As a small business owner (I want to clarify my definition of a small business owner: Everyone that works on a commission basis is also a small business owner) your constant quest should be to take your business to the next level. The best time to start planning for the next level is while your business is small and “moldable” enough to create an entity that has a solid foundation based on your values.
Planning for survival is not enough. If your goal is to survive, you will do just that, you will survive. Taking a business to the next level requires a business to operate at peak performance. It has to have a vision that not only excites and motivates the owners, but all those who hear it.
Too many businesses have a goal of covering next month’s expenses. Once that occurs, there is a temporary relief until the pressure mounts once again to work on next month’s expenses. It becomes a never ending cycle of pressure on the business owner and a no growth pattern for the firm.
Many years ago William H. Danforth, wrote a book called “I Dare You”. I am taking up his slogan and I Dare You to take your business to the next level this year by:
- Vision: in my opinion, the first responsibility for reaching the next level is the creation of a
long-term direction, a vision statement. It has to have meaning and significance as well as a well-defined future destination.
- Innovation: be open to new ideas, yours as well as those of others. Creative ideas are constantly forming in the mind of a business person but are often ignored. Take a positive step and write down your ideas, review them, prioritize them and put them into action.
- Risk: a turtle can’t take a step forward without sticking out its neck. Taking a calculated risk is essential to the growth of an enterprise. Don’t be influenced by the negativity around you: the economy, the media, well-meaning friends and self-servicing politicians. Learn to dance to your own tune.
- Strength: have the strength to persevere. That means feeding your mind with the necessary tools and taking care of your physical being in order to carry out your dreams.
- Leadership: be the leader for your company. Study the leadership traits of those leaders you admire. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You have to believe in your company and its future. As a leader you must constantly change, improve and always move forward.
Saying you are a leader or being in the position of a leader, does not make you a leader. A true leader is formed by actions and the results of those actions. This includes interaction with staff, the community as well as the family.
There is an old saying: to lead yourself, use your head; to lead others, use your heart.
Nick J. Petra CFP www.strategicduck.com
Something big, new and innovative is coming the second quarter of 2013, it will change the way small businesses learn, build and grow.