effective communication makes you more influential
communication, influential

Effective Communication 4 Tips to Become a More Influential Business Owner

There’s something about owning a business that makes some owners cringe with anxiety.

While cash flow and employee challenges are cringe worthy, there’s one essential business skill that when left undeveloped can leave your entire business operation strained.

The skill I’m speaking of is your ability to communicate clearly and effectively to those supporting you. It’s your ability to become more influential for your business.

After all, you 're NOT telepathic, and nobody can read your mind!

How you communicate as a business leader and how often you communicate are variables that can be improved if you want to lead your business to the next stage of growth. It’s great communication from you as the leader that will rally others to support you and your business.

You run the risk of your business becoming stuck

You know the feeling when despite best efforts income fails to grow, problems arise that eat up your time, and most days you're simply trying to keep up with all you’re responsible for.

It’s natural for a business to reach a plateau and become stuck. The challenge for you is whether you have a plan for growth, and if you’ve communicated it effectively to those who can help it achieve growth.

It begs the question: What exactly do I have in mind for my business going forward?

I bet using that question as a writing prompt you could quickly rattle off several sentences on your thoughts for the future. You might try doing that right now if you haven’t before.

It’s these visions you have as a business owner that will keep you from ever becoming stuck as a business. By simply making the time to jot down strategic ideas and defining a plan of action, your chances of becoming stuck are reduced dramatically.

Like it or not your passion, your values, your work ethic, the person you are, is reflected in the business you operate. You are the one thing connected to everything else in the business. 

But if you are unable to communicate clearly and frequently about what you have in mind for your business, it leaves those supporting you wondering what the future holds for them. It can unfortunately lead to people doing the best they can with what they know. Then if it’s not meeting your expectations, it’s because you weren’t clear in providing the desired direction.

Employees feeling indifferent

Lack of communication leaves your employees feeling indifferent about their work. Employee indifference is not a good look for your customers either.

All because communicating isn’t something you like to do. You find it uncomfortable, and even useless when others don’t deliver the desired result you actually keep in your head and never make clear. All because making your feelings known, and providing clear direction induce anxiety. 

By and large, your employees and others supporting you in your business are there because they want to make a contribution to your business. They are also choosing you when they join your business.

Yet some business owners don’t understand the fact that all employees, and especially new employees, need frequent communication if they are going to consistently meet the high expectations of the owner.

It's essential for you to speak your mind

You can’t let the anxiety of speaking your mind to your employees about your expectations, purpose, values and goals get in the way of leading your business to greater heights. If those supporting you are going to make a contribution to your business they NEED to know the particulars of why your business exists in the first place. If it’s clear to you it can easily be made clear to them.

This is about you building influence as a business leader. It’s an essential skill every owner must embrace to become a great leader for their business.

As customers and employees come and go, you and your close advisors remain the constant that allows your well prepared businesses to survive the challenges.

I believe every business owner has the ability to design and cultivate a culture around their business that attracts their ideal customers and employees. It’s not easy, but when done well you have a business that feels connected through and through.

4 tips towards becoming more influential for your business: 

1. Cultivate Business Culture By Design

Culture is often created through the actions of the business owner which means you do influence the culture of your business. You can also make it a negative place to work. Simple awareness of this is crucial, and from there you can create a business culture of your own design. What kind of culture or vibe do you have at your workplace?

2. Define Roles and Responsibilities

This should come as a no-brainer for most, yet there's too many times where there's a lack of clarity which creates friction within your business. Roles and responsibilities need to be clear and documented in order to avoid confusion and friction. When you recognize this as the business leader you put people in the right position to succeed in their roles.

3. Set Clear Expectations

Many times this is a case of the business leader thinking they've given clear direction, yet the outcome wasn't what was expected. Setting expectations covers a wide range from showing up on time to how one interacts with customers. Many expectations are established within the culture of the business. Others, like production objectives, have specific goals and are demonstrated in the numbers.

4. Establish a Consistent Meeting Rhythm

Not having meetings, thinking they are a waste of time, is an excuse for you not to prepare for a meeting. This simplest way for you to be heard by all responsible parties is to conduct short, well-run, meetings consistently. You turn this into a rhythm by making it the same day/time each week. It also means you have a deadline to get your thoughts prepared. Effective meetings are essential to success.

Be sure to Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss articles as I unpack how to use The PACE Principle to become a better leader for your business.

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lessons for business owners business maintenance
analytical, efficient, influential, strategic

A Supreme Transformation And Its 5 Lessons for Business Owners

Whether a business or a boat, as anything ages - and yet is still well maintained - it retains much of its value. But when not maintained, underlying problems are sure to exist. This provides a valuable lesson for business owners.

