What’s Most Important in Running a Small Business: ActionCoach Ted Schmidt, Certified Business Coach

What’s most important in running a small business? I often get asked this question by small business owners. My initial response is two things. First, the owner must be allocating time to work “on” the business and not…

Ted Schmidt Action Coach
Ted Schmidt, certified business coach

What’s most important in running a small business? I often get asked this question by small business owners. My initial response is two things. First, the owner must be allocating time to work “on” the business and not just “in” the business. Second, the business needs to have a strong positive culture.

To accomplish these two things the mindset of the owner will be key. Let’s take a step back before we talk about mindset.

Clear Vision

First, the owner of a small business must have a vision for the business. In other words what is the destination they are working toward, what is the long-term goal for the business? Once the destination is clear, then mindset comes into play.


In looking at the owner’s mindset it helps to consider these questions.

  • Are they being a great leader who is developing other leaders and not just followers?
  • Are they developing leaders by delegating (letting go of control) and continually elevating themselves to a higher level?
  • What are the core values of the business/owner?
  • What is the structure of the business?
  • What are the core processes?
  • Does the business have great systems that everyone understands and follows?
  • Is there a documented plan, who does what by when?

The process of answering these questions and many more like them builds the foundation of the business. In order to build the solid foundation that will support continuous growth of the business the owner must be willing to dedicate the time to work “on” the business. This sounds simple, but it can prove very difficult to pull off.

Most business owners constantly get sucked into the day-to-day operations, working “in” the business. The phone rings, a customer walks in, there is a problem that needs to be solved, etc. It is easy to fall into this trap.

Remember most small businesses start out with just the owner and maybe an employee or two. Which means the owner wears most, if not all, the hats to start out. Most owners find it difficult to let go and start delegating. They get stuck and don’t realize they are actually hindering the growth of the business by holding onto too many things.

In order to start letting go they have to make an identity shift from an employee mindset to an owner mindset. Keep in mind the business should work for the owner, not the other way around. Ideally the business should eventually run without the owner needing to be there. It is all about the owner having a mindset that working “on” the business is more important than working “in” it.

In fact, at some point the owner should spend the majority of their time that is dedicated to the business working “on” it and not “in” it.

Positive Culture

Creating and maintaining a positive culture is critical to building a solid foundation and sustained long-term growth. Many owners struggle with this or may not see it as important. Remember this, if the owner does not create and maintain the culture, everyone else will. When this happens, the owner will not like what they end up with. The owner must also be willing to lead by example and embody the core values of the business themself. There is nothing worse than an owner who has the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.

A strong positive culture will sustain the business. Customers will feel it, employees will feel it, anyone who comes into contact with the business will feel it. Culture is vital to creating a positive perception of a business, which will in turn lead to the sustained success of the business.

There you have it, the two keys to running a small business. A strong positive culture and a business owner that has the right mindset and works “on” the business and not just “in” it.

Ted Schmidt, certified business coach.

Expert Guidance

We at Philantech3 care deeply about the success of small businesses in the Spokane area.  We are happy to partner with the team at Action Coach Northwest to listen to your concerns and offer suggestions for the success of your business. We all succeed when local businesses thrive and bring growth and productivity into our communities.  If you would like assistance with any business challenges or plateaus at your company, please connect with us and we’ll do everything we can to assist.  Call us to talk about how we can work together to make your objectives a reality.

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