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Category - Leadership

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1
Dealing With Overwhelm In A Small Business
2
Small Business Leadership
3
Delegate Your Way To Growth
4
Leadership in a Small Business
5
Six Keys To Business Success

Dealing With Overwhelm In A Small Business

About 3 years ago I read an article in a small business magazine that said over 70% of small business owners were overwhelmed by their work and responsibilities.

Do you think that got better or worse in 2020?

At the best of times, small business owners have multiple responsibilities and have to deal with multiple issues and decisions at any one time. Even the most well organised of us sometimes feel as if they are ten different people in one body!

Stress and small business owners are two things that always come together.

From what I understand, stress actually affects your body on a cellular level. The change it affects on your body makes you physically as well as mentally tired, and it makes you more and more unable to cope with stress. So, the more stressed and overwhelmed you feel….. the more stress and overwhelm you will feel!

And if stress is not good for you, a stressed leader is certainly not good for your business!

So it is more than worthwhile for all small business owners to organise their affairs and workflows to reduce stress and overwhelm.

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Small Business Leadership

As I was tidying some old files and briefcases in my home office, I came across an old notebook that I used to carry around with me all the time (see the cover image of this post).

What was interesting is that I found some notes about leadership that I was penning in 1993 – quite a few years ago!

I remember that at the time, I had just started my business 2 years before, after working in large international accounting firms for the previous 9 years, so I was keen to develop the culture of my own firm in a way that would differentiate it from other small accounting firms.

I had attended Business Schools in the US as part of my employment with the large accounting firm I was with and some of these notes came from a book called The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner.

I thought it would be interesting to provide my notes about Leadership from 1993 and see how much I had changed in my thinking.

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Delegate Your Way To Growth

One of the discussions I always have with small business owners is about how “letting go” may actually help them to grow their business.

It is always a difficult discussion because it seems counter-intuitive that you can grow by doing less yourself.

Look, I understand, for someone who has bootstrapped his business as I have, it is hard to reconcile growing your business your way, with getting others to do it for you.

I mean, you’re the one who knows how to do things right, aren’t you? You’re the one who works extra hard when that’s called for. You’re the one who has to figure it out if something goes wrong.

And on top of all that, how can you really trust someone else?

But, I tell them, it’s not a matter of “trust”. You have to create a structure where everybody knows what they are doing and why they are doing it, within a collaborative structure where everyone benefits in some way.

So there is some work involved but it’s worth it because, without the ability to delegate some of your work and responsibility, you cannot grow.

Here’s why:

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Leadership in a Small Business

In this post, I am going to show you why Leadership is a requirement in any business – even a small business.

I am then going to provide you with a simple challenge that you can try out in the next week, a set of simple steps or processes that you can use in your business.

But first, let’s start with why leadership is a requirement in any business.

Through the course of my career in developing and growing businesses, I have observed that business success depends on doing six things well.

These are Leadership, Planning, Marketing, Customer Fulfilment, Operational Efficiency, and Mastering Finance.

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Six Keys To Business Success

Small businesses succeed because their owners do some critical things well.

At times like this when the world is not helping you, when the pandemic shuts your city down, when the economy is in freefall, it seems obvious that we need to apply some emergency strategies as I wrote about in May this year.

But what is less obvious is that any crisis strategy you take to keep your business afloat, even those I recommended, is still based on the key business principles you need to have in your business, whether you are starting up, looking to grow, or reviewing your ability to survive, change or pivot.

Every strategy and tactic to employ now – as they are when you are in the growth phase – should be focused on the six keys to business success.

Even with multiple strategies and tactics in your plans, only those that reinforce these six key attributes are deserving of the focus right now, especially now when you can’t waste time on non-critical use of time and other resources.

If you look after these six key factors, you will be able to do what you plan to do, every time.

In this week’s post, I’d like to explain what these six fundamental attributes are, and how you can apply them in a simple six-day challenge to sustain or grow your small business.

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