These are turbulent times, no matter what the size of your business. But with a cool head and good leadership you can make sure your company gets through the slump without too much collateral damage.
Owning and running a small business is challenging, even at the best of times. Now that the economy is slowing down, you might find that your skills as a leader are being tested like never before. Here are some tips to help you bring out your best.
Take the bull by the horns
Now is not the time to panic. You would not be an entrepreneur if you didn't have a never-say-die attitude. Your employees are looking to you to see them through these tough times, so you can't crumble when people - including your own family - are counting on you.
Focus on doing smart business, looking for new opportunities and being honest with your employees about the status of the company. Without transparency, you are feeding into your staff's insecurities and lowering their morale. Make them feel like they have the power to turn things around.
Don't compromise on who you are
When under pressure, many people make drastic decisions that are completely out of character. Don't be tempted to do this. Maintain your beliefs and stay positive. When making decisions, ask yourself:
- What is right for my business?
- What is right for the people who work for me?
- What is right for me as a leader?
Keep things in perspective
When a situation arises that places you as a leader under undue pressure, it may be useful to take a step back and understand how real a threat it represents, assess the scale of its impact and decide whether or not it has long-term implications.
Stay focused on four ways of making informed decisions:
- Get all the facts: You might have to work much harder for accurate information, because during difficult times, people may paint a much prettier picture
- Listen to others' opinions: Get the opinions of both those within your company and exterior parties. Speak to your mentor, experts in your industry or other SME owners
- Have personal sounding boards: Make sure you have trusted people you can talk to, whether it be a about business-related concerns or personal anxieties
- Create personal space: Have a place (or a few places) where you can think clearly on your own and gain inspiration
Look after yourself
Being a leader is a difficult job, even at the best of times. With the current status quo, you are going to need high levels of stamina and personal strength to be effective. Looking after your physical and emotional health is the foundation for your leadership success.
Don't let your tank run dry. Focus on your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing. There are a lot of people counting on you, but the person putting the most pressure on you, is probably you. Keep this in mind without letting it overwhelm you.
Remember, you wouldn't be an entrepreneur if you weren't made of metal.
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