For business owners: what are the biggest mistakes you made when starting your business (particularly in leading your employees)?
I'm building my team right now, and I want to be an effective leader. Any advice/past experiences that have helped you become a strong leader? Thanks!
Best leaders delegate. First of all they know how to choose associates. To know people is a step that cannot be avoided to have confidence and know what you can wait for and ask them.
I use Facial Psychology to understand how people think and what they can do for me. Watch my website nemopsy(dot)fr . I'll give you more information on it. It is surprisingly accurate.
Interesting question. There is a fine line between leading and managing. The leader must communicate, communicate, communicate and continue to ensure understanding of the vision and setting the milestones required to achieve the mission of the business. The job of managing is to keep the organization moving forward to meet the milestones. All too often, assuming your have recruited talent, managing becomes overbearing and demotivating rather than the role of support and provider of the resources needed for success. This can be easily seen as innovation begins to deteriorate. It is better to ask too much (the challenge) and help people stretch than to ask too little.
I started my first business when I was 21 yrs old in1989 in India.. Starting a business in conservative society for a female without any business background and knowledge was simply a very big challenge.
The mistakes I did were the following.
1. I was not a front line worker in the newly marketing oriented company and remained as Boss of the team.
2. Poor in HR management
3. Lack of expertise
4. and poor in fund management.
But certainly business idea was brilliant and at par with present Social networking in Internet.
1. Understand ground reality, which may be very different from the dream world you have created for yourself.
2. Understand the capabilities of your people and assign work accordingly. It is good to have a friendly environment; BUT, keep a fine balance between "tasks" and "relationships".
3. Keep focus on results through monitoring and follow-up.
Honestly,, I learned the hard way to separate yourself between business and friendships. Keep a distance from employees. When you cross the friendship line, everything in terms of leadership, management, discipline gets blurry...and very inconsistent to others on the same team. Nothing but trouble. Stay all business in the business, and you'll be fine.
Three questions to ask yourself and for you to ask your employees... Will it create sales? Will it create satisfaction? Will it create smiles?
I wrote a small article on this a while back, might help. Before starting to build a team it is imperative that the mindset is right for setting out on your own. It summarizes the biggest mistakes most people make when starting out with their own business. Its region centric (SA, SEA) but most of it would hold true for entrepreneurship in general.
Don't let it get you down though, longest journey begins with the first step. Just make sure you're prepared. All the best!
Define your vision, mission, values and goals for the company and share those with each new hire. This will help you attract those who share your passion and build a stronger team.
One of the most important things to do for employees is defining roles and responsibilities from the beginning .
1) Please be clear about role expectations up front when building the team - something like 40% of people that leave a new job leave within the first six months. It is presumed that this is because the "job" was not as expected.
2) Take the time to clarify assignments - no matter how crazy it gets. I have a recent blog on this topic - http://www.growthroughpeople.com/#!Delegation-Science-not-Art/c15i6/754F3F03-7B92-4F7C-93D7-8D75A27B4A9D
3) Listen - many "leaders" I have come across spend too much time talking.
4) There are some fairly predictable stages a company progresses through while growing. There are some steps you can take to mitigate this risk - see another of my blogs at http://www.growthroughpeople.com/#!The-Winds-of-Change-are-Forecasted-for-Startups/c15i6/898F7370-F670-4E2A-A9AC-8C717D1A4391
We have contracted employees. For me is when you have someone that says I want to come work for you and they say that they have their own business but not getting any business and they just want to learn from an expert. You teach them a few pointers and let them work on a wedding or event and then they do not fulfill their agreement to stay and leave after one event because they soak up all your ideas and go out on their own to do it whether right or wrong. Lesson learned: Signed non compete and if you have your own business, charge for my teaching
My biggest mistake, which I have repeated more than once, is keeping an employee longer than I should have to avoid the guilt of firing him/her. Whether it's for productivity or financial reasons, you have to make decisions that are in the best interest of the company. Dragging it out just prolongs the problem for everyone.
