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3 Leadership and Management Strategies for the Small Business Owner

Small business owners (SBOs) have unique challenges when it comes to leadership & management. Here are some obstacles that SBOs face and some simple, solution-building strategies to consider.

#1 Wearing All the Hats

Many SBOs are not only in business for themselves, they are in business by themselves. This leaves them wearing all the hats and the challenge is how to do this effectively, efficiently and fairly.

The first step is to clearly define each hat or role and its importance. Until we define something for ourselves in a comprehensive way using black & white language that we produce in written form, it exists as a vague awareness. It often lives in the recesses of our brains. In this form, it doesn’t hold a strong value as a tool that can help us measure our performance. We are not able to truly realize what we have and what we are managing.

When we are able to see and define the various roles we play as an SBO, we can better understand the value of each one. This offers us an opportunity to prioritize and better support our viewpoints from each role, as well as the decisions we are making from these positions and the impact these decisions are having on our outcomes.

Based on the value of a particular position, we can also see more clearly the value of outsourcing positions with a lesser impact, overall. The SBO can then focus his or her efforts on the higher level roles that are both within their unique wheelhouse and are the current driving force in the business.

By seeing everything we are juggling, we are in a much better position to make more discerning choices when it comes to our resources.

#2 Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

This leads me to our next important area of focus. The nature of being the one IN CHARGE means you are, ultimately, making all the decisions for the business. For this reason, it’s important to make the decisions that best support your current and future business goals and plans.

Here, again, it is important to get it down on paper. Having a distinct vision or blueprint of what you are building can have a huge impact on the quality of your decisions and the confidence you have in them.

One of the best and simplest ways to make congruent decisions is by defining your core values for the business. It’s about asking yourself, as the SBO, what values are most important to you in running your business and producing & delivering your value to the marketplace.

Truly, at the end of the day, it’s about discovering the WHY behind your business from the standpoint of mission and legacy.

From your list of core values (and mission/legacy statement), you can assess the alignment of all of your decisions. You can also use these values to produce inner systems, approaches, procedural documents and even marketing content to help your ideal customers/clients find you.

In the end, when you are clear about what you have in terms of value and how you choose to deliver this value, you will have an easier time seeing where some decisions are more congruent with your intended vision than others.

#3 Leading the Market

One of the mistakes I see a lot with SBOs is a focus on trying to serve the needs of the market or client, first. This perspective can lead SBOs in circles. It also tends to kill their ability to define and hone in on their unique differentiators and develop the leadership model that best suits their own personal needs.

I strongly believe that in order to create a sustainable business model, an SBO must define his/her ideal environment. There is always longevity and better performance capacity available to the SBO when the environment they are in best supports the individual they are.

When we look at the ideal environment, we are assessing what the individual wants to create when it comes to where they spend their time and with whom. In other words, what does the ideal physical environment that allows the SBO to perform at his/her best look like and who plays a role and how in creating the experience of that environment? We craft an ideal client/customer profile and define physical space characteristics and requirements.

Along with the clearly defined roles and core values, this vision of environment provides the SBO clarity and understanding around what he/she chooses to offer the marketplace and how he/she chooses to offer it, not vice versa.


Published at with the consent of the author

Traci Philips

About author

Performance & Leadership Strategist | Speaker | Authentic Communications Coach | Transformation Instigator

Traci Philips is an Executive Leadership & Performance Strategist and supports visionary business owners and corporate executives to reach a higher degree of fulfillment, potential and purpose in their careers and lives. She excels at digging in and uncovering a client’s Zone of Genius, as well as identifying what is holding them back, many times in ways they are not aware. She is well practiced at helping clients improve their communications, resolution strategies, decision-making and establishing a sense of balance and unwavering confidence that is essential for leading during times of change and when the stakes are high.

Being one herself, Traci understands how visionaries think and operate. She helps leaders understand and define their unique lane, how to operate and stay in it, and she works with them to build the mental framework, behaviors and communication skills necessary to engage with their partners, teams and clients in meaningful, effective and positively influential ways.

Traci is the co-host of Eavesdrop in the Moment, a bi-weekly podcast that discusses current trends and leadership. Her book, Looking In: Discover, Define and Align the True Value of Your Life, Leadership and Legacy is helping leaders around the globe increase their confidence and self-identity to meet leadership demands and their personal performance potential.

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