A while back, I was at an event and heard a great keynote speaker. His main point was that our businesses are a reflection of ourselves. If you are disorganized, your business is likely disorganized. If you are creative, that is probably true of your business as well. His takeaway was that if you want to improve your business, you need to begin by improving yourself. In other words:
Ask not what your business can do for you, ask what can you do for your business.
What sort of person do you need to be if you are going to run an exceptional business – a business that makes a difference in your life and the lives of others? What sort of steps might you take that will make you a better person and, if the keynoter is right, therefore a better entrepreneur? Let me suggest a few:
Be a better leader: When people start a business, it is safe to say that they give little attention to whether or not they will be a good leader. Do they have a good idea, can they get the money they need, where will they get customers – these are the things startup entrepreneurs worry about.
But down the road, whether you are an effective leader or not becomes a question of critical importance. Running a business requires that you get people invested in your dream. It means managing people and getting the most out of them. It means wooing clients and customers and being someone with whom people want to do business. All of these things require leadership skills.
Get creative: When you have done anything for a while, whether that is running a business or working for the man, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. That is simply human nature. The problem is, by doing the same thing time and again, your saw not only gets a little dull, but you may be missing out on new opportunities.
Remember when you started your business? You were probably willing to try almost anything to get people in the door. That’s the spirit that you need to rekindle! Being creative and trying out new ideas can lead to unexpected benefits for both you and your business.
Think big: We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the day-to-day minutiae of running a business, but the problem with that it is that it is very easy to lose focus. Great leaders – whether they are great prophets or great entrepreneurs – don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees. They keep their eye on the bigger picture. They are visionaries who think big. That is important to remember.