A Boat and Operating a Business

I grew up in my teens as a competitive water skier. My favorite event was water ski jumping, and I was actually pretty good. I could land some pretty long jumps, and I also took a few spectacular crashes. That was over 40 years ago, and I can still sense the thrill of flying when watching from the sidelines. I remain a water skier still to this day, and here's why.

A friend in Ohio who owned a ski boat, that I have since named the Supreme, called asking me if I’d be interested in buying the boat, as is, at a low cost. We already had plans to travel to Ohio for a football game, and so I agreed sight unseen. It wasn’t until the Supreme arrived at its new home in North Carolina that I could really assess what I bought. The good news: I owned a boat and was going to be skiing again. The bad news: the boat needed a bunch of work to bring it back to standards. (If you’re honest, you’ve sometimes felt this way about your business too. Do you have a good business, but it’s not up to your high standards?)

This story is about what I learned in bringing the Supreme back to near showroom standards. It’s full of lessons for business owners whose business aren’t meeting the expectations they have for it.

Boat Restoration and Business Growth
Maintaining Your Business Like Boat Restoration
Maintaining Your Business Like Maintaining a Boat

5 Lessons for Business Owners

If your business isn't meeting the expectations you have for it, there's a high probability there are areas of your business that aren’t properly maintained. They may have been ignored, or mismanaged. This often happens when a business owner doesn't know what to do, or have enough time to address an issue.

Assessing the Supreme, I found it was operational, which I had expected. The engine is a V8 car engine modified for marine use. An early challenge was finding a mechanic willing and able to work on an older engine. This was especially true because that engine was in a boat. I’m not an engine guy, and I was able to find the support I needed.

Lesson #1 for Business Owners: Find people more knowledgeable than you in specific areas.

As I cleaned the inside hull and interior of the boat, I uncovered all kinds of issues. I could have punted and sold the boat for something more than what I paid. Or I could have decided the project was worth the effort and learned what’s needed.

Lesson #2 for Business Owners: Discern whether the project is go, or no-go; NO may be the best answer.

Stop now and think about a project where you had to learn something new because doing so was worth the effort. You have to be careful when deciding though. It’s too easy for projects to suck you in that don’t significantly impact your business.

Have you uncovered issues that you ignored or mismanaged due to not knowing what to do? Or thinking it’s a project that will take too much time? Make the time to find a project that is essential to your business. Then create a routine around moving it forward.  

Lesson #3: There is always time for the most important things in your business.

I’ve been practicing as a business advisor for 20 years. I know for fact that I have ignored or mismanaged aspects of my business. I can also see it also in most other businesses I’ve had contact with.

It’s natural. As business owners alone, we can’t do everything our business needs to operate at a high standard and still exceed our expectations. However, we can do what’s most important for our business even if it’s maintaining what you’ve created.

Lesson #4: Prevention is a great approach to boat and business maintenance.

As anything ages, it needs to be well maintained if it is going to retain its value. We know this about our health. We know this about our homes, and our cars. We know this about our relationships. We schedule appointments with experts in their fields to have all of these maintained.

Yet nagging issues in our business can fester into open wounds that lead to infection and more.

Why does this happen? Most often it is because the owner was lax in their oversight. When initially brought to their attention, the issue wasn’t serious enough to warrant action. Then when it became obvious there was a larger issue, and no immediate solution, it became urgent and put demands on the time they didn't have in the first place to address it.

Lesson #5: Assess and discover - be curious enough to find the problem and fix it.

When I first lifted the engine cover on the Supreme, I was shocked. It had obviously been leaking or spraying oil for quite some time. The inside of the hull had oil sludge all over the place - I mean everywhere. Even though I’m not an engine guy, I know that sort of issue is a fairly simple fix when caught early through regular inspection and maintenance. 

I performed the nasty clean-up job myself so I could search for any other maintenance issues. Then I let the mechanic fix the oil leaks and tune the engine.

You may be an owner leading a small business that requires you to be involved in most of the tasks and sometimes do the clean-up yourself. In that case you also need to become good at assessing and discovering. You need to develop the skill of uncovering issues detrimental to your business early. You also need the skills to quickly uncover opportunities when they appear to enhance and grow your business.

I have been guiding business owners through their journeys for 20 years. I understand and know what it's like to wear all the hats, and make the difficult decisions.

From my learnings and experience I created an original business model called The PACE Principle. In it, I identify 4 essential areas where every business owner needs to focus in order to become a stronger leader for their business.

The PACE Principle guides business owners on their journey of becoming more proficient leaders for their business. The model’s structure forms a foundation that EVERY business needs: an owner who leads by being Strategic, Analytical, Efficient, and Influential.

The value of The PACE Principle for business owners is that it delivers a simple approach to those seeking something new in how they become better leaders and attain greater business results. It guides them through becoming more Strategic, Analytical, Efficient and Influential for their business.

Be sure to Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss Part 2 of the story of the Supreme and its lessons for business owners as it goes through its transformation.

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