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10 Characteristics of Successful Small Business Presidents

Here are some things to consider about your role as the President and CEO of your company.  The good news is that you are probably already doing at least some of these things. If you are doing all 10, congratulations!  If you are falling short in some areas, there are lots of resources to help you up your game.

  1. Great Presidents are keen on education.  They keep up with industry trends.  They read articles, books and scholarly reports not only about their industry but also about other industries.  Keeping an open mind is key to success. Learning how things are done in other industries will encourage creative and critical thinking that may lead to incredible breakthroughs.

  2. Your reputation is your legacy!  You have the right to brag about your successes.  Apply for awards and when you get them send out a press release.  Include photos on your social media and on your website. The simple fact is that people are impressed by your success and your reputation is a good indicator of success.  Ask for and offer to give testimonials. Be known as someone– to your clients and to your employees– who is willing to learn from mistakes. Don’t let mistakes equate to failure.

  3. Show support to your community.  Give back to your employees and to your clients.  Successful companies are those that show that they are committed to more than their own bottom line.  Is there a cause you are passionate about? Can you get your company behind that cause? Show your support by listing the cause on your website and letting everyone know that you will donate a percentage of your income to that cause.  Consider allowing your employees paid time off to support a cause they are passionate about. The upside is that this will give you marketing and publicity and may also attract new clients.

  4. Successful Presidents lead with integrity and authenticity.  You know as a leader when something “feels” right or wrong.  Have the courage to fire a client or a team member that does not fit well with your core values.

  5. Communication should be regular and open.  How often do you have staff meetings?  How often do you reach out to your clients?  Your former clients? Your potential clients?

  6. How much do you value your team members?  Successful Presidents know the strengths of their teams and they also know how to fill the gaps on their teams.

  7. “Let go so you can grow” is a mantra I have invited small business leaders to incorporate in their day to day operations.  In other words, learn to delegate. You can’t grow if you are working in your business instead of on your business.

  8. Showing appreciation sets successful leaders apart from their peers.  Do you know how the members of your team like to be appreciated?  For some, a pat on the back will make a world of difference. For others it’s the constant feedback and time spent with you which will motivate them to go above and beyond.

  9. What’s your vision?  Do you complete a strategic plan every year?  Some small businesses have 3 and 5 year plans.  That’s great, but an annual plan allows you to course correct and to be on top of goals because you can set up quarterly reviews.

  10. Servant leadership is a concept that goes well beyond your business.  A servant leader incorporates all of the traits above and truly lives in service to others.  They live in service to their clients, service to their team and service to the community as a whole.

How do you measure up?  What would your team say if I asked them if you embody these traits?  What would your clients say? You have an opportunity every day to make a difference through your leadership.

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Nancy Allen


G. Nancy Allen is an international speaker, coach, consultant and expert on women’s business issues. Nancy has over 30 years of experience helping small business owners at all stages of growth. As President and CEO of WBDC Florida/Her Company Incorporated, Nancy manages and leads an incredible team of staff, sponsors, partners and women business leaders who are dedicated to certifying, connecting and championing women in business. Nancy has been recognized for her work on behalf of women in business through numerous prestigious awards: -Nancy was recently honored by the International Career and Business Alliance (ICABA) as one of South Florida’s 100 most accomplished Caribbean Americans. She is especially proud of this award because it highlights her heritage as well as her professional accomplishments. -Nancy is the recipient of the World Women Leadership Achievement Award from the World Women Leadership Congress -Nancy is also the proud recipient of the Association Marketing Award from Women in ECommerce. -Most recently Nancy was named Honorary Ambassador of Cascais, Portugal by the Ambassador’s Club of the Industry Sector of Cascais and the Estoril Coast. Nancy’s personal motto is Connections, Creativity and Courage in all endeavors. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS, 1982). She was born in Haiti and raised in South Florida. Nancy is bi-lingual in English and French and is fluent in Spanish and Creole.