How to Lead Your Business Where You Want it to Go
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2011 10 Nov
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Dave Ramsey's book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard Books, 2011).
The business you lead will reflect your own personal strengths and weaknesses, since what happens at the top trickles down to affect the whole organization. So if you want your business to grow and prosper to its fullest potential, you need to become the best leader you can be.
Relying on God’s help, you can become the person He intends and learn to lead your business where you want it to go. Here’s how:
Dream and set goals. Dream often about how to make your business better. Ask God to regularly give you a fresh vision of what your business could be. Write a mission statement for your business that will help you and others who work with you focus on its purposes when planning its future. Then set goals to work to make your dreams come true, making sure that the goals reflect what you genuinely care about, have a time limit, are specific and measurable, and are written down. Share your goals with the other people in your company to build better communication and unity between you.
Organize your schedule and office well. Manage your time successfully by focusing mostly on activities that are important, delegating activities that are urgent but not important, and minimizing the amount of time you spend on activities that are neither important nor urgent. Plan each work day before it begins with a prioritized to-do list. Prepare an agenda before meetings to make the time together as efficient and productive as possible. Clean clutter off your desk and out of your office.
Make hard decisions. Don’t hesitate to make hard decisions; you need to do so to keep your business moving forward. Ask God to help you overcome the fear of making a mistake or being criticized (both of which cause indecisiveness) and give you the wisdom and courage you need to choose what to do after you’ve gathered lots of information about your options.
Market your products and services well. Make sure that you and others at your business are genuinely excited about what you’re marketing, since a sense of passion must come through in your marketing. Be as active as possible when marketing it; the more sales calls you make and the more flyers you send out, the more likely you are to successfully sell it. Try to communicate senses of scarcity and urgency around your product or service to increase customers’ desires for it. Keep working hard to market it while praying for continued guidance, since focused intensity over time multiplied by God’s help equals an unstoppable momentum.
If your business is new, launch it successfully. Choose a type of business that you feel passionate about and believe that God is calling you to launch. Never choose a particular business just for how much money you think you can make with it; the only way you’ll be motivated to work hard will be if you truly love what you’re doing. While your business is still beginning, feel free to work an extra job just for the money, but make that a temporary situation until your business can financially sustain itself and you. Carefully consider whether or not it would benefit your business to become part of a national franchise. Ask God to help you act with complete integrity in all you do to start your business.
Hire people well. Pray about who God wants to work at your business. Advertise and get referrals from people who currently work with you. Interview potential new employees thoroughly. Carefully read through people’s resumes and check their references. Use a personality test to help determine if the various candidates are a good fit for the job. Don’t hire people unless you really like them personally and they genuinely get excited about the work your company does. Give job candidates a clear explanation of the job description, as well as the compensation and benefits.
Fire people well. If some of your employees are failing at their jobs because of leadership problems within your organization, don’t blame the employees and fix the leadership problems to better guide and support them in their work. If some employees are failing due to personal problems, give them grace, support, and encouragement to help them get through their crises and return to a better focus on their work; fire them only when their job performance doesn’t improve after their crisis is over and you’ve done all that you can to help and warn them. If some employees are failing to do their jobs well because of incompetence, train or mentor them, but fire them if they’re not willing to learn to do better. If some employees are struggling with character flaws that lead them to sin (such as lying, stealing, or gossiping), fire them immediately. When you fire people, respect their dignity in the process.
Sell by serving. When you’re selling a product or service, show your customers that you’re doing your best to serve them rather than just trying to make money. Qualify potential buyers to avoid wasting time and energy trying to sell to customers who can’t really buy what you’re offering. Build rapport with them so they come to trust you. Educate them well about your product or service by giving them lots of information about it. Never pressure a customer to close a sale with you; let sales close naturally, after you’ve done your best to serve customers’ needs.
Keep your business’ finances in order. Create and maintain an effective budget, avoid debt, buy only what you need to make a profit, make sure your business’ taxes are done carefully, save, and give generously to charities.
Communicate well with others in your business. Create a culture of good communication at your business by telling the story of your business history and goals often, reporting what you’re doing regularly to keep others fully informed about projects in progress, giving employees regular feedback on their job performance, and walking around to visit with employees in person and listen to what they have to say.
Build unity and loyalty. Treat your employees, customers, and vendors the way you want them to treat you and lead with integrity in every situation; doing so will build unity and loyalty among them to your business.
Recognize people who are doing a good job. Give them specific praise in writing, and also in front of the people whom they care about the most.
Pay your people well. Generously compensate the employees who contribute well to your business’ success.
Delegate effectively. Don’t micromanage your business. Instead, delegate tasks when possible, to people who have demonstrated their competency and integrity.
Adapted from EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, copyright 2011 by Dave Ramsey. Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., Brentwood, Tn., http://christian.simonandschuster.com/howard.
Dave Ramsey has authored three New York Times-bestselling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough,and The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 4.5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at www.daveramsey.com.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: [email protected]to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.