For entrepreneurs, learning never stops. Getting ahead in the YouEconomy requires developing new skills to grow personally, which in turn can help grow your business. To learn more about what entrepreneurs can do to give their business an edge—and to learn more about Dave Ramsey for the June issue of SUCCESS—I spent a week at the EntreLeadership Master Series in Brentwood, Tennessee.
In his book EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, Ramsey says EntreLeaders are special because they have the revolutionary spirt of entrepreneurs combined with the heart and humility of leaders. The EntreLeadership event is geared to teach business owners and leaders how to motivate their team by serving them. Here are 16 things I learned at the event that you can implement in your life and business.
1. You need passion to lead.
To build and operate, you need to be passionate. If you’re apathetic about your business, it’s going to be hard to push forward when you face tough times. Ramsey says that when looking for potential employees, passion counts more than education and talent.
A dream without a goal remains a dream. To reach your dreams, whether in life or in business, you need goals that work. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable, have a time limit, and are your goals, not someone else’s. Write them down, too.
To manage your time efficiently, make sure you establish your priorities before writing a to-do list. This will help you take care of what is most important.
4. Strong teams come from strong communication.
Take time to get you know your team members. When you lay down this foundation, it makes it much easier to communicate down the road when issues arise.
The DISC Profile System is a test that helps determine what kind of personality style you have. DISC stands for Decisive, Interactive, Stabilizing and Cautious. Understanding which of your team members fit into which category can help you communicate effectively and accomplish more things faster.
If you work 24/7, you’re going to burn out. Write down five things you value and invest time in each of them. If you’re happy at home, chances are you’ll be happier when you go to work. Make sure to set boundaries and know when to take some time off.
7. A solid team starts with the right hiring.
The average interview process at Ramsey Solutions includes 17 interviews, one of which is a spousal interview. Other parts of the interview process include taking a personality test. Being thorough during the hiring process keeps turnover rate low and saves you time and money.
8. People matter most.
A united team is a strong team. To ensure there is unity among your team, avoid poor communication, gossip, unresolved disagreements, lack of shared purpose and sanctioned incompetence.
People want acceptance, appreciation and affection. By giving them these three things, you can inspire your team members to work harder. Recognition can be something as simple as a handwritten thank-you note or taking someone out to lunch.
Ramsey says that communication is the lifeblood of an organization. Weekly reports and annual checkups can help ensure everyone is on the same page. If everyone knows what the vision of the company is, the company’s goals will be easier to reach.
11. Delegating is key to growing your business.
As a leader, your time is precious. Don’t waste it by spending your time doing something you can easily hand off. Prioritize what you need to do and what someone else can do. By delegating certain tasks to others, you can focus on the important things that drive your business forward.
It’s not all about making a profit. By saving and retaining income, you can have money on hand for emergencies that might pop up, investing in things you might need and jumping on new opportunities when they present themselves.
Making your employees feel valued is important, but so is paying them properly. Commission arrangements and profit sharing programs are great ways to incentivize your team to work harder.
14. Understanding product life cycles can help you market better.
Products have a four-stage life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity and declining. Once you determine the life cycle of your product, you can create a timeline to know when you maximize advertising and when it’s time to move on to something new.
15. Create change.
Change in the workplace can be tough to implement and adjust to. Ramsey suggests following these six steps to spur change and make sure it sticks:
- Gather enlightening information.
- Consider the benefits.
- Push past initial resistance.
- Accept potential benefits.
- Decide to try.
- Keep trying.
As a leader, you need to make decisions confidently. To do that, take time to weigh pros and cons, gather options and opinions, compare your options to your values and goals, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.