What’s the most important ingredient in building a successful startup?
You might get a lot of answers, but the one you’ll see most often is leadership. When you’re just getting your business online you need leadership. But many guides like this talk about leadership as if every entrepreneur has it. That’s just not true.
So, what should you do if you don’t have any leadership skills?
You Do Have Leadership Skills
First-time entrepreneurs often say they don’t have any leadership skills. But think about your path in life and you might be surprised to find that you have demonstrated leadership before. The fact that you’re standing here right now on the cusp of running your own business demonstrates extraordinary courage, bravery, and leadership.
You’ve already taken the first steps to becoming a leader.
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There are two ways leaders learn to become leaders. First, they run their company with the intention of becoming a successful freelancer or businessperson. They fail and they pick themselves up from those costly mistakes. The process could take years.
OR there’s an alternative.
Teach yourself before you make those mistakes. Read the biographies of people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Approach industry influencers and ask them for help. Even if you can’t get some direct teaching you can just watch what they do. You’ll learn a lot.
Treat Leadership as You Would Treat Business
You may have read before that you need to take some time out of your schedule to review your startup’s progress. You’ll sit down with your team and identify areas of weakness. Then you’ll come up with a plan for how to address those weaknesses. So why wouldn’t you do the same thing with leadership?
The only way you’re going to strengthen your leadership skills is by identifying your weaknesses and doing something about them. We always say that one of the startup costs you should never cut is mentorship. Be willing to pay for first-class membership.
You may communicate with your mentor once per week and meet with them once per month. But an experienced hand can make a huge difference to your life.
But Won’t You Pick It Up as You Go Along?
With most business functions, you’ll pick things up as you go along. A lot of the time you’ll be making big mistakes, and those mistakes could bring down your company. By all means, experiment with your online marketing budget or posting different things on social media, but leadership mistakes can destroy startups.
We say that you will pick a lot of things up through experience. Conscious education will enable you to address the big mistakes, however. They will stop you from committing grave errors that could threaten your company.
What Should You Aim For?
Consistency is what you should aim for. This works for every aspect of your business. When creating an omnichannel approach to marketing you aim for consistency. When aiming for crafting a brand that sells, you aim for consistency. When looking at great customer service, you aim for consistency.
It’s not the degree of leadership that matters. Anyone can display great leadership one day and then terrible leadership the next day. You want to make it clear to your team what they can expect from you. That makes it easier to work around your flaws. It also makes it simpler to identify where changes must be made and what you need to focus on.
Look to demonstrate leadership every single day. At the end of the week look back on your performance and review it. Write down what you did well and where you could have made changes.
Last Word – How Will You Get Better at Leadership?
Leadership is an important aspect of running a successful startup. Make it one of your main priorities and over time you’re sure to see the fruits of your labors. Bring in some outside help and learn from the best. Those entrepreneurs who humble themselves will always be more successful than those who assume they already know it all.
What are you going to do to make sure that your leadership skills are up there with the best of them?