How to be a great business owner
What makes a great business owner? How can you improve
your management skills and engage your workforce? Julia Payne and
David Bowler, co-founders and directors of business consultancy Incisive
Edge, believe they have the answer. Here are the key skills you
need to go from good to great.
We meet and work with many businesses owners, and - as a result
- we are frequently asked: 'what makes a good
Leading from the front
For many, a good business owner is someone who leads from the
front. Someone who puts in as much effort as the rest of the team,
who's not scared to roll up his or her sleeves and 'get their hands
dirty'. Indeed, leading from the front is essential, but this alone
does not constitute a good business leader.
Surround yourself with knowledge and experience
People recognised as good business leaders surround themselves
with others who are more experienced and better trained in core
business functions, for example: marketing or sales. A good
business owner is someone that recognises their strengths and their
weaknesses, and who appreciates the need to complement both
themselves and the company, and to source others who excel in the
areas where they are weak.
A good business owner is created as much by the people they
surround themselves with as the people they are.
Don't try to do it all yourself
Business owners who constantly feel the need to prove themselves
by doing all the operational tasks themselves will not achieve
their potential growth objectives. Having started the company, they
continue in the same role - trying to save money by doing
everything themselves and believing - wrongly - that nobody can do
the job better than them. In fact it becomes a self-fulfilling
If employees cannot do their job properly because they are being
second-guessed or undermined by their employer, then what incentive
do they have to try? As a consequence, they stop performing to the
point where the business owner steps in and justifies their own
beliefs that nobody can do the job as well as them. And so the
Get your hands dirty
Then there are those business owners who believe their job has
already been done. By starting the company, they have fulfilled
their role and now it's down to everyone else to make the company a
success. They reside in an 'ivory tower of their own making', away
from the melee of less important staff whose banter and day-to-day
tasks might cloud their judgement.
Their idea being that this peaceful, separatist, zen-like
existence will give them the purity and clarity of thought to
consider the bigger picture - to view the true nature of the
business and see its path to greatness. This is a view usually
endorsed by business owners who don't want to get their hands
The bigger picture, the strategy, the route map to growth -
whatever you choose to call it, will not be created by hiding away.
Nor will it be created by picking and choosing when you want to be
in the office. No loyalty will be created by you, if after a day on
the golf course, or at the spa, you arrive and start telling
everyone what they are doing wrong.
Staff need to buy into the vision
As the business owner you need to command the respect of those
who work for you. Your staff need to buy into your original vision
of the company together with the strategy to achieve that vision,
and this can only be done if you are visible and present. A company
will not run itself; it needs strong leadership. Your role is to
provide that direction and create the strategic alliances and
partnerships that are going to drive it forward, be the figurehead,
the spokesperson, the leader.
Focus on driving the business forward
We frequently find that many business owners fill their day
doing 'stuff'. As long as the day has been filled, then they can
justify that it has been a good day. They equate activity with
success. As the business owner though, it is necessary to focus on
what is going to drive the business forward, what is really going
to make a difference to the bottom line and create shareholder
value. Most often, this will centre around strategic activities,
creating new products or services, opening up channels to market,
ensuring the company is systemised and not simply recreating the
wheel every day.
There's a real skill involved in viewing the past, present and
future of a business and determining how to steer your company to
more profitable fishing grounds.
Be the master of numerous talents
A good business owner has to be the master of numerous talents -
a people person, a visionary, an inspired leader, an innovator, and
so many more things besides.
Is there an answer to the question of what makes a good business
owner? We believe there is and what's more, we create them.
Find out more about Incisive Edge
Smarta Business Builder
To help you on your business journey, we've created Smarta Business Builder, the complete online
tools package for growing your business. Website
Documents and Email - all in one place
- from just £20 per month with no contract! Try it out today.