Follow the Leader:
How the Growth Chain Works

score Question:
I'm a new business owner and having trouble keeping my employees' minds on their work, which is selling our computer products and services. The spend more time fiddling with the computers and ignore the customers.

What makes a business grow? Leadership.

The leadership and vision of the entrepreneur lights the way for business success. You and your employees follow the course you have set for the business. Be sure that you lead by example when it comes to working hard, valuing lifelong learning and appreciating employees' contributions. Your personal attitudes influence those around you.

Some people just love their chosen occupation and nothing makes them happier than doing a good job. They enjoy meeting and helping people. These owners are enthusiastic and positive around everyone, especially customers and employees. People want to be surrounded by positive people.

A leader who may not be charismatic but is positive draws positive response from everyone. A positive outlook can help develop a can-do attitude among employees and will generate a feeling of good will among customers.

Many successful business people participate in lifelong learning theough personal and professional activities. Entrepreneurs who are open to new ideas and ways of doing things have the best chance for success.

The willingness and ability to respond to change are a competitive advantage in business, large or small. For the adept entrepreneur, this means quicker adjustments in products and services so the company is delivering exactly what consumers want when they want it.

Owners have a vested interest, personal and professional, in the success of their business. Extend that interest to the employees who can help get the job done.

The company's success depends on its leadership -- and an important part of the leadership is valuing employees so they work not only for a pyacheck, but for job satisfaction. Offering fair wages, good working conditions and opportunities for advancement help you attain and retain qualified employees.

Successful owners are optimistic about where their business is going and have a clear picture of the results they want. The business leader is able to "paint the picture" for this employees so they can share in the vision and become more vested in the company's success. That same owner projects his or her sense of confidence, which reassures employees and customers, that this is a stable and successful business.

The owner needs to spend time with employees in the training, planning and implementing process. And the employees need to buy into the plans to get the optimum benefit.

Many owners do not share this with the employees. As a result, the employees do only what they can see, the task at hand. Get them involved so they can share your enthusiasm for the business.

There is power in positive thinking. There is power in leading by example and motivating those around you.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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