Leaders, Entrepreneur or Both? 17 lessons learned to become an effective leader and entrepreneur

The Gaines Group is thrilled to have so many great friends in the local community that are industry leaders in their respective fields. In an effort to share some of our fortune with those that follow our blog, we will periodically invite guest bloggers to share some of their knowledge with you. Speaking of leaders, what more appropriate way to launch our guest blog series than to have one of the industry leaders in coaching and leadership share with all of us 17 Lessons learned to become an effective leader and entrepreneur.
Guest Post by Michelle Braden of MSBCoach
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Do you realize that according to Gallup Business Journal (Sept. 2012), much of the success of the global economy for the past half century is attributed to entrepreneurs?  In the U.S. alone, nearly half of all jobs are in the small business sector, and small business accounted for 65% of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009.  Yet most entrepreneurs are not sure how to be leaders, nor do they understand the importance of being a leader.   If you are an entrepreneur, you are also a leader.  The question is, are you a poor leader or a great leader?

 What does it take to be an entrepreneur and a leader, especially in a small business?  Below are 17 lessons I have personally learned in my years as an entrepreneur and a leader:

  1. Build strong relationships
    1. Ask, Listen, then Act (balance the advice you receive with your own “gut”).
  2. Relationships should be with people who are:
    1. Smarter than you in such fields as:  budgeting, strategy, marketing, sales, relationship building, technical skills, structure, vision, etc.
    2. Encouraging, supporting, challenging, and effective at holding you accountable.
  3. Network, both socially and professionally.
  4. Give to others, because it is the right thing to do.
  5. It is not enough to have a vision. You must have a plan to execute it.
  6. Be flexible
    1. Re-evaluate
    2. Re-work
    3. Scrap it when necessary
  7. Keep one eye on the horizon, and the other on the bottom line.
  8. Have focus – you cannot and should not do/sell/provide everything
    1. If everything is important, then nothing is important.
  9. Know how and when to work on the business and in the business
  10. Know your positions of strength. Build alliances and hire partners that compliment you in the areas where you are deficient. Practice excellence, not perfection.
  11. Know when to move – even if it is not perfect.
    1. If you wait too long you can miss the boat.
    2. Apple Incorporated is a good example of creating interest and getting it out there before all the “bugs” are worked out.
  12. Know yourself.
    1. Values – what will you sacrifice and compromise, and what will you keep?
    2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    3. What are your fears and where are you confident?
    4. What are the potential pitfalls that you learned from past experience?
    5. Share all this information with your team.
  13. Have a plan to self-manage with accountability partners.
  14. Have executive presence – confident  – not cocky.
  15. Fake it till you make it – if you don’t believe in yourself, neither will anyone else.
  16. Hire people to work with you that have an “owner” mentality – a small business does not have room for employees.

Do you have additional lessons learned on how to be both an entrepreneur and a leader?  If so, I hope you will share them so we can all continue to learn and grow together.  If you are an entrepreneur and interested in becoming a better leader, I invite you to contact us today.  At MSBCoach we understand what it means to be a small business, and we also understand what it means to be a great leader!  Entrepreneurship and leadership are a journey.  Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup said, “Entrepreneurship is the scariest, rarest, hardest energy and talent in the world to find”.  Let us partner with you to change your business from good to great!

About Michelle Braden
Michelle is the CEO of MSBCoach, an executive and leadership coaching firm located in central Virginia.  She has coached and trained leaders and teams for more than 18 years.  In 2011 Michelle served as a panelist for the World Coaching Conference She is the founder of the Emerging Executive Leadership Program, the Authentic Leadership Summit, serves on the leadership board of the Building Goodness Foundation and the VA Chamber Small Business Advisory Board.  Her areas of expertise include Executive and High Potential Coaching.
Prior to founding MSBCoach, Michelle’s experiences extended to working in school administration and juvenile rehabilitation centers. In Michelle’s first year of teaching, she received the Teacher of Excellence Award in Bedford, PA.  Michelle was an executive leader  with Robert Haff International, Retirement Unlimited incorporated , the Church of God International, and the non-profit  On Time Leadership.

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