4 Traditional Habits Every Small Business Should Break

4 Traditional Habits Every Small Business Should Break

(Image: Thinkstock)
(Image: Thinkstock)

3. Deferring to authority.
Today we need to encourage collaborative problem solving, rather than automatically deferring to authority. If “yes, sir”or “yes, ma’am” is the only response coming from your so-called subordinates during discussions, then chances are you’re missing out on some of the innovative ideas that fuel business success. It’s not uncommon for people on my team to brainstorm on our shared dry erase board, or send out mass emails requesting feedback or ideas regarding a critical issue. There have been times when I’ve personally pondered an issue for 45 minutes only to send out an email and get at least one viable solution in 15. There have also been times when we’ve changed a course of action because a team member raised a serious objection or offered a superior alternative.

To get team members comfortable coming up with and sharing ideas, use tactics that relieve pressure. For example, pose the challenge in a mass email or group brainstorming session rather than making a single person responsible for finding a solution alone. Also, let your appreciation for all ideas outweigh your critique of any particular thought.

4. Staying entirely independent.
The days of rugged independence are done: Network and get the best help your reciprocity can buy.

My company looked at the market last year and saw that our potential was greater as a technology partner for the biggest brands rather than as a competitor to them. The change led to more interest from investors and analysts, and may pay off big in partnership deals and wider distribution. The partnership talks would not have been possible without introductions and referrals from investors, mentors and people I’ve met through networking. In fact, I believe the image of the lone cowboy pulling himself up by the bootstraps was never an honest depiction of success. To get the best results, attend networking events, use LinkedIn to see your connections and ask for help frequently.

I’ve learned to live with the handshake. Yet, no business owner should live with traditions that undermine their ability to run a successful business. To thrive, entrepreneurs of every level should embrace the only tradition that will never go out of fashion: the time-honored tradition of change itself.

—by Manpreet Singh for Business Collective

Manpreet Singh is Founder and President of TalkLocal, a home services marketplace that turns online service requests into a live conversation with the right available business in minutes.

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.