When you are a business owner, you need to know what it is that is going to make you most successful. You need to know just what elements to put in place (and what to avoid) to ensure that your business grows and thrives no matter what challenges come your way. This is, obviously, easier said than done, but by planning things out in advance and not rushing to get started (even if you’re excited to do so), you stand much more chance of success.
One of the key things to remember about building a successful, viable company is that you can’t do it alone. If you do, there will come a point when you have to stop growing – it will become too difficult to maintain high-quality work and keep your customers happy otherwise.
If you have a team behind you, the progress you make never has to stop. You can grow your business as big as you want to, and then choose what to do – you might step back and let someone else runs things, or you might decide to sell the business and retire altogether. It’s great to be in a position to have these choices, and that will only happen if you work hard to build your business in the first place.
And it’s not enough just to have a team. That team needs to be professional, hard-working, and loyal. To enable this to happen, you must empower them. As their employer, boss, manager, or whatever else you call yourself, you must put your team in the position they need to be in to improve and grow your business. This means empowering them, and here are some ways it can be done.
Be Open To New Ideas
One of the worst things you can do as an employee is to dismiss your workers’ ideas out of hand. If you assume that nothing they have to say or contribute will help the business in any way, and that you are the only one who is capable of having great ideas to boost profits and make working conditions better, then you aren’t running a business; you’re running a dictatorship. When this happens, it’s hard to come back from, and your team won’t be much of a team at all – they will just do what they have to do and no more. They won’t come to you with ideas, and they won’t go the extra mile for you. By ignoring their ideas, you’re making more work for yourself in the long term.
Of course, not every idea is going to be something that you can implement, and no one would expect you to; this is your business, after all, and you have to have the final say. However, by being open to listening to new ideas and by thinking about them fairly, your employees will feel much more empowered, especially when they see that some of those ideas are put in place.
Plus, you won’t have to think of everything yourself, and you might discover new ways of doing things that help you to grow your business and that you wouldn’t have thought of before by yourself. Your business can benefit greatly from this.
Communicate A Clear Vision
Your role as a leader is to ensure that every one of your employees is aware of what your ultimate vision is. In this way, they will all be working towards the same goal, they will all understand what it is that you want from them (and what their role really means in the grand scheme of things) and they will know why certain decisions have been made.
By giving your team a better idea of what your ultimate aim is for the business and what goals you are striving to achieve (both large and small), you are giving them reasons to keep working hard, to help you achieve your vision. They will feel included, and this will help to give them a feeling of loyalty, and as though they have a place in the business; they’re not just another ‘cog in the machine’ which can be unrewarding and, eventually, will cause people to look elsewhere for work.
One way to help make your employees feel like a real part of the team is to include them in your branding. Liveried vehicles are a great way to do this since your team will feel proud to be driving around in cars and trucks that show they are part of your business. A uniform will help in the same way. Whether it’s Uniform Advantage women’s scrubs, embroidered jackets, t-shirts with the company name on, or an apron that details exactly what your business does, as long as it makes sense for your employees to wear it, it will give them a real feeling of belonging which will, in turn, encourage them to help reach your overall company goals.
Recognition, Rewards & Encouragement
When something is done well, it should be rewarded. Studies show that, if someone is rewarded for an action, they will repeat that action. So if you want your team to be good workers, rewards and encouragement go a long way to ensuring that this happens.
Does this sound empowering? Perhaps not. Yet it can be when done in the right way. By letting your staff know that they will be rewarded for hard work, for coming up with bright ideas, for taking risks, and going the extra mile, this is what they will do. They will take it upon themselves to work as hard or as much as they feel the need to, and they will always be working with your best interests in mind. The decision of what to do will always be down to them but knowing there is a potential reward for doing well will certainly encourage them to do more.
In other words, by offering rewards for a job well done, your team is more likely to be independent and come up with new ways of working, new ideas, new products and services, and plenty more, empowering them and boosting your business at the same time.
Make Small Talk
It’s easy for a leader to avoid small talk when they can – they might physically be in a separate office, for example, or they might deliberately try to stay out of the conversations their employees are having, thinking it makes them seem more like a leader to be a little aloof and distant.
In reality, a good leader will speak to their team about non-work related things. They will engage in small talk. They will do this because not only does it make for a more pleasant working environment, but it means they can find out more about their team members in general. Finding out what’s happening with someone’s family, or how they’re doing with a hobby they just started, or what kind of workout they follow means that you care about these people as just that – people. It means you’re not just a boss, and you don’t just look at them as workers who will help you make a profit. By showing that you see your team as human beings, you are empowering them to do more and be more.
The office environment will be a happier, friendlier one if you can commit to chatting with your staff about their lives. Coming into work in a pleasant place with good people around (people who care about you) is much more conducive to good work, and will empower your team to do so much more than if they dreaded walking into the office to spend another day in silence.
When your employees take on any form of self-improvement, it will benefit you and your business. Whether they engage in a training course that is specifically linked to what you do and how you do it, or whether they go back to school part-time to learn about something entirely unrelated, you will see the advantages come back to you many times over.
Learning in any form will give your employees new ‘soft skills’ as well as additional knowledge in whatever subject or training area they are learning about. These soft skills such as time-keeping, organization, management, research, and more, will all be useful in your business, no matter what it is you do. So this is a clear reason why you should encourage your team to improve themselves if they want to.
However, as an additional bonus, it will make those team members feel empowered. By supporting what they want to do either by allowing them to take on flexible working so they can attend classes, by paying for their training, or, at the very least, asking them how their learning is going, you can improve their work ethic and their wellbeing, empowering them to be their true selves and continue to work for you loyally.
Have An Open-Door Policy
We’ve already mentioned how important it is for your employees to feel as though their ideas and opinions count for something. You can hold weekly meetings to see if anyone has anything to say, or you might even stumble across something when you’re chatting in the office, but to really empower your employees, it’s best to allow them to come to you when they feel ready to discuss their ideas.
This is why an open-door policy is a good idea. Let your employees know they can come to you at any time with ideas, feedback, or even complaints, and they will feel so much more empowered. They will know that you are ready to hear them, and that you want them to talk to you – between you all, you can build the kind of business you’ve always wanted.