My other biggest mistake was not having a partnership contract outlining the responsibilities and expectations of each partner in a two-owner company I was a part of. We eventually worked the details out, of course, but the early years would have been a LOT easier with a contract. You never think you'll need it but you always do.
Weekly status updates are a must - a gold mine of productivity. These can be done through online task management software or by a simple email. Status updates keep every staffer and management team member on track and motivated. Have employees list what they have completed in the past week and what they plan to complete in the upcoming week. They should be a way of bragging about accomplishments and a motivational tool. If they turn into a source of whining or constant stress, there may be other issues at hand that need to be solved.
Find people who, in at least some important ways, are better than you and work out a creative, performance-oriented mode of compensation. It is difficult to build up a business on the backs of weak, poorly motivated individuals.
The 2 biggest things'I had to learn'were:
1. I must be clear of' my expectations and be able to articulate them in a manner that was understood by all. Just because I understood my vision did not mean they did.
I learned there are 4 core personalities and they all hear things differently. I just assumed everyone saw things the way i did. Boy was I wrong. Check out www.keirsey.com if you want to learn more about the basic personality types and how to lead them.
2.. Make sure your words mirror your actions.
Well, everything I've done to become a TV Success Story, #1 Author, & Professional Speaker/Trainer I've done without 'employees'. But, from the millionaires in my books and that I've spent time with, I've noticed that 1 of the MOST important factors for amazing success is to systemize as many important aspects of your business as you possibly can! These systemizing factors could be automation, steps your employees follow to do their tasks, or any number of other possibilities as well. But, point being, the more and better systems you have working for you and your business, the more reliable, strong, and profitable your business will likely be!
In my #1 Best-Seller 'Conversations with Millionaires' the amazingly brilliant millionaire Michael Gerber says "The system IS the solution" and I couldn't agree more!
In fact, some people have even said the steps to success inside 'Millionaire Money Formula' are a 'system' for creating new streams of income whenever you want! So, that may be helpful for people along these lines as well! Hope that's helpful!! :-)
#1 Best-Selling Author of 'Conversations with Millionaires', 'Conversations with Female Millionaires', 'Millionaire Money Formula', & '6-Figure Code'.
The biggest mistake is to lead by reaction. You and your should define what the core values of your team are...what motivates you to do what you are doing and then develop a plan around your business that provides guidelines for what each person needs to do. Develop Big Hairy Audacious Goals that drive the work of your team.
Rob is correct. Have a clear vision, convey it to your team. Keep it front of you and them at all times.
1. Hire people with passion, experience is secondary. They can have all the experience in the world but f they are set in their ways, you will spend too much valuable time trying to sway them.
2. Look for their strengths and build on that it is much easier to build your team than focusing on weaknesses. You will have enough fires to put out and you need people to develop efficiently. Oh and their is the true secret. If you want to build your business, build your people show them you value them, they will build the business. Share your vision teach them and learn from them.
Learn from your mistakes. Even with a detailed plan things happen. It's OK to make mistakes provided you learn from them and quick when you are building a business.
A meaning of a leader is, having a positive progressive and ethical influence on others.
A leader is one that leads his people working with them. Who inspires or lifts their people. You will get the most out of them. because they will want to work.
A manager is someone who makes people do things.directs and doesn't take the time to develop people. People will work for you because they have to. They will leave you as soon as the next things comes around. You'll end up with unnecessary turnover and headaches. So back to passion find people that want to do things because they are passionate. They will be committed to you. Best of success.
Two go hand-in-hand. 1.) Not clearly articulating the vision & core values of the company & 2.) Not holding others accountable for results and consistency with the company core values.
Hello Zack , Since you are building your team now its very important for you to make them stick to your company roles & regulations, timing, working hours, and performing duties on time. As long as they are in regular performance, It becomes their habit to do the work on time, be loyal to the company & their Manager with respect, then it goes forward at the same rate. One or two years later you will realize the importance of that.