7 tips to succeed in leadership and entrepreneurship
Starting out in the business world is full of big decisions. By going it alone and setting up your own company you take significant risks that may not always work out, while taking on a leadership or strategic development role in an existing firm comes with expectations and dangers of its own.
Either way, your job is to take a business and make it grow, and then keep making it better. But once you manage to get your foot in the door, how do you become a successful leader?
To make a business successful It’s essential you know how best to optimise your leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities. We’ve outlined a few important tips that will help you get ahead.
Build a solid network
Get used to networking and hone your skills so that you can build a rapport quickly. Making time to attend industry events, going to meetings in person and connecting with possible contacts online is a vital part of success - that’s how you meet possible employers, clients, partners and investors. On a personal level, it’s also beneficial for finding mentors who can offer support and advice.
Beyond meeting business contacts, expend some effort on getting to know your colleagues at every level of the company. This will make it easier to encourage and manage them. Even so, strike a balance – you need to be respected, and it’s hard to make tough or unpopular decisions when you’re leading people who see you as a friend.
Promote the right culture
As a leader, you set the tone of the working environment. Make sure that you lead by example and foster openness, transparency and honesty. That means making yourself available to listen to staff when they come to you with ideas or concerns and investing time in talking to them. Take what they have to say on board and follow it up as appropriate.
Don’t be scared to make unpopular decisions
It may fall to you to make decisions that will not be welcomed by others. Often there are reasons for this, and you should always think carefully about their concerns. But if you know it’s the right decision, don’t be afraid to be unpopular. That said, it’s always better to persuade people to cooperate than to force ideas on them from above, so be prepared to work hard to bring them on side.
Take calculated risks
Many of the best long-term decisions will involve a higher level of risk and if you don’t take them, your business can easily stagnate and lose its edge. Always do plenty of research and manage risk as best you can, but never be frightened to take a leap of faith. It might be the best decision you ever make.
All plans can go wrong, but if things don’t work out, don’t be put off – learn your lesson and try again. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true that you can learn more from failure than success, and often that’s what will allow you to achieve your goal in the end. Plenty of successful people had to lose before they won.
Don’t assume that every venture will lead to massive returns in a few short months. Be honest with yourself and others about what is realistically achievable – not only does this establish your reputation as a person of integrity, but it also means that you’ll be taken more seriously as a businessperson and leader.
<Image credit: Joi Ito / Some rights reserved>