Silent Leadership

quietWhen most people are asked the question, “what makes a great leader?” the responses are predictable, with a list of qualities that most often includes confidence, charisma, and energy. But there is a whole other type of leader that tends to be forgotten: the silent leader.

What exactly is quiet leadership? Simply put, it is the ability to inspire, motivate, and encourage through action instead of words. While a boisterous leader may have the right effect in some cases, they are certainly not the right fit for every company or team. Fortunately, anyone can adopt a quiet leadership style by practicing a few important behaviours that I’ve detailed below:

  1. Effective Listening
    • An ability to listen to others and actually hear what is said will ensure everyone feels respected and has ownership in the work of the company.
  2. Honesty
    • To be a successful quiet leader, your employees must trust you implicitly. Being truthful will ensure loyalty from your followers.
  3. Transparency
    • This goes hand in hand with honesty. While remaining quiet, you must still ensure you are open and approachable to your team.
  4. Modesty
    • Even as a leader, you do not put yourself above your team. You hold yourself to the same standards and accountability as your employees.

Keep in mind that although a quiet leader may be in the background a lot of the time, they still have an air confidence about them that people respond to. Leading by example and not just “talking the talk” can be the best way to motivate your staff. When you build the right relationships with your employees, you will find that you no longer have to be loud in order for them to listen.

Have you ever adopted a quiet leadership style within a team? Was it successful? Please share your experiences in the comments!

Look To Your Existing Clients To Grow Your Business

Grow-Your-Business-With-Online-MarketingMany business owners find themselves struggling for new leads to drive revenues, but what if I told you that, although new lead generation must be a part of all business practices, additional revenues may be lurking in your own backyard. In my years of experience as a business advisor to SMBs, I have found some incredible results by emphasizing growing your business with your existing clients. Why exactly? Let me explain.

Maximizing your business with current clients is not only cheaper, but also boasts a shorter lead time meaning better customer service, brand messaging, and customer loyalty. When you reduce the cold calling, sales pitches, and tradeshows, you’re left with an additional amount of valuable time to invest in your clients that already trust you.

There is a greater risk with targeting new business. Your time and resources are limited, and trying to turn leads into clients can drain you of both of those. You and your business will benefit more with having two existing clients that you can work more with than having ten questionable prospects who you need to invest time into with no results.

It is important to note that investing in existing clients can also provide you with new clients! When you build relationships with clients, you foster their loyalty and trust in your business. In turn, they will be more likely to refer you to others and provide leads that you wouldn’t have received otherwise.

While going after new business is something all business owners must do to some extent, understanding the benefits of growing your existing client base is very important.

Have you had greater success with focusing on current clients or targeting new leads? Let me know in the comments!

Why You Need a Cybersecurity Expert

Cyber-securityIt is a common misconception that only large multinational companies are targets of cyber-attacks. Unfortunately, a well-known brand and strong financial resources are not the only target for today’s hackers.

In my time working with SMB owners, the issue that I have seen come up more and more is security.

You may be wondering, “Why would anyone target a small business?” when the real question to ask is, “why wouldn’t someone target a small business?”

It’s a known fact that hackers are aware that smaller businesses usually have weaker online security. SMB owners typically do not invest large amounts of money into security for the exact reason that they do not feel threatened, and that makes them easy prey! In this digital era, more companies doing business online via cloud technology means easy access for skilled hackers.

Added to this is the fact that regardless of the size of your business, you may have a clientele consisting of larger businesses, and that makes you a very appealing entry point for attackers.

My number one piece of advice to all SMB owners is to hire a professional IT advisor on a full-time, contract, project basis; whatever your business requires. I know the tendency is for many of us to leave our IT issues to be handled or managed by an internal person, but unless they are an IT professional, they may not be able to deal with downtime or security breaches.

When you are considering hiring an IT advisor, you will want answers to these questions to understand the type of plan they would put together for you to mitigate your IT risks:

  1. What risks are we currently exposed to?
  2. How often will I need to update my software?
  3. Will I be able to install tech barriers on my budget?
  4. What kind of education/training will you provide my employees with?

Have you been a victim of a cyber-attack? Have you considered hiring an IT advisor to ensure it does not happen again? Please share your experiences in the comments below!