Picture this. You ask a staff member to do a task that has certain flexibility for their own decision making. Next minute, the staff member comes back to you with a long list of questions, trying to be super specific with everything.

You’re then annoyed, wondering why the staff member has to ask you permission for every tiny thing. This actually isn’t an unusual scenario. For many people, it can be difficult to break out of their “follow the boss” mindset. 

What effective leaders do is foster a team that are not reliant on them for constant micromanagement, but rather they feel empowered and self-guided. Trust and authority are some of the necessary ingredients to develop this type of productive and effective work culture. We can use this wisdom to train informed and decisive staff and teams, that we can trust. 

Let’s run through five effective ways to achieve just that.

Empower your team with flexibility

You may be in the habit of managing every aspect of your staff member’s day, but that’s not healthy for you or for them. It’s time to let your staff make their own decisions which yes, includes making mistakes.

You can start by identifying key tasks that would benefit from greater flexibility and creative input. These are typically regular activities and low impact if they go wrong. Think of things such as administration work, organising email newsletter content, managing IT security backups, writing social media posts, replying to job seekers, etc.

Sit down with your team and explain how much flexibility they will each have within each of these tasks. Be careful not to leave it completely open-ended from the start. You should start slow by giving them some parameters to work with so that they’re not immediately overwhelmed.

Encourage immediate feedback loops

It’s common for many businesses to conduct staff member surveys occasionally to discover workplace concerns, workflow issues, and success stories. However, these issues can get lost with time, and it’s difficult to bring up specific issues if they happened too long ago.

You should look at employee pulse surveys or other tools that allow your team to highlight workflow issues straight away, so that proper action can be taken then, not in six months. Make sure to get the whole team answering these surveys and make sure to share the results with them too. That transparency helps your team to trust you and each other to deliver honest and helpful praise and criticism.

Push but don’t shove

The best thing you can do for your staff members, is encourage them to push their knowledge and work, to accept new challenges and improve their skill sets. What you don’t want to do, however, is shove them so far out of their comfort zone that it becomes a negative experience. 

For example, you shouldn’t ask a staff member to take on a task that’s completely outside anything they have ever done before. They will often then feel like you have figuratively tossed them to the lions. If you’re ever unsure about their comfort level, don’t hesitate to check in and ask. You will find most of the time, people will happily tell you when they feel uncomfortable.

Cultivate a sense of ownership

I have found in my roles, that if you build a sense of ownership throughout your team, they will get the job done and with better care. Your team needs to understand that they own both the success and the failures. If they make a mistake, that is fine, they just need to own up to it.

In a similar vein, when they have success in their work, they should be given recognition as well.

Assign them new responsibilities

As I mentioned, it is important to challenge your staff members so they can demonstrate and achieve their full potential. You should also work with them to find their unique interests and abilities.

As an example, you might notice that one of your staff members enjoys writing content. Perhaps you could assign her the job of managing the company social media for a week or two, and then find out what they thought of the experience.

If you are unsure what they enjoy, simply sit down with each member of your team and ask them what types of experiences would help them grow professionally.

The long journey to business success always starts with just a rough idea. That rough idea slowly grows and ends up polished into a solid plan. That solid plan gets money, branding and some marketing. Then it’s a business.

Here are five crucial steps you need to take, in order to take your rough idea from just that, to a fully fledged successful business.

Step one: Crunch the numbers

Numbers will help you understand the value of the business, and the worth of pouring all your energies for the perceivable future into it.

For example; “$10 billion is wasted every year, in delays in mining operations in Australia, and we have a fast and cost effective solution.” Sounds far more appealing than “We’ll make mines run faster”.

When you think about how to sell your idea to potential investors or early customers, try using these figures to help convey the message.

Step two: Understand and describe the problem you’re solving

Most people start a business to solve a unique problem. For example, hardware stores exist to help people fix household problems, such as leaky taps. Accounting software companies exist to solve financial problems in small businesses.

Lawyers exist to help clients with legal problems. Businesses offering cloud backup services are solving the problem of losing electronic files. The list goes on. What is the one big problem you and your business will attempt to solve?

This approach of starting with the problem has been proven by technology startup business success stories across the globe. Instead of worrying about the logo or your content marketing plan, start with the problem.

You should use this exact technique to win over investors or employees for your business as well; in fact, many use it to win customers too.

Step three: Start marketing your business

Your marketing starts with a brand. Your brand starts with a name. If you choose a bad name, nothing else after this point will help you. If your idea sounds like a joke to potential customers, it’s probably not going to help you get to success.

You need to remember that you will be competing against others. According to recent studies, there are over six million small businesses in the USA alone.

Most aspiring entrepreneurs take this aspect very haphazardly, and don’t put enough thought into it. They have lofty ambitions and just choose any name that comes along. However, this stage could be the most vital for your business future.

Step four: Buy the basics to get that business going

Unfortunately, there are a number of things you need to purchase, to get going. I always recommend buying just what you absolutely need, until you’ve created revenue and customers.

Below is just a partial list of what you may need to consider. Pick the ones you absolutely cannot live without, to save those costs towards business success.

  • Domain name
  • Website design
  • Website hosting
  • Smartphones or tablets
  • Business insurance
  • Computer equipment
  • Accountancy advice
  • IT consulting
  • Business software
  • Furniture
  • Office equipment
  • Office space
  • Marketing advisory
  • Employees
  • Sales materials
  • Association memberships
  • City or state licenses
  • Business registration fees
  • Company legal documents

The above points are only just some of the many hundreds of costs that you could incur over time. Don’t be disheartened though, start small with the very basics, and then build up what you need over time, once you have income and customers to offset the costs.

Step five: Continue to write and re-write your big picture

Don’t ever stop writing and rewriting your plans and future road map. These will continue to evolve over time, so it is worth revising regularly, so you have a clear direction.

A well-thought-out growth strategy, including a sound marketing approach will help you drive growth, and sway any potential partners or investors. Your road map should outline all the steps you will need to take to make your business an absolute success – leaving nothing to chance.

Your plan should outline all the risks you can imagine, as well as identifying potential obstacles and how you intend to overcome them.

Marketing, both online and offline, is so very important – make sure you have a completely separate marketing plan, which shows how you will attract and convert an audience into customers.

Ideally, you should also start planning your exit. Sounds crazy, however people want to know that there is an end game in sight. Saying you will work within the business forever is not an option for you or anyone else.

In Summary

By following these above five critical steps, you should be on your way form simple business idea into creating a future with business success.

Don’t leave your first steps any longer – start right now! All the best of luck on your journey to a successful business.