As the head of a start-up business, do you have “the right stuff” – the key leadership qualities that can lead to business success? Numerous management articles tout the “10 key leadership qualities” or “5 essential leadership skills” that entrepreneurs should have. These are our top 10 traits for small business owners.
You need to have an overriding purpose for your business, and you must be able to share it with others – employees, investors and customers – and get them to buy in.
Setting goals and maintaining a focus on achieving these goals is critically important for start-ups. Apply your vision to specific, achievable, measurable goals. Set short-term and long-term goals for the business, and keep track of your progress.
Sharing your vision is an essential start. Take it to the next step. Be clear, succinct and specific about your vision, your goals and everything about your business. Work to create an open two-way flow of communication that fosters an open culture of sharing information.
Getting continuous feedback from customers is the foundation of healthy, responsive businesses that are continually trying to improve. The same goes for small business owners and leaders. Create a culture of continual feedback.
When starting a business, you have to overcome challenges. So, it’s important to have an optimistic spirit. However, you also need to be realistic, and know your strengths and weaknesses. You should play up your strengths while addressing any weaknesses. The same applies to the strengths and weaknesses of your team and your business.
Part of addressing your weaknesses as a leader as well as within your organization is to get help from outside experts who can fill in or add value where and when it’s needed. That can allow you to spend more time and energy exploiting your strengths, and it can improve your company’s overall results.
Successful companies grow out of a supportive atmosphere, where employees feel appreciated, listened to, empowered, and are motivated. As the leader, it’s up to you to create that culture.
If you expect accountability from your employees, as any leader should, you need to set the tone by holding yourself accountable.
Cost management is critical for start-ups and small businesses in general. Part of that is not paying more than you need to for any goods and services. Also, look at the bigger picture and evaluate whether processes or ways of doing business are efficient and cost-effective.
Vision, goal-setting, teamwork, communication, accountability… these are all important aspects of business leadership and ingredients of success. But in the end, you need to deliver. The ability to execute effectively is key.