their leadership are the foundation of every successful and growing company that makes it in the long-term.
Creating and enforcing policies that encourage employees to be creative and speak out if they have issues is a critical starting point. From there, it can be a huge benefit to cultivate regular conversations and open dialogue between employees and managers as well as between employees. This is where something like a strong company culture comes into effect. Companies with strong communication will reap the benefits.
Technologies are also playing an increasing role in managing and growing a business. Building an understanding of the tools out there and teaching employees how to use them is another aspect that must be considered. For instance, technologies can boost communication through apps designed for intra-company chat and numerous tools exist to help managers delegate tasks more effectively.
Opening and growing a business is no easy task and it will take a true leader to be highly successful. Making sure you have the business savvy and a fitting leadership style will be critical to the process. Building trust and communication with employees will help fill in any remaining gaps.