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    Winter-2016  


Small Businesses Need To Avoid The Traps Of Poor Habits

Successful businesses are built on strategic leadership, smart decisions and entrepreneurial drive, but even the best business owners can fall prey to a few bad business habits.

Small business owners are not exempt from this.

According to Dr. Geoffrey Alan Gray, President of Heeluxe, a shoe-testing lab, there are steps that can be taken by small business owners to help them avoid falling into the trap of bad business habits.

Whether it’s learning to trust employees enough to delegate tasks to them, prioritizing what tasks need to be completed first, or organizing schedules for effective time management, entrepreneurs must be able to maximize the efficiency of their time, and the hours put in by their employees.

For Gray, one of the most difficult lessons to learn was delegation. Whether it was data entry or scheduling times for testers to come in, he simply didn’t think to pass along tasks to those working for him.

Gray’s mentors implemented a time-measurement exercise that changed his view of his business, and how it should be run. Once he saw the amount of time he spent on administrative tasks, Gray realized change was necessary.

In short, Heeluxe wasn’t growing, and it wouldn’t survive unless its leader made drastic changes.

Here are the top three approaches Gray recommends to entrepreneurs that want to grow their businesses:

  1. Employ a healthy work/life balance
  2. Analyze what time is spent on
  3. Put employees in position for success by letting them loose on tasks they’re good at

In the age of connectivity, where being instantly accessible is at a premium, having an understanding of the importance of working hard while at work but unplugging when at home is imperative. If the boss is answering emails at midnight, employees will feel the need to as well. This can hurt employee morale in the long run, and reduce productivity.

According to the 2015 Brother Small Business Survey, a whopping 35% of small business owners admit to the bad habit of taking on too many roles and responsibilities. Bosses taking stock of hours, and recognizing what time is being spent on can be very helpful in determining which tasks can be delegated. This opens the door for bosses to spend their time on critical items such as business development.

Identifying areas of strength in employees and then exploiting them can open the door for stars to be born. Have a junior team member whose daily responsibilities are made up of mostly administrative duties but appears to excel at PowerPoint presentations? Give that person opportunities to hone that skill, and see where it leads.

If entrepreneurs will take these lessons to heart, success is sure to follow.

Dr. Geoffrey Gray is President of Heeluxe.

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