With the business world changing so fast, it’s critical to adapt to what’s going on right now while also being prepared for what’s coming next.
I chatted with Kosi Stobbs, CEO of the Owl Group of Corporations and a serial entrepreneur recently recognized to Canada’s 40 Under 40, to learn how he’s been able to manage the changing business climate and continue to build seven and eight-figure businesses.
Make every effort to prepare ahead.
“It’s good to discuss how to position yourself to best harvest the advantages of where the world is going and how to reap the rewards of the changing problems,” Stobbs adds. Seek advice from as many people as possible, from keeping current on business and advertising trends to listening to what your customers have to say. Above all, be willing to change and pivot as often as necessary. “The location you thought you were going won’t be where you’ll want to go,” Stobbs adds.
Be wary of who you ask for a referral.
Make certain you’re obtaining advice from the right people. “Ask for advice from people who have had success at what you’re attempting to achieve. Pay attention to everyone, but only follow advice from specialists in the end. Consider this: “You wouldn’t tell your dentist about a couple of foot problems, would you?” Stobbs agrees. He warns that, although people’s advice may be well-intentioned, if they don’t have the skills to back it up, they generate ideas rather than provide specific advice. Finally, you must listen to advisors and learn from them.
Spend funds on education.
In the business sector, teaching provides the best returns on investment. A coach can help you grow and develop as a business owner and a leader, ensuring that you’re on the right track to success. A coach may guide to help you identify areas where you may have skill gaps and provide you with tools to assist you in closing such gaps. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” Stobbs adds, adding that a coach can help. A coach may also serve as an accountability partner and provide you with regular advice, beneficial to your growth. Stobbs recommends people have an open mind, ask plenty of questions, and truly listen to the answers they’re given to get the most out of their education.
Bring in the right people to help you.
You will reach a point in your business path when you cannot accomplish everything alone. This may be a difficult pill to take, especially if you’re stuck in a restricting attitude of ‘nobody else can accomplish what I can do’ or don’t know where to begin when expanding your staff. The key to bringing in fresh skills is to remove your ego from the picture and be willing to let go of the notion that you are the only one who can do what you do. “Rent someone skilled enough as a way to do much less work,” Stobbs advises. Hiring capable people to assist with business growth will relieve the strain of work placed on you and will help to ensure that you do not reach a point of burnout from which you will not recover.
When it comes to hiring, think ahead.
“I’ve known most of the members in my group for at least ten years.” They’re among the most knowledgeable people I’ve ever encountered. “I knew I wanted them to be a part of my company the moment I met them,” says Stobbs, who had a vision for what he wanted his staff to look like before hiring his first employee. He tells entrepreneurs to be conscious of the people they meet and examine how they could fit into the company’s long-term vision. If you believe you will need to bring someone into your team at some point in the future, make it a point to notify them of this and why. Communicate regularly to keep the connection continuing so that when you’re able to give a recommendation, it won’t be completely unexpected.
Take attention to the tone with which you speak.
Communication is the lifeblood of business, and a communication breakdown has repercussions across a whole organization. When it comes to workplace communication, as a leader, you must make it very obvious that you value everyone’s viewpoint equally and that no one will be punished for speaking out or offering recommendations. “I communicate with everyone the same way, from employees to stockholders, and I treat everyone the same way,” Stobbs continues. Speaking to show respect for everyone, regardless of their title, goes a long way toward establishing trust, which fosters free communication within a group.
This open communication style and mutual respect is necessary for the management staff to function efficiently together. “I believe it is very critical for senior management teams in companies to be able to challenge one another,” Stobbs adds. “This looks to be quite obvious, but in practice, it becomes really difficult because most of the time, people’s egos get in the way; they don’t want to bother one another because they’re engaged, which may put a strain on the relationship.”
While change is unpredictably unpredictable, if you follow this advice, you will be better prepared to weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.