How to Start/Grow a Business

How to Start/Grow a Business

By: Samanthe Bosket

Lead Consultant, Samanthe Bosket Consulting

When I started my Consulting business I was not ready. I thought that I started way to early, but then good things started to happen and I realized that it would never be the right time. I sat down and decided to just do it. Here’s a few things that helped me start my business.

  1. Create a Business Plan

I did not do this. It is recommended by professionals everywhere and some professionals think it is totally ridiculous, but it depends on the type of business you are starting. If you plan on starting a business that requires a business loan, then you may have to complete this step, but if you are providing a service, like consulting, its better to just jump in. Now I did plenty of research, checked legal requirements, got an EIN number, looked into getting into the local chamber of commerce (I’ll come back to this). The more you think about starting a business the more doubt you’ll put into your head. It is definitely one of those things you just need to start and work on each day.

2. Start Marketing

Marketing is essential. Make a T-Shirt, make flyers, bumper stickers, postcards, start a blog, etc. Marketing is how you get the word out about your business, there is no doubting that it is effective. When marketing, creative and different ways to engage people into your business help to spread the word. Start a running/walking/biking group, host an art function (even if it is just coloring sessions with others at the library), support a local food bank, etc. There are many ways to market your business just make sure you logo everything, even if your logo is just your company name.

3. Start Simple

Nothing says, “I know what I’m doing,” than a business with simple goals, services or merchandise. Every business has big plans, but the simpler you start your business the easier it is to articulate the business to others. If you start a consulting business, you might want to focus on one or two things, like leadership, business planning, or employee relations. This gives you something to talk about when talking to potential customers/clients.

4. Be your Genuine Self

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen business owners lose themselves trying to get different clients/customers. Most people can tell when you are genuinely behind what you are selling, and if you are not it could hurt your business. Being genuine and providing great service/products is the best way to keep your business afloat. (Like adding pictures of teddy bears to your business blogs, its different but I like it!)

5. Create a Daily Log

Knowing where you are at the end of each day is important to starting and growing a business. If you keep a record of everything you do, the data you collect can help you see where you go wrong or go right. A log of your activities, even if it is one thing can help boost your own morale and reinforce your mission to yourself.

The first five steps are essential, but creating a daily log can help navigate through each business activities. If you are interested in using my Daily log created in excel and available for free by request, fill out the form below and one will be sent to you.

                   (How to Start/Grow a Business: To Be Continued…December  2, 2017)

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Leadership Style and Audience

When creating a business and trying to formulate a plan, leadership style is important. Situational leadership focuses on a leader not only directing followers to achieve goals but by a leader analyzing a situation and determining if directing or supporting followers is more appropriate for the situation (Northouse, 2016, pg. 93). Situational leadership is one of many approaches that should be considered when communicating with any audience.

This has been an effective leadership approach for me as a leader because every situation requires its own thought provoking attention. When there is a follower needing support in a repetitive job environment, leaders should immediately adapt from a directive style to a supportive style of leadership in order to accommodate the needs of the followers. Follower needs are important to creating high productivity and creating a hostile-free environment where an employee feels empowered to make decisions and bring concerns to the attention of leaders.

While this approach to leadership works for me currently, creating a systematic method of communicating requires leaders to have a changing set of skills. A transformational leader which is related to a situational leader in that both approaches focus on the needs of the followers and motivates all followers in an effective manner. “Transformational leadership is the process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower,” (Northouse, 2016, pg. 162). This way of leading not only focuses on how the leader can create a productive environment but how a leader can make a difference in how followers see their everyday tasks. This type of leadership builds on every approach to leadership because a leader needs to be able to influence others to create a strategy to satisfy the needs of the organization in all its totality (Barrett, 2014, pg. 4).

The purpose of an organization should help alleviate the gap in how educated small business owners are in their legal and ethical requirements to their followers. The transformational approach to leadership helps the leader understand not only what leaders need and how a leader should accomplish goals, but how follower’s needs and processes are important for each daily task. The followers recruited to the organization will be leaders of their tasks and business leaders sometimes forget about the relationships they are supposed to be building with their followers. Motivating followers should be the first step to accomplishing goals.

The primary audience is the small business owners requesting services for follower motivation and goal achievement. The secondary audience will be the employees of the advising company because these employees will help to spread the knowledge to the small business owners and embody the goals of transformational leadership. The third audience, indirectly affected, will be the followers of the small business owners who will be the source of all topics and the ones directly affected by the changes of their leaders. The accidental audience is the individuals the small business leaders will discuss their new and old practices with once they are through with learning new ways of motivating employees.

Tailoring the message to the first audience will mean a medium of meetings with the purpose of informing, influencing and engaging. This audience will be treated as nonexperts/experts because they are established business owners, they have a feel of their leadership style, but since they are seeking assistance it is logical to assume they do not know everything. The second audience will be treated as experts in some situations, but when learning about new ways of doing influencing will be treated as nonexperts. The second audience will be working directly with the leader of the advising company and will be knowledgeable in the field, but when the leader needs to communicate anything to these followers the medium will range from meetings, E-mail, reports, memos, and procedures. Organizational devices will mainly involve deduction, which starts with the conclusion, and induction, which starts with supporting information, (Barrett, 2014, pg. 43).

This is just the beginning stages of the leadership communication strategy. The transformational leadership approach requires a leader to know how to motivate followers and to motivate leaders as well. Knowing how to motivate and inspire others is key to succeeding in any leadership role, but a firm strategy and acknowledgment of resources and audiences is also necessary for success. More than one approach to leadership is necessary for there to be continually success in any business or personal situation, and an authentic leader will know when each approach is appropriate.

 

References

Barrett, D. (2014). Leadership Communication (Fourth Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Northouse, P. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.