Welcome and thanks so much for tuning in! You’re listening to the Unstoppable Success Podcast Series Episode number 19 and this one is all about the three “must have” characteristics a small business owner and leader needs to be successful.
I love being in business. And even after almost 20 years, I still get excited every morning the alarm goes off because I know that the day will be filled with possibilities and infinite chances for me to make a difference in this world. I fully realize that in being a business owner, I am in control of my own destiny. And that is very exciting to me.
But I have to admit, there are days when I am lonely, scared, confused, frustrated, and disappointed. I know you are too. These feelings usually come after a bad day, occasionally after a bad week, and always after a bad couple of months. Self doubt begins to set in and it erodes the foundation of the good things we are building in our lives and careers.
The reason I know that you are destined for success, just like I know that success will always be a part of my life, is because we are wired for these three very important characteristics for small business leadership. All we need to do is access these things and before you know it, those bad couple of months is a thing of the past and you find yourself enjoying the most profitable quarter or year that you ever had.
Characteristic #1: Courage
You are wired to be courageous. It takes guts to call yourself an entrepreneur. It takes even more guts to operate as one. There is something so nice about getting a steady paycheck, isn’t there? But once you step over that line and take over in the driver’s seat of your own business full time, it’s a brand new world.
Over the years of owning multiple businesses, I’ve found that it takes courage to face the day when you know that you are about to lose your largest client and it takes courage to tell your staff that this is about to happen. Courage is important on the day you get the call from the IRS and they tell you they want to audit you. Courage is also important when you need to have the difficult conversation with that client, employee, or vendor. Facing the discomfort in situations of conflict takes guts.
I find that courage is also important on that day when it suddenly dawns on you that you are not only responsible for your own mortgage but the mortgages of those who work for you. This realization can paralyze a business owner when it comes to their being able to make decisions. The courageous entrepreneur makes decisions that are informed and based on calculated risks and they surround themselves with support and talent to ensure the best possible outcomes from the decisions they make. They always have a Plan B.
Characteristic #2: Resiliency
Now resiliency is what I like to call our “bounce back ability.” Things happen in business. Some are within our control and others aren’t. Maybe you had a product or service idea that failed. I’ve had them. As a matter of fact, I’ve had plenty. Maybe you’ve had key employees quit or a major client tells you they are leaving and going with your competition. I’ve had friends in business who weren’t able to secure loans that were needed to keep them afloat and friends who lost spouses due to death or divorce, who were partners in the business. My friends had to somehow figure out a way to keep their businesses solvent after a devastating hit like this.
Resiliency or our “bounce back ability”, comes from the “little engine that could” voice inside of us that successful business owners and entrepreneurs have. We read that book as children but for some of us, somewhere along the line, we stopped believing in our ability to make things happen. But the little engine that could mentality also comes from the voices of friends, family and coaches who tell us to keep going even when we’ve been knocked down a hundred times, because they believe in our dream as much – or maybe even more than we do.
Characteristic #3: Agility
The third and final must have characteristic of the small business leader is agility. The ability to turn on a dime to make course corrections in our strategies is critical and a good skill to have. It also makes us different from the large multinational companies out there and it may make us more desirable to work with in the long run.
Some instances where agility plays an important role are expanding and contracting the size of your staff, adding or discontinuing products and services, price adjustments, vendor selection, hiring, corporate culture adjustment, or changing direction completely. When the economy weakens, a company’s ability to reinvent itself may be crucial to its survival.
Entrepreneurs also need to be agile when it comes to accepting new ideas, technology, new ways of communicating and learning, new ways of doing business in general. For some, achieving the level of flexibility that is necessary for survival let alone success is difficult. As humans, we tend to get locked in our ways and managing change can be a struggle and uncomfortable.
So take a deep breath. Reach way down inside and pull up your courage to make that uncomfortable telephone call, purchase that new software, hire the additional help, or have that difficult conversation that must be had.
Reach way down and pull up your resiliency. Know that because something didn’t work the first time, doesn’t mean it won’t work the second time especially if you tweak and modify it a bit. Get connected with your bounce back factor. Losing clients, getting hit with a big tax bill, having key employees quit, are serve to take the wind out of our sails and set us back. Get over the fact that you had a bad day yesterday, maybe you even had a bad week. The truth is we all have bad days, bad weeks, and set backs. Get back on your leadership horse and get ready to ride into a new day. The world needs you!
Finally, reach way down inside and get ready to limber up. In these turbulent times, agility or your ability to change direction, create new products and services to meet customer demand, formulate new strategies and employ new tactics, close down company divisions and open up new ones, is so critically important. As a matter of fact, our ability to turn on a dime is what sets us apart from the behemoth companies with which we compete on a regular basis. Let your agility be your differentiator.
Come on, we can do this!
Let your courage, resiliency, and agility be the keys to your unstoppable small business leadership success!