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Small Business Success: Leadership, Relationship, Accountability. Entrepreneur MBA Podcast 3.44

small business successSummary: In today’s podcast episode, Juli Geske-Peer from Peer Performance Solutions and Stephen Halasnik from Financing Solutions discuss Small business success. They discuss important aspects of small businesses to be successful such as leadership, relationship, and accountability.

Small Business Success: Leadership, Relationship, Accountability

Working with clients to help them identify areas they can improve in regarding leadership is key if they want to grow their business. Some specific struggles include poor communication which can lead to ineffective strategies and not meeting goals. Small business owners also often focus heavily on results which can lead to weaknesses in leadership. This is due to the focus being shifted away from relationships. Soft skills are very important for being able to relate to the people you work with. When working with individuals to assess where they can improve in terms of leadership, you first must get to know them and their way of thinking. When working with a leadership coach, some people may be able to accept feedback and agree with the criticism, while others may not agree and will not take feedback as well. Clients who are able to accept feedback well and improve themselves, understand their business will be impacted in a positive way. One way to approach individuals who may not be as open is to ask them thought-provoking questions. Trying to get leaders to view things from a different perspective is important for them to shift the current way they are working. Improving leadership in small businesses is about understanding each unique situation since no one company is run the same exact way. 

Once problem areas are identified, coming up with solutions is the next step. Small business leadership training is not about prescribing or ordering people around. Rather, it is about brainstorming and collaboration. 

Leadership struggles in both the corporate world and within small businesses. Some specific improvements that executive small business leaders can make include being present, asking good questions, listening intently, and showing respect. Often times when speaking with someone, our minds go into the mode of thinking about how to respond. This is natural but in certain situations, it is important to fully listen and understand someone’s point of view before trying to counteract. By employing these types of practices of listening, being present, and showing respect, less conflict will occur. Conflict is often unnecessary and just the result of a lack of understanding or communication. Communication is not limited to verbal exchange, as nonverbal cues play just as important a role. Another strategy to improve leadership that relates to communication is to ask questions that you do not know the answer to. Oftentimes, we ask questions that we know the answer to in order to make a point or to highlight ours thought process. By asking questions we know the answer to, it leads to ineffective dialogue and can come off as passive-aggressive in certain situations. Being genuinely curious and asking important questions is important. Taking the time to understand another individual’s point of view shows that you care and will lead to more meaningful conversations. Having these more meaningful discussions can in turn lead to more trust. Small business leaders should approach any feedback or help with an open mindset. Instead of having any preconceived notions, accepting help is the way to go. 


Being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses is very important. It can be a struggle for small business leaders to identify these. Each person and situation is unique. Accountability is not limited to business, as it is important for our personal lives. Working with coaches or psychologists is crucial because it can be difficult to give yourself an honest assessment. Not only is assessing yourself difficult but coming up with solutions to the issues is not easy. Finding solutions that work in the long run instead of quick fixes is the goal. Once solutions are reached, business owners and individuals in their personal lives will notice improvements in many areas. Some of these improvements include better decision-making, efficiency, effectiveness, and improved relationships. Building trust is key in accountability. Trust leads to improved teamwork and the happiness of all individuals involved. Helping leaders with certain tactics to improve trust will benefit their business. Trust can be hard to earn from others but one of the best ways is to practice what you preach. Being able to follow through on things you say, and plan will lead to others trusting you more. If you want to see certain qualities from the people you lead, you as a leader, need to be able to display specific traits. This helps build true trust between people. 

Leadership styles and Relationships

Small business leaders can struggle with strong leaderships skills by either being too stern or too passive. There needs to be a healthy balance between these two elements for leadership to be effective. Leadership training can help individuals recognize what they are doing wrong and find an approach to fix their shortcomings. In some cases, leaders can come off as being jerks or too harsh without even realizing it. Oftentimes, the leader is not a bad person, rather they just care deeply about what they are doing and want to see results. Helping a leader identify that they are not being effective with their current approach will lead them to make changes and help others around them to understand their passion. Making small changes can lead to big differences in relationships by helping others around you understand your way of thinking. Feelings in the workplace are another factor that ties to relationships. Traditionally, we are all taught that keeping your feelings to yourself and not showing emotion is the right thing. In some cases, this is true and there isn’t a need to overreact to things. However, displaying positive emotions or expressing gratitude are feelings that should be encouraged. We are all human, so it is alright if things are not always perfect. Showing negative emotions is not always a terrible thing either because it makes us more relatable and authentic. Showing negative emotions or trying to display a certain emotion should not be the goal, rather being yourself and not acting like a robot is the key to building strong relationships with others. Small business leaders can improve their relationships with others by recognizing that results are not the only factor that matters.

About Juli Geske-Peer from Peer Performance Solutions

Juli Geske-Peer is the founder and president of Peer Performance Solutions, a Peer Performance Solutions focused on enhancing individual and organizational performance. Her particular expertise is in facilitating exceptional leadership and relationship skills. With a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and over 20 years of successful consulting and management experience, Juli works with companies ranging from local nonprofits to multinational organizations. She is also the author of 5 Senses for Success: Strategies to Thrive in Any Arena.

About Financing Solutions

Financing Solutions, an A+ and 5 stars rated BBB company since 2002, is a direct lender that provides lines of credit to small businesses and nonprofits.

Financing Solutions small business financing product is a great alternative to a traditional bank line of credit because it costs nothing to set up, nothing until used, and when used, is inexpensive. The credit line requires no collateral and no personal guarantees. Small businesses use their line of credit to help with emergencies or opportunities when cash flow is temporarily down (i.e. Payroll funding) Please feel free to fill out the no-obligation, 2-minute business line of credit application here. The time to set up a credit line is when you don’t need it so that it is ready to be used, just in case.

Note: Financing Solutions donates 10% of its profits to various nonprofit charities


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