The key to running a successful business is accessing a range of complex skills outside your own abilities. As the business owner you may be a first-rate carpenter but if you don’t have someone with the skills to run your office, you run the risk of running out of clients.
No matter what size the organization, the fundamental skills all businesses need include:
- Finance: managing cash flow and lines of credit
- Marketing: public relations and advertising
- Sales: pricing, customer relationships, pricing and keeping up competitor’s latest developments
- Procurement: buying stock, managing contracts and planning inventory
- Administration: preparation of accounts, handling the payroll, bookkeeping and billing
- Personnel: recruitment, motivating staff, training and dispute resolution
- Personal business skills: organizational and communication skills
The smaller the business, the more these tasks will be handled by the owner. However, it is important for the business owner to recognize the limits of his or her abilities.
Three crucial skills for the owner are:
- Delegation: let your staff take responsibility for tasks
- Recruitment: get the right person the first time
- Outsourcing: get the person with the right skills to do a specialist task
As the director of a business, it is essential that you have enough insight to see when new skills are needed in the business and the right steps to take either through training, recruitment or outsourcing.
Leadership development is important for business owners. A clear sense of direction and strong leadership are two hallmarks of successful businesses. Great leadership involves getting people to share their own personal vision for the company while guiding the direction of the whole organization.
Great leadership encourages people to be involved in decision making, offers personal encouragement, rewards good performance, ensures clear communication and inspires with a vision of success. The style of leadership will be an approach that suits your character: some leaders like to have a mentoring kind of approach while others will suit a charismatic style of direction.
As the director of your business you will benefit from leadership training. Leadership training will give you tangible skills so that you can inspire your colleagues and influence positive change in your organization.
Leadership training is best delivered as a mentoring relationship because this approach has an emphasis on personal development as well as offering skills and strategies to develop your particular leadership style. Mentoring is not a teacher and student relationship but rather the mentor takes the role as a guide; someone to whom you can safely sound out any ideas. The informal nature of mentoring encourages the development of the inner resources of the business owner.
If you are a business owner, seriously consider giving yourself some time to develop your skills in a mentoring environment so that you can be the best leader you can be.