Home > 

Blogs > 

Small business leadership

A Guide To Leadership For Small Business Owners

by constructaquote - 6 December 2017


As a small business owner, you’ll most likely find yourself juggling all areas of your business. Even with a strong team of employees in place, it’s down to you to drive the business forward in order for it to grow. Strong leadership is essential for a healthy, profitable business. Here’s a few key things to consider when running your business…

Devise A Clear Plan

What does the future of your business look like to you? Establishing this early on is crucial not only for your own clarity but so that everyone in your business can be on the same page too. If you are not 100% sure about where you want to take the business, how can you expect the team around you to perform the way you would expect them too?

Set out clear goals and make them known to all of the key members of staff so that they can work with you to get to where you want to be.

Hire The Best

As the saying goes, “we become the people we surround ourselves with”, and this is especially the case when it comes to business. It’s important for business owners to find employees that understand the ‘vision’ of the business and hiring the right people means things get done efficiently.

However, these are not easy to find and employers should take action when coming across an intelligent, motivated person that could be perfect for the business – even if they are not looking for work.

Whilst experienced staff can cost more, the value they can bring the business makes it a cost worth while. However, motivated candidates without experience shouldn’t be cast aside so quickly – eagerness to learn and a positive outlook can turn the most inexperienced and uneducated employee into a success over time .

Establish Employee Strengths and Weaknesses

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to review your employees and assess their performance. Are they performing to the best of their ability? Are they slacking more than before? If an employee is not meeting the standards you’d expect, discuss their role with them and see how you can help them to do a better job. Can you provide any assistance to make them more productive and successful within their role? Would they be better suited in another department?

After a while, things can start to feel stale in a business and often what’s needed is just a bit of a mix around to freshen things up.

If your employees have more to give, you could consider developing their skills further through extra training and courses. Nurturing employees and helping them to grow within the company rather than getting rid of them will make them feel appreciated and valued and subsequently encourage them to do better. Developing current employees skills also means you can hire less new people.

Communicate Clearly

Communication is key in business and it’s very important for business owners to communicate with their team on a regular basis. Letting your employees know what is going on in the business, good or bad, will make them feel like they’re really part of a team.  Sharing your vision, long and short-term goals with employees will make them feel like a team working together to achieve gains for the company. This doesn’t mean you should let your whole work force know every detail of the business – some things should be kept private to just senior management.

As a leader, you’ll also need to learn to listen to other people’s opinions and take their views on board. Discussing changes within the business or future plans with your employees ensures that everyone’s opinion is considered and everyone is on the same page.

Maintaining communication with your staff is also a way of helping them to feel comfortable around you and to boost morale. Listen carefully to your employee’s concerns, even if you don’t feel you are able to act on their feedback right away, make sure they know that they can come to you and express their views if they need to.

Lead By Example

In order to gain ultimate respect from your employees, you should always aim to lead by example and practice what you preach. This means digging deep, getting your hands dirty, and be willing to do the things you expect your staff to do.

Good leaders lead by example and become a person employees want to follow. When leaders say one thing, but do another, they erode trust and demonstrate uncertainty. Leaders that are not afraid to get involved gain the upmost respect from staff.

Build Relationships

Having a healthy relationship with your workforce will mean they feel appreciated, happier and more motivated to do well. Some business owners prefer to be firm and detached from employees, whilst others try hard to be everyone’s best friend. The key is to strike a balance. Make your employees feel like you’re there for them and they can come to you when there is an issue, but also make them know that they are not irreplaceable should they not perform. Treating your employees fairly is crucial for strong leadership.

Boost Employee Morale

The best way to get the most out of your employees is to boost their morale and make them feel truly appreciated. Whilst you’re ‘the boss’ try to work WITH your staff and reduce the divide of employer and employee. As well as communicating with your staff regularly and being a friendly face should they need to come to you, make your employees feel valued in the company and made to feel like their hard work is being acknowledged.

This is done through rewarding employees for their results. Set milestones in the company for employees to achieve, and when they succeed – reward them. Rewards do not necessarily need to be in monetary form such as a big bonus. Even small rewards such as an extra day of holiday or a new coffee machine in the staff room can really encourage employees to work well.

Prioritise Tasks

In order to be a successful leader, you must determine the importance of tasks and prioritise them accordingly. This means focusing both on big and small tasks. Leaders need to take a step back and analyse the business as a whole. Are you on track to meet your goals and targets for the year? What big changes can be made to reap big results?

This is known as the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) which states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the effort.

In contrast, it’s also important to pay attention to the smaller tasks in your business by having an eye for detail. Are there a number of small, vitally important tasks that contribute to the overall success of the business?

Understanding when to prioritise tasks as well as the significance of big and small tasks is crucial for leaders to run a successful growing business.

Look After Yourself

Personal success comes hand in hand with the success of the business. As the leader, you are in the driving seat steering the ship, so it’s vital you are in great mental, emotional and physical condition to drive the ship safely and effectively. The healthier and happier you are in your personal life, the better you will be in business. It’s also a good idea to instil an attitude of ‘health is wealth’ within your business so that your employees can be encouraged to look after themselves too.