Why businesses are like boats and how to be a successful captain

Published on Business stage: Scaling, Starting, Unlocking

Providing successful leadership of a business is easier said than done but finding new ways to understanding leadership can help. Here, business support organisation RTC North likens running a business to captaining a boat…

As a business owner, an entrepreneur, you are by default a leader. Motivating and driving yourself as you nurture an idea in the early days. Get this right, and growth beyond your own capacity will see you hiring people and leading a team.

Picture your business like a boat. It’s your job to understand and articulate your vision to your crew, gaining their commitment and effort. You will learn how to mix the cocktail of characters within your team, develop the culture and continually balance them. But how?

Fill your boat with people that are going to contribute to the business and challenge your ideas. Do not avoid players that are strong-willed, creative and opinionated. Combine their attributes and ideas with your own. Never be afraid to ‘hire smarter’, you need people like this.

Treat your crew and everyone you meet along your journey as you expect to be treated, as time goes on you will demand more from them, and yourself.

Take advice and whatever support is available to you. Be teachable, you are not always right. You’ll be learning constantly, no matter how long you have been in business. You will be experiencing highs and lows, successes and failures, all the while remaining dependable, assured and in control.

Never allow your boat to remain in the same waters for too long, doing so will precipitate stagnation and your ship will sink. Even mild bouts of procrastination must be avoided. Even when the seas are calm, everything’s going to plan and you’re on time, re-imagine what you do, read books, learn and evolve your business.

Always expect the unexpected, remember that something you haven’t considered could strike and no doubt drive you out of your comfort zone once again. Accept being afraid, it’s okay to be feel a little apprehensive and scared.

After reading this, you may be thinking a stress free job, going with the flow and conforming all sounds pretty welcoming, and it is; if you’re willing to risk freedom, independence and the satisfaction of creating something special.

So there you have it. Set sail, remain calm and collected no matter where your journey takes you or how stormy your seas are. Be relentless, inspire, exemplify, but most of all, lead.

This is why programmes like Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Innovate2Succeed programme are vital for our region.

Innovate2Succeed is a fully funded programme designed to help businesses drive growth by harnessing innovation and to help SMEs across the Liverpool City Region improve their internal capacity for innovating and capability for commercially exploiting new ideas.

Innovate2Succeed offers eligible businesses up to seven days of fully funded, tailored support from an Innovation Adviser. They will support your senior team to address important areas of innovation management and support in areas such as identifying the barriers that are limiting innovation performance, addressing blockages and connecting businesses to the right support.

Ultimately, the programme can help businesses unlock their potential to harness new market opportunities and grow.

RTC North helps businesses to innovate, compete and grow. It specialises in the commercialisation of new products and services, working with individuals, businesses and the public sector to help create more innovative and vibrant economies in the North East, North West and Yorkshire.

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