That’s how you ended up a small business owner. Ok, admit it. You have always aspired to be a Superhero. That’s why when you were a little kid you read comics and watched cartoons. Recently you have watched many of the Superhero flicks. Inside of every small business owner definition is a Superhero. Superheroes are effective leaders.
You started your business to save the world. Only you can save customers as well as you; right? Then why are you suffering burnout? Why do you like Spiderman struggle to pay your bills? Why do you like Iron Man have a problem with getting help from others? Why do you like Batman have drama with your employees? You may be Wonder Woman, but you have issues too.
The point is that no small business owner Superhero is perfect; we all need some help. It all comes down to effective leadership.
Top Ten Feats of Business Superheros
Here are some pointers for you to make sure your business can support your, ahem, hobby:
1. Do what you love in business.
Otherwise, learn to love what you do. The biggest reason for small business owner failure is a lack of persistence. The biggest reason for not persevering is that entrepreneurs don’t love what they do. Spiderman is always struggling to make a buck taking photos, but he needs to remember that it’s all about the big purpose. He needs to learn how to negotiate; he could make a killing on those photographs. He needs to become his very best at earning a living. Love what you do or get some help.
2. Be “the man with the plan” in business.
That, of course, includes you Wonder Woman. Every Superhero has a plan. Develop clear long term and short term plans. The important elements of a plan include your vision, your values, and your mission, along with specific goals and daily actions.
3. “Lead, follow or get out of the way” is not an option.
Thomas Paine’s famous words will not help you save the world. Superheroes lead and take action! Once you have developed your plan, you must translate the plan into daily actions and activities. Keep taking a bite out of the “elephant” daily. You will eat the whole thing over time.
4. Tell your business story again and again to prospects.
Learn to say who you are, “I am Iron Man.” Your story for your prospects is the part of your Vision, Values, and Mission that eliminates your prospect’s pain and solves his problems. Develop and memorize at least three versions of your story: a 30-second version, a 5-minute version, and a 20-minute version. Tell your story to anyone that will listen.
5. Tell your business story again and again to everybody else.
Tell your story through meetings, memos, advertising, employee manuals, etc.
6. Listen first and then twice as much as you talk. Notice that all good Superheroes listen before they take action. Diagnose the problems first. Otherwise, you may save the wrong person.
7. Keep the main thing the main thing in your business.
Focus on what’s important. Decide at the beginning of every year what will be your primary focus. Keep yourself and your sidekicks focused on that thing during meetings, and throughout each day.
8. Know the score in your business.
Batman and Iron Man have their technology and instruments and they use them to keep score. Is your cash flow important? You better have a report. Do you use monthly financials to make decisions? You better start.
9. Never stop getting better in business.
Iron Man built a better suit. Batman built a better mansion. All business superheroes are constantly learning and growing. Don’t forget your team (sidekicks); they need to learn too!
10. Develop deep relationships with sidekicks and victims.
Know your villains (competition) well too! Customers are victims as long as the villain has captured their service. Start developing deep relationships with those you want to save. Make sure your sidekicks are happy and stay on your team.
My editor tells me that this adventure has to end. Do the above as a leader and soon you will be known by the world as the small business owner Superhero that you really are. The next time you need to make a decision, ask yourself what your favorite Superhero would do in your situation. Soon you will be able to say along with Superman about your business, “Up, Up and Away!”
In the next article, I will focus on Strategic Planning.
About the author:
Alan Melton is president of Small Business Coach & Associates. He and his team work with an amazing group of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and executives who are getting on the fast track to achieving their personal goals. Alan has started ten businesses and acquired six more. Recognized by two U.S. presidents, Alan is a nationally known speaker, author, and award-winning business leader.
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