Challenges of Small Business Owners.
Edith found herself running her late husband’s haulage company a male dominated industry in trucking. It did not take long for Edith to discover challenges of small business owners and especially, how to gain the respect of industry leaders and staff. Her role was in the back office dealing with systems, procedures and processes, this was her comfortable zone. Edith was not involved in the day to day running of the business and came for help in figuring out where to start.
Talk about being thrown in at the deep end. We started doing a company deep dive using a mind-map to create a picture of functional areas, products, management including people process, finance and operations and their customers.
Her biggest challenge was being respected as the owner and manager of the business and finding a way to make this happen. We did core work on defining strengths, weaknesses, experience and building confidence including how to manage a complex male dominated team. This was a process discovering tracking and identifying each of her core attributes one piece at a time. This is a key exercise as it sets the scene and helped her identify where she needed to hire those with skills that complimented her background.
Once complete we focused on people, new business development as key priorities. How to deal with difficult employees and finding ways to address problems proactively to make teams fill involved in the decision making and address problems before they escalated.
She was nominated and won Business Woman of the Year in Canada. From overcoming the challenges to business woman of year.
How to gain the respect of industry leaders and staff for small business owners
We decided to run an offsite team meeting including interactive hands-on exercises to build trust and rapport learning to deal with change in new and innovative manner. In my experience, the challenges of small business owners can be overcome if you can change the way you respond to people you change the outcome.
All of us have people in our life who know how to push our buttons and without realising it we let them. If you respond differently, you will be amazed at the outcome. Change the way we react and we will change the outcome, simple but powerful. The only real thing we are in charge of us is how we respond.
At this point I recommended doing some group interactive exercises where feedback was given constructively. Toastmasters uses the ‘sandwich’ technique where positive feedback is given first, followed by suggested rooms for improvement and ending with more positive feedback. The challenges of a small business owners work under the same principal.
Painting a picture of current situations helping individuals understand how certain decisions, attitudes and behaviour impact the business and team negatively. The challenges of a small business owner can be overcome by breaking “the problems” into bite sized pieces and demonstrating positive ways to deal with each challenge. This lets individuals feel trusted, valued and importance to the business.
From the challenges to Business Woman of the Year
She took this advice and implemented these interactive sessions managing to get most of the team onside and assigned specific focus areas for each individual focusing on their key strengths and contributions to the business
This behavioural change took time but one small change encourages another and seeing results is believing. As Edith saw progress she reinforced behaviour by sharing business plans and ideas creating core champions within her team positively impacting other employees. The number one tool for small business owners, she built a successful and passionate team.
Implementing this process within a timeframe 3-6 months was not an easy task but she embraced it wholly.
So what happened next? Edith implemented the plan over the next 6 months and the workplace is balanced team environment, improved team effectiveness by 25%, resulting in happier customers and greater revenue. She was nominated and won Business Woman of the Year in Canada. From overcoming the challenges to business woman of year. She never looked back, only forward.