Why are small businesses such a powerhouse in the economy?
One of the ingredients is that successful small businesses are run by people with passion. Small business owners believe in what they are doing, and they love doing it. They are brimming with ideas.
At heart, most small business people feel that they were born to make a difference in the world – to make the world a better place. The small business owner is obsessed with succeeding in making that difference and reaping the rewards that they deserve for both themselves and for the people around them.
They do what it takes to make something happen – the long hours, the heartache, the joy, the desperation, the failure, the success and the elation. These people experience the full range of human emotion in the pursuit of their dream. They are the true believers.
How then can the small business consultant contribute to the small business owner’s success?
The answer is that the small business consultant must know how to help the small business owner learn to think strategically and thereby gain clarity, focus and direction. Such results are possible only when the consultant keeps three critical factors in mind:
– While passion is often a key ingredient, a small business cannot run on passion alone
– The small business person must make good strategic decisions
– A successful small business person works hard
A Small Business Cannot Run on Passion Alone
Passion is critical in small business, but it must be channeled and directed. Single-minded focus is gained only by going through a deep thinking, soul-searching process that delivers a clear sense of Mission, Vision and Values.
This process must occur at the personal level and then be reflected in the business itself, through words that spell out the Mission, Vision and Values in easily understood language.
These words become the primary essence of the business. For the small business person, these statements spell out their beliefs and assumptions about their business and inform everything that they think, say and do.
Every morning, when the successful small business person gets out of bed, it is with a real sense of purpose, namely, to fulfill his or her Mission.
Their Mission, Vision and Values are well understood within their business, and they are the critical clauses of the employment contract that everyone in the business signs up for.
Mission, Vision and Values inform and shape all business policy development and the processes and measures that are put in place to ensure disciplined execution.
Making Good Strategic Decisions
Once the value base of the business is defined, it must be aligned with good strategic decisions.
Strategy Formulation is critical for success in small business. It is the thinking that this exercise generates that delivers high performing action, sustainable outcomes and lasting results.
The effective small business consultant takes the small business owner through a process of thinking that ensures that the nature and the direction of the business are fully understood. The critical issues for action are identified and priorities are set.
Agreed actions must then be written down, so that they cascade from the strategic level to all the operational streams of the business. Everyone in the business must know what part they play in achieving the strategic goals.
Remember, small business people are energized by the demands put on them in the moment. This is because they are people of action. However, this can be a problem when they are under too much pressure. They can become overwhelmed by the clamor of present demands, and they often fail to have a planned approach.
Working to a well constructed small business plan, based in good strategic thought and decision making, relieves the pain of the frenetic pace and worries of the day to day.
By paying attention to the important things that further their strategic goals, the successful small business person gains the right perspective on immediate and urgent sounding distractions. Business development and risk management are all addressed, when the small business owner works to a plan.
One of the important things that the small business person must have clear in their minds is everything to do with their customers. They must know who they are. They must know what they need. They must know where they are and how they are going to be reached. They must know their own capabilities in being able to deliver what their customers want.
They must know the gaps in their own business that must be addressed to achieve high yielding results.
When all their capabilities are analyzed at depth, the small business owner has the information he or she needs to make the decisions that will secure the future of the business. The small business consultant must ensure this is the case.
A Successful Small Business Person Works Hard
When the small business owner is clear about his or her Mission and Vision, and is behaving in keeping with a well defined set of values, hard work is not an issue. Working to a well conceived plan generates sufficient enthusiasm that even small gains become immensely gratifying.
Quality of thinking, combined with good decisions and focused action, evoke the work ethic that creates momentum and delivers outstanding results. Small business owners are energized and become even more motivated when they are in touch with their own value base.
They feel in control when they have a good plan in place that they can work to. This is because they are paying attention to the right things, in the right way, and they can see that they are making progress.
Passion, aligned with good decision making at the strategic level, puts them in control of their business and makes them feel alive. It puts them on the path of never-ending improvement, both personally and in their business.