- Trying to do it all
Small business owners are trained at the time they start their business that if something needs to get done, it’s probably going to be them doing it. This is very common during the startup phase of any business, but what I typically see is business owners/leaders who are unable to let go once that business is growing and expanding. I see business owners with successful businesses who are still cleaning the office space, paying invoices, and doing their own mass marketing. Why? Because they don’t know the point when their value per hour to their business far exceeds the cost they would incur to offload this to a service provider.
- Thinking strategy is for the big guys
I once had a business owner tell me that strategy is for Fortune 500 companiess and Harvard MBAs. But what many business owners don’t realize is that many of those large companies started small and without strategy to guide them in their growth they never would have gotten to where they are. Strategy does not have to be as difficult as many people believe it to be. With the help of a business consultant to guide you through the process, you can ensure that you and your team have a clear picture of what the next 1,3 and 5 years look like. With that kind of direction, you can sleep peacefully knowing that you have a plan and your team’s day to day job is to make sure each decision you make keeps those strategic goals in sight.
- Losing sight of their #1 asset – their people
As businesses grow and evolve and the pressures that come with that growth mount, business owners often lose sight of the key foundational element of their business – their people. At a certain point in their business growth, many business owners reach a point where it feels like their business is managing them versus them managing their business. When time is short and the to-do list is long, the first thing to go is our focus on engaging, rewarding and empowering our employees. But what business owners don’t understand is that they can impact their own engagement and passion for the business by spending time on the relationships that make their business run. And by doing that you have a positive influence on your business performance. It’s a natural cycle that if allowed to strengthen through focus and deliberate action can enrich your business on many levels.
- Slow Decision Making
Business owners are the key decisions makers in their business and because of that they have a direct impact in the growth of their business. In many businesses, the business owner starts with an entrepreneur mindset but as the pressures and risks of business ownership mount, they start to question their decisions and often slow their decision making process. What they don’t understand is that the only thing worse than making the wrong decision, is not making a decision at all. Business owners started their business for a reason and that intuition that told them that the benefit outweighed the risk. That same intuition should be what guides them along the way as they make decisions. There is inherent risk in the decisions we make everyday – personal and professional – and knowing when to take a calculated risk is a quality that every great business owner needs. If you are not taking risks in your business, then I would argue your business is not reaching it’s true potential.
- Building a team that thinks like them
You started your business with an entrepreneurial mindset and a vision. If you are the visionary of your business you likely have new ideas every week on how to expand, enhance or diversify your business, which requires people to help execute those ideas. But many business owners get caught in the trap of hiring people that think and operate just like them. This “cookie cutter” approach to hiring might feel easier in the beginning, but it is a real risk to the growth potential of your company. While onboarding that person who thinks just like you feels good because they agree with everything you do and can easily figure out how to operate with you on a day to day basis, the long term affects can be substantial. I’ve seen businesses where all of the employees are type A individuals and for the first few months the company is rocking and rolling until they realize that when everyone is a driver, there’s no one actually driving. The inverse is also true in that if everyone on the team is analytical and thoughtful in their decision making, the companies potential will be slowed drastically due to the slow nature of decision making. High performance comes with building a team of individuals around you who bring diverse experiences, thoughts and perspectives to the table and empowering them to use those to drive your strategic growth.