What Kind of Business Owner Are You?

What kind of business owner are you? To be more specific, what kind of leader are you?

Over the course of my career I’ve been fortunate enough to manage hundreds of people. As someone who is a fan of thinking deeply about most things, that means I’ve spent a ton of time thinking about LEADERSHIP. As someone who has also worked for corporate companies that means I’ve also spent a lot of time being “lead”.

Why the quotations you ask? A subtle jab at my former bosses?

It's not a jab, so much as it is the truth. There is really only a few humans who have lead me in a way that I was truly inspired by, and I will fully credit them for shaping me into the leader that I am today (along with a lot of books and self work). After having had this conversation with plenty of other people I know that I am not alone in feeling this way.

In fact since 2013 job turnover rates have increased year over year. So much so that it’s increased 23% in the last 5 years.

Throughout the process of developing or launching their company small business owners treat leadership or employees as an afterthought. Often hiring only once they’ve been stretched beyond their means either physically or mentally.

So what can you do to prepare yourself? Remember small businesses are not immune to these stats, in fact a gap in a position will be that much more felt in a small team.

  1. What kind of a leader are you/ do you want to be? Remember leaders are not born, they are often made. Think about your personality, think about how you handle conflict, think about how you handle stress. By digging deeper into yourself you can begin to think about where you may need to do some work before you begin managing people.

  2. How can you communicate more effectively? This is something that can be improved upon well before you have employees. The answer isn’t always more technology. Apps like slack can facilitate communication, but you must be willing to be transparent and open.

  3. How clear are you on the type of help you need? Clarity will go a long way when it comes to employee performance. Never ever bring someone on board unless you’re clear on what they would be doing for you. How could they possibly deliver what you want, if you can’t spell it out for them?

  4. What kind of company culture are you building? It’s not all about perks and pay. How do you want people to feel when they engage with your company. It’s easy to throw out words like innovation and collaboration, but are you really all about that? As the leader of the organization you must embody your company culture day to day.

  5. Are you willing to fully accept that any employee you lead is a direct reflection of your performance? So often I see fingers being pointed at employees, I hear business owners blame employees for mistakes made, and I always ask the same question. What did you do, or not do to allow this to happen.

Being a leader comes with an incredible amount of responsibility, time, and commitment to doing right by your people. If you’re not prepared to shoulder that responsibility then I always encourage you to bring someone on board who can do that for you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again businesses cannot exist without people. Leadership is an incredibly complex topic and by no means are these 5 questions going to solve the problem, but it’s a place to start.

As always if you need guidance I am here to help you.

Talk soon,


Sara McCabe