Recently my friend Bill Yeadon (who is also a co-instructor at SFS) asked me to answer a few questions on starting a successful cleaning business. One of Bill’s questions caught my attention because it addresses an important area of need for all small business owners. (Not just the attendees for Bill’s special program for prospective carpet cleaning business owners.)
Bill’s question was, “What are the skills most cleaners are lacking?” I replied that I assumed the cleaner (or any business owner) already has the technical skills needed to perform his or her services. After all, it’s difficult at best to be successful in your business if you don’t know how to perform the service you offer!
But beyond the basic technical skills business owners need to develop management and leadership skills if they want to build a successful organization rather than just “own a job”. Here are two of those essential business-building skills:
Skill #1: Communication – The ability to convey a thought in a manner that the listener understands. It’s understanding that not everyone communicates in the same style as you. You must grasp that the best way to communicate with employees, customers, and suppliers is not necessarily the way you learned to communicate as you were growing up.
For example, a lot of entrepreneurs are extroverted people. My guess is you get excited about new ideas and can become “animated” when explaining them to your staff, family or friends. Your voice gets elevated, your arms fly around, and sometimes you virtually dance around the office because you are so excited! Wonderful!
BUT some of your employees might be introverted. (Nothing wrong with this.) So even though these quiet people might be excited by the new idea, they don’t express it by shouting “Yeah!” or making wild gestures! So it is easy for you as the entrepreneur to interpret this as a lack of enthusiasm for your new idea. Or even worse a lack of commitment on the part of the employee. But it’s not. It’s simply a different style of communication.
Skill #2: Organization – Being organized in business is not an option if you’re serious about building a successful company. It starts with accepting the fact that many (dare I say most, including YOU?) entrepreneurs are hopelessly disorganized people. They are so-called “big-picture” thinkers. As a result, a lot of the details for carrying out your plans “fall through the cracks”. Papers get misplaced. Appointments get missed. Details get skipped.
Now although these papers, appointments, and details are all vitally important in building a company it will be virtually impossible for you to change your behavior and become organized overnight. So, sometimes the best strategy is to surround yourself with highly organized people who can help you stay on track. This usually requires another skill, which I’ll talk about in my next SFS Instructor’s blog post … Patience!
Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
CEO Violand Management Associates
Click here for Part 2 in this series: 3 more “required skills” for entrepreneurs