Owning a small business often means wearing many “business hats”. Having a passion for your industry drives you to make the best decisions for the future of your small business. As it grows, you need to trust other people to take on some of the responsibility.
Find people who share your vision
In order to build a passionate team, potential employees need to understand how your business started, how far you’ve come and what your goals are. Someone who is enthusiastic about your vision may be the right person for the job, but enthusiasm must be coupled with invested commitment for maintaining the business and achieving long-term goals.
Welcome different opinions
Surround yourself with people who approach challenges differently to you to get an alternative perspective. If an employee offers suggestions that demonstrate thoughtful grappling with your business problems, it shows they are invested. It also indicates they are seriously considering how they can help you make good decisions that help grow the business over time.
Invest in the people around you
As a start-up business with a team that isn’t yet familiar with its members, building inter-personal relationships is crucial. An employer who shows compassion - both inside and outside of work - motivates employees to work harder. Initiate ways to develop relationships through simple gestures such as a monthly lunch together or informal weekly catch-ups.
Deadlines are imperative so ensure you build a collaborative environment where people are comfortable working together. People stay motivated when they know they have a sound support system. Foster this by encouraging one another to remain driven and aligned to the same business goals.
Display authentic leadership
As a leader, you will be tasked with finding the line between constructive criticism and excessive praise. It is important to celebrate milestones to give a sense of value (to work and individuals) but don’t hand out praise too loosely as it may lose gravitas over time. Promote a culture of gratitude, but remember that the workplace is a business environment. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations; be candid and practical when approaching them.
You are responsible for setting the tone at work so lead by example. Treat employees fairly, treat yourself and those around you with respect, and manage time effectively. The passion you have for your business will spread among your staff the more you inculcate behaviour that’s aligned to your personal and commercial values.
Build confidence through delegation
As your business grows, the pressure and demand will increase. Share the responsibility of taking your business forward by delegating tasks, and trust that employees will execute them well. As well as getting more done in less time, your team will feel empowered by the opportunity to solve problems. Their successes will feed the passion they feel for the business, motivating them to get more involved. Overseeing projects is important but don’t micromanage; ownership is key to employees feeling as though they have a meaningful stake in your business.
Want to learn more about growing your small business? Click here to find out more about the 1001 Days web series where two South African entrepreneurs from different industries share advice for start-ups and relay their own challenges and lessons learnt.