In our accounting practice, we deal with business owners every day. Over the years (OK, decades!) I have observed trends of thought that run consistently through most successful owners. Take a look and see if YOU are thinking the same way.
Know thyself – a business is a true reflection of its owners.
It’s easy to shrug off self-analysis as being somehow ‘un-businesslike’. But the best leaders invest time in getting to know themselves – both their strengths and, perhaps more importantly, their limitations. Everyone else may see what is obvious, but our egos protect ourselves from ourselves. So get past your own filters. Talk to people you trust to be honest. Hire a personal coach. Or just look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “Who am I?” The answer may lead to fresh insights into your business.
Understand every key aspect of your business, or partner with someone who does.
Some leaders avoid key areas of knowledge in their business that they feel may be beneath them, or not ‘in their wheelhouse’. This is a recipe for getting blind-sided, If you don’t understand an important part of your business, you are merely a shareholder investing and trusting someone else’s work ethic. If part of your business truly is beyond your understanding (without going back to university), incorporate the expert. Consider giving them some equity so they have ‘skin in the game’ – though this step must be taken with care, as it cannot be undone. Or, outsource this area, if you can find reliable companies, and treat their services like inventory you would purchase.
Practice the traits of a successful leader every day. Come in early and leave early.
Start every day off right. Arriving late simply puts you in fire-fighting mode for the rest of the day. An early start sets the tone and allows you to leverage your resources. Leaving early lets employees know they are responsible for outcomes – you aren’t going to solve everything for them. And they’ll want to get tasks done before you are in early the next day!
Of course, these are just a few ideas. What ways do YOU think like an owner? Please let us know, and stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.
Now, get back to work!