Everyone has a boss, someone telling them what to prioritize, what the deadlines are, and where to make adjustments in their work. Everyone that is, except small business owners. Sure large corporations are answerable to their stockholders, the board of directors, etc. But a small business owner or new entrepreneur is answerable only to themselves. This wouldn’t be a problem if we were all exceptionally self-motivated 100% of the time. But we are all humans and we all get into a rut from time to time and need some outside help to stay on track. This help comes in the form of Accountability. You can find accountability in your small business in a number of different places. From hiring a professional business advisor to another small business owner you meet with regularly, to a networking group. Any place that forces you to periodically follow up on your business plan and progress will help you stay on track.
Here is why we think it is so important to have accountability in your business:
The Chance to Talk Out Big Changes or New Ideas
Some changes or new ideas make perfect sense to you but to the rest of the world are too difficult or complicated to understand. Having a trusted advisor or partner who is outside of your industry offer a different perspective on your ideas or changes can help you stick with your niche or customer base and not lose them in the confusion. Having someone who is familiar with your mission and vision will also help you test if new ideas and directions fit with your goals and the overall mission of your company. It can be hard to get this kind of perspective on your own.
Accountability Helps with Followthrough
We’ve all had those huge slogging projects that seem to drag on and on. When you’re on your own it can be easy to give up on those projects or set them aside for new more exciting things before they are completed. But all that wasted time and resources puts a strain on your business. Being accountable to someone will give you that extra motivation to follow through, and if it doesn’t on its own, a good accountability partner will be there to give you the extra push you need to make it happen.
The Chance to Asses Failures Openly
In small business (and in any business) mistakes and failures happen. Things don’t always go as planned and when that happens, having someone who is familiar with your business to offer perspective can be extremely helpful. It’s important when mistakes happen to move on from them, but we also need to learn from them. Sometimes we are too close to the problem itself to do that without some extra help and perspective. A trusted partner will be able to asses failures with you to help you determine how to proceed in the future.
Accountability can be difficult to develop because it means you’re giving another person access to the details of your business. But the benefits of having a trusted outside perspective to keep you on track, motivate you and help you make sense of failures and struggles far outweigh the cost of that openness. The most important thing to consider when choosing who to be accountable to is whether that person has the integrity to be trusted with the inner workings of your company. If you aren’t comfortable with them, make sure to find someone who you can be comfortable with.