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Leadership Strategy

Why Young Businesses need to Start their Leadership on the Right Foot

It's easy for an early stage business owner to lead with a CEO mindset that focuses on results and return. While this is not necessarily a bad mentality to have, and it's imperative for a new business, this isn't the only way successful companies run
Why Young Businesses need to Start their Leadership on the Right Foot
Image credit: shutterstock
Director, Executive Coach, Strategy & Leadership Consultant
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Business as we know it effectively changed when Silicon Valley brands like Facebook, Uber and Airbnb threw away the rulebook. They disrupted the industry with their branding, the introduction of the ‘gig’ economy and disregard for traditional business strategy and structure.

What companies like this did so well was to put in place systems, processes and structures that meant flexibility was easy, they could be nimble and make changes quickly and easily.

Many new businesses are identifying with the “small business hustle” culture rather than the entrepreneurial or industry relevant community of which they initially set out to be a part of. This flexibility allows them to be agile and address the challenges they face in the early stages head on, which is extremely beneficial within a business population that can’t always implement changes within established (and outdated) business systems quickly enough to produce the desired result. 

Another thing many new businesses understand – that previous business owners perhaps realised too late – is the importance of putting in place robust systems and procedures from the outset, thinking like the big corporations that you plan to be in the future and not the small startup you currently are.  They know that it is worth taking the time, money and effort to implement these processes but the fact is that it is important to get it right from the start. But, with many of these disruptive companies like Uber and Amazon coming under the spotlight for the way they treat their employees, is this focus on robotics and automation actually failing to take into account the most important aspect of a business – people?

This is where new business needs to disrupt – from the inside-out, not the other way around. Many of these new companies led by passionate, energetic entrepreneurs are battling towards a brighter and better tomorrow, but they will only succeed if they are diligent and focussed on the ‘P2P’ of team management from day one.

What’s P2P? P2P – People to People – is a core business management tactic that takes the individual into consideration hand in hand with KPIs and reaching ambitious financial goals, not at the expense of it. P2P includes conquering your management style by interacting with your team as people and not numbers, seeking out issue solving tactics for that individual person that might improve their morale, and ultimately productivity, over that of a blanket approach.

Our early stage business owners need to be leading by example to form a new way of business, which in turn provides better results for those organisations in comparison to those that are led by fear, demand, and bullying.

It’s easy for an early stage business owner to lead with a CEO mindset that focuses on results and return. While this is not necessarily a bad mentality to have, and it’s imperative for a new business, this isn’t the only way successful companies run.

It’s a growing concern in the workplace that managers are mistaking new technology or digital solutions for good management. Having the newest CRM software or high-level processing computer will never replace the P2P approach to business that’s needed to succeed. Our staff still needs the guidance and support through new technologies that are being introduced, showing how this will help them, and not be a threat to their job. Just supplying new technology in the workplace is not good enough; there needs to be more put into the people working for us and that’s more than just signing off sector budgets and okaying subscriptions for your team.

As young businesses start out and develop; take the time to really delve deep into your business strategy. What are your goals to achieve in the long run? Is it to create a company where employees ultimately don’t feel valued for their work because of an ever-mounting workload and high KPI’s, or do you want a symbiotic working culture that works cohesively towards profit and appreciates your employees? When you do introduce something new, purely for cost savings and financial gain rather than as a value-add, you’ll never really get a buy-in from those who matter. 

Or would you rather want to create a workplace that helps foster the people and invests in employees as individuals? Wouldn’t you love to have a reputation for taking the time to understand what specific members of staff requirements, and supporting them to sort out issues in systems and processes, instead of just emailing them a process again and again expecting change? It’s not just about digital transformation, it’s about ‘people’ transformation, using the benefits that technology offers us to empower and grow a team, not the other way around.

You’ll have the brightest and best resources knocking on your door wanting to work with you and bring their expertise to your venture. 

Early-stage business is a challenge, but if you’re dedicated to P2P early, your business will be all set to grow and lead the way in more ways than one right from the start. It’s a great time to be a business owner: there are multiple platforms and resources out there to help us achieve and grow, and by prioritising the people in your organisation, you’ll be able to   create a company with integrity that will be weaved into the fabric of the business for years to come.

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