Written by: Anza Goodbar, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Over the past 20 years of helping clients grow their businesses, I have discovered that starting a business is one thing, but succeeding as an entrepreneur requires a unique set of leadership skills. In the words of renowned entrepreneur and Princeton University Professor of Entrepreneurship, Dr. Derek Lidow, "Anyone can start a business, but only leaders succeed."
Success in the entrepreneurial world is not just about tactical knowledge; it's deeply personal and rooted in one's ability to lead effectively. In my coaching practice, we address these five foundational entrepreneurial leadership skills. It is my goal in this article to encourage aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to self-assess and embark on an exciting journey of self-improvement.
The cornerstone of effective entrepreneurial leadership is self-awareness. Do you truly "know yourself"? This involves recognizing your unique giftedness, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Successful entrepreneurs understand that self-awareness is the cornerstone of their success journey.
One of my favorite tools to use is John Maxwell’s book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth to help assess the gaps in self-leadership. This is a book I recommend to all of my clients, and it is a resource I reread every year. Each time I read it, I get a new nugget of wisdom to apply to my own growth journey.
Each chapter has questions to help you assess how well you comprehend your personal qualities and capabilities. It helps you:
Create a strategy to get better at what you do
Improve your relationships
Gain more depth and wisdom as a person
Gain more insights into your Gaps
Create a strategy to move through life’s ups and downs
Entrepreneurial leaders must have a deep understanding of how their businesses operate. This involves a comprehensive grasp of the enterprise's projects, processes, and organizational culture. Have you taken the time to examine your business systems and how well your people are aligned with your mission? To be an effective leader, you need to be aware of the expectations your enterprise and its stakeholders have of you.
90% of the clients who come to us for help don’t have a Business Plan or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place. These fundamental tools are valuable in onboarding and training, critical for quality control, and crucial for creating a consistent customer experience. Team members will perform better with a clear set of procedures to follow.
Satisfying stakeholders requires a well-structured and up-to-date Business Plan that serves as a roadmap for the organization's success. This comprehensive document not only outlines the company's financial goals, including revenue projections and expense management but also delineates a clear marketing plan that identifies target markets, competitive strategies, and promotional activities. Moreover, a Business Plan should include a well-defined growth strategy, demonstrating the company's vision for expansion, diversification, and innovation. Such a plan not only instills confidence in investors and shareholders but also ensures that the business stays focused on its objectives and remains agile in an ever-evolving market landscape. By keeping all stakeholders informed and aligned with a well-documented Business Plan, the organization can more effectively deliver on its promises and secure the support and trust of its investors, partners, and employees.
Evaluating these fundamental elements is the first step in aligning your business strategy with your leadership approach. If you find that you don’t have a grasp on the inner workings of your business, pause and recognize that flying by the seat of your pants will only take you so far. If you’re really ready to scale, take into account what Marshall Goldsmith says: “What got you here won’t get you there.”
Successful entrepreneurs recognize the intricate web of relationships that underpins their teams and businesses. These relationships are characterized by shared objectives, which individuals experience through cooperation, competition, or strategic retreat. Ask yourself:
How well do you understand the dynamics of these relationships within your team and business?
Are you proactively creating, structuring, and managing these relationships?
Your ability to build meaningful connections with others is a testament to your leadership prowess. Furthermore, effective communication skills are paramount in strengthening these bonds. Evaluate your communication style and its impact on the relationships within your entrepreneurial ecosystem. 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals, while written for realtors, is an excellent tool to enhance your communication and relationship-building skills.
A thriving business hinges on motivated and engaged team members. As an entrepreneurial leader, how well do you comprehend the principles of motivation? The success of your enterprise is intrinsically tied to the people who contribute to it. Unlocking the full potential of your team lies in the ability to cultivate feelings of mastery, purpose, inclusion, and autonomy among its members. The art of motivation is multifaceted and dynamic, and your leadership journey should encompass a deep understanding of what inspires and drives your team. Evaluate your strategies for motivating others and make adjustments where necessary. Try these 5 simple ways to motivate your team:
Set clearly defined goals and expectations
Recognize and reward achievements
Provide and encourage personal and professional development opportunities
Develop a positive work environment and culture
Encourage autonomy and innovation
Remember that effective motivation requires a personalized approach. Understand the unique needs and preferences of your team members to tailor your motivational strategies accordingly. Regularly communicate with your team, solicit feedback, and be responsive to their concerns to maintain a motivated and engaged workforce.
Change is an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial journey. To succeed as a leader, you must possess the knowledge and skills to initiate and sustain change effectively. There are five prerequisites for successful change implementation: comprehension, motivation, skills, resources, and communication. Are you well-versed in these components of change leadership? Change is often met with resistance, and it's the role of an entrepreneurial leader to guide their team through transitions seamlessly. Assess your ability to lead change within your enterprise and pinpoint areas for improvement. One of the best ways to help your team adjust to change and get their buy-in is to communicate your vision. This involves clearly articulating the benefits of the change, such as improved efficiency, better collaboration, and enhanced project outcomes. The conversation should emphasize the positive impact on both individual employees and the overall success of the company.
Mastering these five essential entrepreneurial leadership skills does not guarantee your success, but it certainly equips you with the tools needed for your entrepreneurial journey. Self-awareness, enterprise basics, relationship building, motivating others, and leading change are the building blocks of entrepreneurial success. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, reflect on these skills and continuously work to develop and refine them. The entrepreneurial road may be challenging, but with the right leadership skills, it can become a fulfilling and transformative journey. Embrace the process, enjoy the ride, and watch your entrepreneurial dreams turn into successful enterprises.
Are you ready to scale your business? Reach out to our team and discover how we can help you increase your leadership skills and develop a growth strategy to take your business to the next level: click here.
Anza Goodbar, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Anza Goodbar is a passionate business consultant and events strategist with over 20 years of small business ownership experience. She has a proven track record of planning and executing more than 4,000 successful events, generating over $100 million in revenue for her clients. Anza firmly believes in the power of strong leadership as an essential tool for business success and solving bigger problems. She helps small business owners harness the potential of live events to build their brand, establish long-lasting relationships, and increase revenue. Her commitment to creating personalized strategies has led to numerous businesses reaching new heights.