Many people dream of starting their own business. Before you do, you should ask some important questions to make sure starting a business is right for you.
Questions such as: Who is my competition? How will I get the funds? And, Am I prepared to spend the time, money and resources needed to get this business going?
These are important questions, but the question that should be on top is are you capable of being an effective leader and in turn, a successful business owner?
What is the difference between a manager and a leader?
As a business owner you will need to be both a good manager and an effective leader, but many people don’t think about the differences between the two.
Managers are budgeters, controllers, the ones who keep the business running, in other words, the administrators.
A leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go by yourself. They are the charismatic, big-picture visionaries who lead the business. Both managers and leaders make decisions, but there is a fine line between leadership and management that often shifts according to circumstance.
If you are going to grow and profit in your business, you as a manager must become an effective leader.
Are you a leader just because you have a business? Of course not. Without true leadership your business, this dream of yours, will circle around the drain and eventually fail.
You can’t just say you are a leader; you have to work on it. You have to transform yourself into the kind of leader your employees, your customers and your business needs.
One thing an effective leader knows how to do is communicate, and communication is the key. You have to be able to develop your communication skills so your business gets what it needs.
A good leader can take a message, no matter how complex, and simplify it, effectively relaying their ideas to others. Not just communicating with words, but with behavior, actions and past decisions.
All these help communicate the message. Effective communication is creating understanding.
When creating understanding, you will use words, actions, body language, voice tone and other processes to send your message.
This is only one-half of the communication process. The second half consists of making sure the message you sent was received and interpreted the way you intended.
The only way you can be sure you have created understanding is to listen to people. You need to make a special effort and encourage them to give you feedback. Although you speak in a way that seems clear to you, the receiver filters the information and may distort the message.
While you may think you have explained yourself, is it likely that the “whole picture” wasn’t received. The only way you can ensure that you have created common understanding is by asking people what they have heard and by getting feedback from them.
Leaders lead by example, but they also inspire by example. Leadership is defined through action and not just the actions toward people associated with your business. Leaders lead, they delegate and they empower people.
To be a leader, you must be a good manager, and a good manager must be a good leader. Remember, a leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go by yourself.
There is no substitute for good judgment, and leaders need to be reflective and thoughtful about the ways they communicate. There is also no substitute for listening and feedback.
Developing your communication skills will help you become a better leader. You will make mistakes, but the mark of an effective leader is that these mistakes are quickly identified and corrected.
Having a positive attitude will benefit you in more ways than you can imagine in both your professional and personal relationships. It will also maximize the performance of you and your team.
Having a positive attitude will help you gain the respect of your employees and customers and will give you the winning edge to accomplish your goals. Have a good plan, share that plan with the people around you and take advantage of the opportunities that come.
Being a good leader isn’t easy, but for anyone who is willing to make the effort it can be very rewarding.
Todd Anduze is the Area Director of the Carrollton office of the Georgia SBDC Network and he may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.