22/04/2015 - 04:55

Accept the challenge to lead

22/04/2015 - 04:55


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Many people who run a business have come to the position unprepared for the challenges of leadership.

Accept the challenge to lead
STEP UP: Running a business takes great ideas and the ability to get your staff on board. Photo: iStockphoto

Many people who run a business have come to the position unprepared for the challenges of leadership.

Running a business takes skill and perseverance, and I have great admiration for successful business leaders.

However too often, it seems, businesses come into existence almost by default; someone who is gifted in a certain field decides to open a consultancy, which then grows into a business. Suddenly, this person is meant to be steering a company, ensuring bills are paid and livelihoods are protected.

This is a huge leap of faith. Just because you are skilled in a certain area does not necessarily mean you are a specialist in business, or in fact leadership.

At some stage these business owners need to actually acknowledge that they are now business leaders and take the helm.

As the business leader, it is your job to set the pace and direction for your staff; and it is also vital to feel a sense of excitement for what lies ahead – otherwise the prospect of going to work becomes very dire indeed.

Having been a business coach, I know many businesses have benefited from an external pair of eyes providing feedback on their business and marketing practices.

Here are some of my insights that demonstrate, I believe, reflect a successful business.

Be the boss

The first and most evident matter that often needs to be addressed within a business is the role of the boss.

Too often I have worked with businesses where the boss wishes to be liked, or in fact refuses to take the reins at all.

This spells trouble no matter which way you look at it.

If you fail to step into the role of leader, either you will have anarchy or another person (staff member) will step into your shoes instead.

And in some instances this results in mutiny.

I understand why some business owners choose to abdicate their leadership role – usually due to wear and tear over time. However, regardless of your level of motivation, you are still ultimately responsible for your business.

It is therefore your task to set the goals and steer your business accordingly.

Ultimately, as the business owner you need to determine what needs to happen and have the self-confidence to make it happen. If you are bold and decisive, then you’re on the right track to ensuring your business is a success.

Another critical role of leadership is harnessing your staff. You ultimately have to decide what your company requires to operate, hire the staff to make it happen, and then give them the direction so that they can perform at their best.

That means you want to share your business goals and strategies for the next 12 months with your team, so they can play their part too.

We are team

Too often I have seen business owners believe their staff – who get on well – are a fully functioning team.

This is not a team.

Teamwork means your staff members work together to ensure clients’ orders – service or product – are met, and the viability of the business is sustained.

But in order to do that, you need to tell your staff about where you are going and why.

Each new year I would set financial goals for revenue growth, but I would also indicate which clients or projects we wished to secure.

With this focus in mind, our team worked cohesively and understood what our overarching objectives were. We also did not waste time chasing after business that was not profitable. Our marketing strategy guided our behaviours, and that was why we were successful for the 11 years I operated my market consultancy.

If you don’t stop at some point (preferably end of year) and look forward, set your goals and dreams, then every day just blends into the other.

I found setting goals and measuring our performance against them was invigorating and kept me focused. I also had times of great achievement, which was infectious.

Understanding exactly what you want to achieve is therefore vital in igniting the passion for your business.

At the end of the day, you want to champion your business and see it achieve its very best version. 

On that basis, I believe a smart business leader is therefore one who:

• knows the bigger picture and where they are going;

• are ‘boss’ enough to make core decisions to advance the business; and

• knows what each staff member is doing and focuses on efficiencies.


• This is an abbreviated extract from Samantha Reece’s recently published self-help book, Boost your company’s profits – a practical guide to smart marketing.


Samantha Reece

Director/motivational speaker

Catalyst 2 Success



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