Over the last 5 posts, I went over 5 of the most common reasons why companies are not successful, according to the Small Business Administration of the United States. You will see that there are some common elements to each of the 6.
Leadership is one of those terms used in business which can be considered a catch all. It is the reason why a project progresses or fails, why a product launch is successful or not, or why a company fails or doesn’t. Lack of leadership is the number 1 reason why a company fails.
In saying this, you don’t have to be the most charismatic, the best speaker, or the most visionary person to be a leader of a company. I won’t go into much detail of what is considered to be a strong leader. I am sure that you can find at least 1,000,000 articles on this subject to help you. But in terms of leadership and the success of the company, how does it have an impact?
Vision: Setting a vision for a company can be a scary task for some people. What if you set goals for your company? Setting those goals becomes a building block to what can turn into your vision in the future. Without that goal or vision, where are you going to be going? It becomes even more important when you have employees. Would you follow someone who is walking about in the great outdoors not knowing where they are going or why they are going for a walk? This ties in to having uniqueness with your company.
Plan: Now that you have your goals set out, how are you going to reach them? Do you want to offer the best customer service? How are you going to do that? Is it scalable for when you grow? Offering a new product and/or service and believing that it will go viral is not a plan. A local businessman believed that his company was going to go viral once his product or services hit the market. He had no plan on how it was going to happen. To make a long story short, the company is just now starting to get traction in the market place, but nothing near as expected. Don’t forget: develop a budget with your plan. You don’t want a lack of financial management to be the reason your company does not survive. The development of the budget will help to ensure that the business model which you will be operating under will be sustainable. Lastly, the plan will help to manage your future growth.
Execution: You now have a goal which helps you understand where you want to go and develop a uniqueness with your customer. You have developed a plan (including a budget) which tells you how to get there. Now, it is to sticking to the plan, wherever possible, to attain your goals. That plan, of course, will have some bumps in the road and may require change, especially if you are well connected with your customers and you are receiving feedback that change is needed.
As you can see, leadership or the lack of it is a bi-product of the other top 6 reasons why a company does fail.
Where have you seen strong leadership take a company through dark times to a profitable place? Have you seen leadership being the root cause of a failure? I would love to hear.
Have an awesome week.
Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.