Have you always dreamed of being the one that makes all the decisions – the one that calls all the shots? Are you tired of working for someone else? Before you take the plunge and jump into the deep end of the pool have you done the market research – put a business plan together – and really thought it through? Have you thought about the impact it will have on your family and your personal life?
Before you quit your job and strike out on your own you might be interested in my answers to a series of questions I was asked by a former business student of mine. I hope my answers provide you with some valuable insight into what it takes to be successful.
What made you decide to get into business for yourself? Timing – it really boiled down to timing. I knew I wanted to make a career change. I was beginning to feel stuck and unfulfilled. For me – it’s never been about how much money I made. Now don’t get me wrong – money is important – but if it’s your only reason for getting into business for yourself – then you’re going to be disappointed – especially in your first few years. Make sure you have enough money saved up to pay your bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over your head for at least a year.
What are some of the challenges you faced in starting your own small business? I faced – and continue to face some of the same challenges everyone entrepreneur faces. Self-employed persons don’t have the luxury of a steady pay-cheque coming in. That puts a great deal of strain on your personal and family life. Everyone must give up something to get something. You need to decide what you and your family are willing to give up so that you can live your dream. Everybody needs to be on board. You need to be committed to doing whatever you need to do to be successful. If you and or your family aren’t willing to pay that price – then it’s best you stay where you are.
Any lessons learned that you can pass on to anyone wanting to start their own business? You need to be really passionate about what you are doing. You need to be prepared to work 80 hours a week for very little money. Have a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend money you haven’t generated yet. Find your niche Become an expert in something not a generalist in everything. What do you know or what product are you selling that someone else will pay you money to learn or have?
Food for thought: The two major reasons businesses fail are (1) Lack of management skills – and (2) Lack of financing. Most businesses fail within the first three years of start-up. (When I say most I mean over 90% fail) We have a tendency to overestimate revenue so divide your sales projections by half and run it by those numbers. You need to live and die by the numbers. Make business decisions – keep your emotions out of it. Always think worst-case scenario. That will help keep you grounded.
If I haven’t talked you out of getting into business for yourself after reading this article – then maybe – just maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make it to year five. I’ve been self-employed since 1998 and I’m still having fun. I wish you all the best.
Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit: https://briansmithpld.com
Think of a manager or leader that you admire. What was it about the way they managed or led others that you liked? If you had to list 5 things that they did well – what would you put on that list? Once you’ve completed your list think of a manager or leader that you didn’t like. What didn’t you like about the way they managed or led? The good news is we are not born knowing how to manage or lead others. It is a learned behaviour. Now that you’ve experienced working with a good and not so good manager or leader, you can decide what kind of manager or leader you want to be.
Successful managers or leaders understand the value of the people they work with. They understand it takes a team effort to be successful. Successful managers or leaders are FOCUSED on people. They understand that if you can’t communicate and interact with others then you can’t manage or lead.
Successful managers or leaders are:
Friendly: Someone who can smile and say hello. Someone who enjoys being around people and helping them be successful. Someone who can make everyone feel important.
Observant: Someone who can recognize those who need help and those who don’t. Someone who doesn’t micro-manage the process and gets out of the way and lets you do it.
Consistent: Someone who is consistent in the way they apply policies and procedures. Consistent in the way they manage people and situations. Someone who is fair and treats everyone the same.
Understanding: Someone who is empathetic. and tries to see things from the other person’s point of view. Someone who doesn’t jump to conclusions and waits to get all the facts before making a decision.
Sincere: Someone who truly wants others to be successful. Someone who genuinely feels and believes what they say. Someone who is not dishonest and hypocritical.
Energized: Someone who is enthusiastic. Someone who looks and acts like they really want to be there. Someone who understands that enthusiasm is contagious and will be your biggest cheerleader.
Dependable: Someone who understands that if they are going to talk the talk they must walk the walk. Someone who understands that whatever they say they are going to do – you can depend on them to do it.
Are you ready to get FOCUSED on being the best manager or leader you can be? Your future depends upon it.
Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you, your management team and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com or contact Brian by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations on your promotion. You might be wondering where you go from here. You are about to make one of the most difficult transitions there is. Making the transition from worker to manager is difficult at the best of times and it can be even more difficult if you are being promoted within the same department or peer group. One week you’re a co-worker going out for drinks after work and socializing on weekends. The following week you’re their boss. You now have a position of authority to uphold. The things that helped you get noticed within the department or on the shop floor are important. There’s no question you’ll need to bring those qualities with you as you take on your new role.
What makes someone promotable? Do automotive technicians make the best service managers? Do great athletes have what it takes to be a winning coach? Just because people are good at what they do – it doesn’t mean they will be good at managing or leading someone else. Not everyone has what it takes to manage or lead. Managing or leading is about people. If you don’t like being around people and helping them to be successful – then you are going to be a lousy manager. Managing is about giving your staff the tools they’ll need to perform their tasks on time and on budget.
If you had to sit down and write out a job description for a manager – what kinds of things would you put on that list? Managers assign tasks, monitor performance, schedule hours, discipline, input payroll information and build collaborative teams just to name a few. What skills would managers need to be able to execute everything on that list? Managers must be patient, open-minded, have good communication skills, be flexible, show empathy and are able to listen without interrupting. Which ones are you good at – which ones will you have to learn? You get to decide what kind of manager or leader you want to be. Choose wisely.
Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith- Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com or email Brian – email@example.com
I’m old enough to remember working in the 1960s. (Yes – I’m that old.) Back in those days, you didn’t question authority. When management told you to jump – the only question you were allowed to ask was how high. Social Psychologist Douglas McGregor branded that style of management as Theory X. Management believed that people were inherently lazy and needed to be bullied or brow-beaten into performing their work. Unfortunately, there are still managers out there who use that style in an attempt to motivate their workforce. Times have certainly changed. What you need to decide now is – will the management style that got you here – be the same style that will get you to where you need to go? Would you work for you?
There’s been a dramatic shift in people’s attitudes towards work. Worker’s wants and needs have changed. For the newest generation, life outside of work – is just as important as life at work. Today’s managers and business leaders must manage differently to keep pace with that change if they want an engaged and productive workforce. Productivity is still the name of the game and that equation will never change. Management’s role is to minimize input and maximize output. Unfortunately downsizing, another word for layoffs and thin margins have put added pressure on managers to hold the line on the expense side of the ledger while still growing the profit side. In order to accomplish both managers must switch from being task-focused to people-focused.
Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book – Working with Emotional Intelligence, said it best. “We are being judged by a new yardstick: not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle our selves and each other”. If you can’t make an emotional connection with the people you work with and interact with, you stand little chance of managing or leading. The good news is that managers and leaders aren’t born – they’re made. You can learn how to communicate and interact more successfully, build collaborative teams, problem solve, negotiate win-wins and motivate others to perform at their personal best. It just depends on how willing you are to change. Trust me – If you don’t, you’ll go the way of the dodo bird and dinosaurs.
Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com