Leading Yourself

Running a small business is hard. I mean really hard. Whether you’re the only employee, or you have a few people helping you out, the process is difficult. Think about all the day to day activities that need to be taken care of, and you’re basically the only one doing them. After all, your company is just a smaller version of a fortune 500, right? Okay, maybe not the exact same, but procedures like HR, accounting, sales, and business development exist in every firm. This fact makes it apparent that there is a need to be your own leader in your small company.

A lot of you are reading this and saying to yourself, “Scott, we know we have to be our own leader, it’s one of the many factors of a small business.” To that I respond with, you’re right. So why am I even writing this article? Well, most people are terribly off the mark when they think about what leading themselves means. Don’t worry though, I’m here to help.

leadership tips
photo credit: Hamed Saber via photopin cc

1. Don’t punch the clock

It’s human nature to get off of work and then go home to watch some TV and relax. Maybe some people go to the gym after, either way, we shut off the work side of our brain. When you’re the leader of a small business, and you need to lead yourself, you can’t fully shut that side off. Obviously, I’m not saying be a workaholic and never relax… that’d be dumb. What I am saying, is that because you don’t have any help, you may need to put in a little extra thought.

The area I’m always most concerned with is business development. Since you get busy with actually running the business during the week, you need to think of ways how to expand you company in the off time. Just an hour or two on the weekends will do and could do wonders for your growth.

2. Do you really know best?

I think one of the major pitfalls of small business owners, is that they don’t have the luxury of somebody questioning what they do. Have you ever thought you knew something (I mean like, you’d bet your life savings on it) and then found out that it was wrong? I’m pretty sure everyone has experienced this at some point in their lives, and it doesn’t feel good. However, the end result makes you better. It’s beneficial to you to have someone else keeping you on your toes.

Ideas can almost always be improved upon, and they should certainly be questioned. So a key component of leading yourself is learning how to question yourself. Think about what an outside source might suggest, and learn from that thought process. P.S, once you’ve taken that step back to analyze a situation, then you shouldn’t question yourself anymore. Confidence is huge.

3. Test Yourself

Sometimes when you have no one keeping track of your work, you need to make sure to challenge yourself. We all have a tendency to fall into a rhythm, which can be a good thing. A groove never hurt anybody when it’s new. It’s when there’s a clear path to improve and you can’t get out of the groove. So it’s important to stay on top of your activities and to push yourself farther.

Great leaders have a couple things in common. They listen to other people, know when they’re wrong, and have the guts to go out on a limb to improve ideas. The hard thing about being your own leader, is taking a step back and forcing yourself to think outside the box of your own head. If you can figure out how to lead yourself, then you small business will reap some rewards.

About the Author: Scott is an aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for writing and learning about leadership. In his free time, Scott enjoys spending time outdoors and fishing.