It doesn’t matter what size your business is, whether you are going it alone or are managing a decent sized team, leadership will play a significant role in your success. I have spoken to a number of solo operators who believe that leadership doesn’t apply to them, they don’t have followers so who could they lead?

The answer is; themselves, their suppliers, their customers and in time the potential staff members as their business grows.

As a solo entrepreneur, chances are that you have more in common with the person running a large company than you’d think. There are many aspects of business that are common to all organisations regardless of their size. They need systems, procedures, management… and leadership.

Small business has a high failure rate in Australia, particularly at the smaller end of the spectrum. Developing and practising strong leadership skills can drastically increase the likelihood that a business will succeed.

Although often used interchangeably, management and leadership are two very different things. Many Business owners manage their business, but only strong leaders will do the following:

Give Direction
Leadership should come before management, it sets the direction your business will take. Once the strategic leadership has established the short and long term goals for the business, the steps involved in reaching those goals come in to play can then be managed. Without strong leadership, regardless of the size of the business, it is almost impossible to see the big picture.

Steer the course
Most small business owners began with a vision of what they wanted to achieve. They had an idea of where they wanted to be, how big, what turn over etc. Like big business, without leadership it is difficult to stay on track. Managing a business ensures that the day to day tasks are done, as a leader you will keep the vision and purpose in mind at all times and ensure you are working towards it. The direction a business is going in only makes sense if you know where you are going.

Bring sustainable development
The role of the leader is to step away from management and the smaller detail to keep the bigger picture in mind. The development of the business and people involved is vital on the road to success. Leadership is a dynamic process, situations change, adaptability and increasing knowledge will make a difference when challenges arise. Practising leadership gives you the opportunity to think and plan strategically with an overall view of how your business is performing in relation to the vision and longer term goals.

Keeping the role of leadership in mind can prevent a business owner from getting lost in the many tasks that must be done to meet the many obligations and commitments they face on a daily basis.

Taking a little time each day to think of yourself as a leader and review the strategic management of your business will give you a much clearer picture on how well you and your business are doing. Once you have reviewed the big picture of your business you can then switch to manager and zoom in on the smaller details. It won’t take long for you to be able to switch from leader to manager with ease.
As a leader it’s your job to keep the big picture in mind, as a manager it’s your job to make sure that all tasks in your business are taking steps towards that big picture.
This basic rule is vital, no matter what size your business is.