With over 25 years’ experience in the business sector, Jayne Arlett has dedicated her career as a consultant to helping other businesses achieve sustainable economic growth. As the Founder and CEO of Jayne Arlett Consulting and the author of Big Little Business, Jayne is focused on driving profitability and growth by coupling strategic “parallel CEO” thought leadership with systems efficiency and optimization. With this insight, she works to help small and medium businesses succeed using ‘big business’ techniques and practical exercises. Here Jayne shares with us the key to building, guiding and pivoting small businesses from the ground up.
- What is the most common roadblock you see small businesses encounter?
People get caught up in the ‘busy-ness’ of business and spend way too much time working ‘in’ the business and not enough time working ‘on’ the business. Working ‘on’ the business is strategic thinking and this is where the magic happens. Creating a vision, a plan and executing on that plan is what will drive your business forward and ease much of that exhausting ‘busy-ness’. It is difficult to take that first step to carve out strategic thinking time when you are already busy, but I am yet to see someone who has not benefitted from doing so.
Thinking too small, fear of failure and imposter syndrome are three very common roadblocks – we often get in our own way! I spend a great deal of time helping people see the big picture and applying Big Business strategies to help them achieve their goals.
2. Why is mentoring and guidance so crucial when it comes to people wanting to build their businesses?
Mentoring has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have been supported by many great and generous mentors, and I now give back to the community that has helped me, by providing mentoring to support others. I see great value in learning from the wisdom of others, it does not make sense to me to ‘reinvent the wheel’. I would rather learn from those that are already ‘making wheels’ – I take the best of what I learn and refine it in a way that makes sense for my business environment.
Finding the right mentor for you is critical. You need someone that will support and challenge you, be empathetic but not emotionally connected to your business. As business owners, it’s hard to sometimes see the opportunities and the barriers that are right in front of us – having an ‘independent’ perspective can be invaluable in seeing the way forward.
3. How do people know if they need a Small Business Mentor?
I am yet to meet someone who would not get great value from a mentor – but you have to be ready and willing to take on board a different perspective.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you know where you want to go with your business but don’t quite know how to get there?
- Do you know someone in your community who has achieved what you want to achieve? Could you reach out to them for some support?
- Have you become complacent in your business? Do you need someone to challenge you, and help you move to the next level?
- Do you have a specific project you would like an extra set of skilled eyes on?
4. What strategies can business owners implement to help set themselves up for success?
Start with identifying and clarifying your values and define your business purpose – why does your business exist? Who is it here to serve? How do you do that?Everything you do must be consistent with your values and help you deliver on your purpose.
Also work to create your business framework, goals and strategies with your values and purpose in mind.Think like a Big Business – you are the CEO of your own business, act like one!Control your business – don’t let it control you!Invest in your staff – make sure you have solid roles, goals and processes in place before you employ staff members. Hold your staff (& yourself) to account – have clear outputs or KPIs in place – track and measure everything!Most importantly, celebrate & reward successes along the way!
5. What is the most common piece of advice you give to established businesses who may be feeling stuck, especially in this COVID era?
Revisit your values and purpose regularly – they will be your compass when things get tough – hold your course.Remember the one constant in life is change – sometimes we choose it, sometimes it’s thrust upon us– as it has been the past year or so. During COVID, we have all had to rethink our businesses to adapt and pivot in order to survive and thrive. Just because ‘we have always done it this way’ – does not mean we must continue to do so – we should always be asking ourselves and our team ‘is there a better way?’
Also, network with other like-minded business people – join your local Chamber of Commerce, your business/business women’s groups and get some support and find a good formal or informal mentor that you can relate to.
For more information on Jayne Arlett, click here.