For any business to succeed, you have to build a team that works together. That team includes you as the business owner, any employees you have, your vendors, your partners—everyone who is part of running your business. When it comes to building that team, although talent is important, a cohesive group that sticks together is the number one priority.
In any business, the people we hire make a huge difference. The right people in the right spots at the right time can push you to new heights, while a bad hire can set you back. A great asset as you organize your business for growth is building around entrepreneurial employees.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the most enduring, inspiring figures in American history. His popularity is unwavering, and is as high as ever thanks to Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln. Every president aspires to be like Lincoln, but they shouldn’t be the only ones. The life and career of President Lincoln has plenty of great business lessons.
As any business ages and grows, it will change. You don’t always do things the same way you did as a startup. The quest for innovation and new approaches to problems often gradually give way to a focus on incremental improvements and doing what you’ve always done, just a little bit better. This problem is part of what is widely known as The Innovator’s Dilemma, after the title of the book by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen.
What will happen to your business after you retire? Most small business owners want their companies to survive after they leave, but only a small fraction of businesses actually manage to last into a second generation. To make it, you need an effective succession plan.
A culture that encourages and rewards growth can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you build an organization, the right emphases and values can be a strong factor for growth. It requires every member of the team, from top to bottom, to buy into the right principles and beliefs.
Any time you get a group of people together, there are bound to be misunderstandings and disagreements. How you handle these situations is important for a strong corporate culture. The Reasonable Person Principle is a simple but effective approach to building a culture of trust.
Encouraging independent thinking among your team members will generate new ideas and give everyone a stake in your business’s success. To make it happen, you must be willing to listen and engage with everyone, taking advantage of the different experiences and perspectives of your team members.
Do you know what your business stands for? Do your team members? Do your customers? A great corporate culture is an important contributor to a business’s success, and documenting your philosophy is a foundational step. Then you need to communicate it to everyone and make sure you uphold it.
Your corporate culture is only as strong as the people you put on your team. And when you have just a few employees, each one is even more important. When it comes time to hire, make sure to look at how potential employees fit with your culture just as much as you look at skills and experience.