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.
Small business owners have to deal with reality. You cannot solve a problem by ignoring it. Bad news will not get better with age. An open culture means being open to honest feedback of any kind, whether positive or negative. Mistakes are ok, but you have to recognize them and move on.
It’s not use to be afraid of failing. Everyone fails. The difference is how you respond to adversity and failure. Successful people get up, think about what happened, identify ways to get better, and use that knowledge to succeed the next time. Do you see failure as an obstacle, or an opportunity?
Do you ever wonder how people at the top got to where they are? The answer is simple: hard work and fundamentals. It can be tempting to look for a shortcut to success, but the only route to lasting, sustainable success is through perseverance and a focus on getting the basics.
Small Biz Club is the premier destination for small business owners and entrepreneurs. To succeed in business, you have to constantly learn about new things, evaluate what you’re doing, and look for ways to improve—that’s what we’re here to help you do.