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Category - Leadership

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1
Training Your Employees For Your Absence
2
The Right People Make All The Difference
3
Dealing With Overwhelm In A Small Business
4
Small Business Leadership
5
Delegate Your Way To Growth

Training Your Employees For Your Absence

Unless you own and wish to continue to own a micro-business where you work on your own in your profession or trade, it is more than likely that as a small business owner you wish to expand and grow your business to the extent that you will be employing people as you grow.

Most of us who run and operate small businesses wish to grow in size – as our sales and profits grow, by necessity we need to scale and grow our workforce so that we can produce more, or meet more customers or provide more services. We are constrained by the number of productive hours we, or anyone we employ, can spend on producing goods or services. So we employ more people.

Some of the new people we employ may not be directly customer-facing. Indeed we may need more and more “back-room” hours from new people – keeping the books, managing the stores, manufacturing or working behind the scenes.

The question is, how do you introduce more and more people and continue to control and manage the business as more and more people do the things that you used to do?

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The Right People Make All The Difference

Whether you’ve only started your small business or have been operating for a while, if you are growth-minded, at some stage you will be thinking about, if not already brought in employees to help you do the work and grow your business.

Sometimes, you strike it lucky and you find people who are the perfect fit.

They work hard, the way you want them to. They are good at whatever you hired them to do. They even get on with you and everyone else in the business, and they get on with the customers.

If you are in that boat, congratulations! All you have to do is make sure they are happy working in your business.

However, most small businesses go through some difficult periods finding the “right” employee or employees. If you’ve ever had the “right” people working for you, then you know that the right people make all the difference.

So, how do you get it right all the time?

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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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