Starting a small business is an exhilarating process, and though adrenaline can carry the day at first, it’s not enough. Successful business habits create the structure that you and your team need. They’re the guard rails that ensure focus and persistence even when enthusiasm wanes.
If you’re a reactive leader, continually hustling from one fire to the next, you’re likely a major barrier to growth, and it’s up to you to correct your course. Small business owners should pay attention to five specific habits to ensure forward-thinking leadership.
This doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Strategic goals need to exist, even if they’re written with pencil and paper. Do this bi-annually, with an outlook of no further than three years. In a small business, the sweet spot is often eighteen months with check points at six months. Achieving success means articulating what that success will look like, and strategic goals provide this framework.
Anyone who starts a small business has a vision of how they want it to evolve, but you’ll find that at various growth points, you’re going to need some help. Advice from someone who has “been there, done that” is invaluable, whether that’s in HR consulting, sales consulting, or another area.
Getting to the next level in your business requires coaching. You won’t be able to do everything yourself. Investing in this type of support will reap huge dividends and prevent you from making avoidable mistakes. Take a look at your strategic goals and determine where you’ll need guidance. You may even need coaching on setting up strategic goals; there’s no shame in enlisting the expertise you need.
Hold the Space In Your Business To Do the Work
Once you’ve set strategic goals and sought coaching, you need to have time to actually execute the tasks you’ve been advised to do. Build 20-25% overhead into your business so that you’ll be able to do the thought work necessary to accomplish your core values. This also applies to your team – do they have the space needed to implement new directives?
Regardless of whether you’re currently developing your IP, planning your services, or any other stage in your small business development, build in the space you need to implement strategy. Don’t let the urgent daily tasks take up every available hour.
The early stages of building a small business involve starting from scratch, especially when it involves the nitty gritty of how you create your products and serve your clients. As you look to the future, figure out how to standardize and automate your processes so they don’t suck up time and resources. How can you implement a “plug and play” mentality when it comes to repeatable processes? A little work up front can alleviate lots of effort.
Consider your virtual platform. How are you managing work? What’s the flow for new clients? Where are your contracts? What are your deliverables and how can you standardize them? Don’t reinvent the wheel; there are many excellent virtual tools to help you in the process.
Now is the time to ensure that you’ve protected the core business, your employees, and yourself. There are a significant number of underinsured businesses out there, and small businesses often incorrectly assume that they don’t need solid insurance yet.
Take steps to protect what you’ve built and the people who maintain it. Consider liability insurance, cyber insurance, errors and omissions and professional liability insurance. The cost of cyber attacks in particular can crush a thriving small business, so don’t neglect this step.
TGR Management Offers Consulting
We offer support for business leaders for organizations of all sizes. If you’re overwhelmed by organizational struggles, lost in the weeds of developing and implementing a new technology platform, or treading water without any forward momentum, we can help. Our organizational change management strategies, digital transformation strategies and strategic planning processes will put you on track to level up your organization from the top-down.