Okay, maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to think of our small businesses as our offspring. Regardless, lets consider that:
- Small businesses have their “formative years” that will decide whether or not they’ll make it (up to 80% of businesses reportedly don’t make it past their first five years)
- We are ultimately responsible for the actions of our business, both good and bad
- Our businesses are extensions of ourselves when it comes to our knowledge, expertise and hard work
It’s not uncommon to see business owners who “raise” irresponsible companies. Such entrepreneurs may have a grand vision or the work experience to find success, yet lack financial discipline or are simply too proud to see the warning signs of failure . For this reason, they don’t see the flaws in their managerial approach until it’s far too late.
Ask yourself; are you raising an upstanding, respectable business? Or are you spoiling your business rotten? Consider the following as you work to make sure your business is “growing up right.”
Facing the Consequences
Whether in the case of yourself, co-workers or employees, nothing will ever get done if there’s no sense of accountability within your organization. Likewise, nobody will learn from their mistakes if they don’t even realize that mistakes are being made.
Dishing out “punishment” and making others accountable for their work doesn’t mean that you have to be a slave driver. Consider first that you’ll create a healthier, more productive work environment simply by being more positive. Remember that motivation matters for small businesses and that passionate, hard workers are motivated by praise, not fear.
Taking control of your work environment is a marathon, not a sprint. You can get your business off to a good start when you:
- Provide clear expectations so workers know who’s responsible for what
- Set boundaries regarding what’s acceptable and unacceptable in terms of behavior, ethics and workload
- Be realistic when it comes to deadlines and results, yet be firm and concerned when your expectations aren’t met
Doesn’t Play Well With Others
Treat others as you’d like to be treated. The so-called “golden rule.” Whether or not it was drilled into your heads as a kid, it definitely applies within the world of entrepreneurship.
Clients, colleagues, and yes, even competition needs to be treated with a dignity and respect. There’s a certain level of civility and class that businesses should carry at all times. This is especially true in today’s business landscape where our online reputations are constantly at stake and our interactions are almost always open to the public. Breed an environment of positivity when it comes to dealing with others. Provide service with a smile. Treat everybody well and hold it together when things are going rough. It may be easier said than done, but it’s necessary for those looking to keep a squeaky clean reputation.
Problem customer? Sketchy employee? Competition getting on your nerves?
Don’t throw a tantrum. Keep your cool when the going gets tough and be the bigger business, so to speak. If you fail to do so, your reputation has the potential to take a hit.
Rewards for No Reason
Everyone wants to run a successful business. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to put in the hours involved.
Entrepreneurship isn’t about going out to lunch or buying out the bar. It’s not about elaborate parties or conferences halfway across the country. Sure, everyone wants to keep up appearances and show off their success; however, what do we really have to show off in the first place?
Rewards should be reserved for milestones, accomplishments and legitimate celebrations. You shouldn’t simply pat yourself on the back for the sake of it or because you feel that it’s within your budget. This doesn’t mean you should be gloom and doom all the time. Simply be smart when it comes to your company’s time, energy and resources. Everyone’s tightening their belts these days. In the midst of a fragile economy and businesses struggling across the country, nobody’s expecting you to go out and look like Gatsby.
The Bottom Line
Your business doesn’t have long to figure out the kinks. Make sure you’re raising a small business with a sense of accountability, responsibility and character. The task of running a responsible company is on your shoulders.
Image via Shutterstock