1. You. Your clients love you. They love your product. They “Ooh” and “Ahh” every time you share an idea with them. You are a boss. Words that describe you include “visionary”, “thought leader”, and “best thing since sliced bread”. While you are 100% amazing, great leadership is just one element ended to run a great small business or startup. These are some other elements you need:
2. Happy teammates. Treating your contractors and employees with integrity, respect and appreciation will go a long way. Survey your teammates to learn what they like and don’t like about working with you. What are some things you can do better? The truth may hurt, but working towards resolution will yield great results when your folks stick around for the long haul.
3. Even happier clients. If you don’t have clients, you’re not making money. It’s essential to survey your clients and make sure they’re happy with your product/service. Happy clients will refer you to their network, who will turn to you to get the same results – as in, you’ll get even more clients! When you have an unhappy client, ask what you can do make right what has gone wrong. Deliver on what you’ve promised, and do it right the first time.
4. Smart suppliers. Your vendors should be your business partners and have your best interests at heart. They shouldn’t sell you stuff you don’t need. You should see the value in what you’re buying. They are there to solve problems and not create more problems. Regularly evaluate the vendors and subscriptions you have; pare off the ones you don’t need or don’t use often.
5. Balanced time management. Be realistic about what you can get done in a day, a week, a year. While your business is your livelihood and your passion, don’t neglect your own physical, mental, and emotional needs for rest, relaxation, and regrouping. Make time for family, friends, and loved ones. Add time back to your day by delegating tasks to a virtual assistant service.
6. Solid grip on your finances. This is critical. You must be in tune with how money is going in and going out of your business. If numbers aren’t your strong point, delegate your bookkeeping to someone who can help you make sense of what’s happening with your money.
7. Technology that works for you. This element ties into all the elements. Are you using the right calendar tool? The right accounting software? The right payroll platform? When you have technology that supports your objectives, you’ll get more done in less time with less effort.
8. Systems that get stuff done. Is your team as efficient as it should be? Are there breakdowns in communication that affect your output? Effective workflows and processes will cut down time lost on back-and-forth, rescheduling, and pushing back deadlines – all of which amount to money your business loses.
9. Fully equipped office environment. Does the space(s) you work in allow you to work effectively? Do you have everything it takes to get the job done? Make your office comfortable and conducive to being productive – whether it’s your dining room table, your cowering space, your nook at the coffeeshop. Try to limit your distractions so that you make the most out of the time you invest in your business.
I know there’s a lot more elements I’m missing. What do you think about these? Are there any you’d add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!