By Rocki-Lee DeWitt
Vermont is home to hundreds of business and social entrepreneurs looking to create or expand start-ups. Our state also hosts a number of established growth companies and family-run businesses that have built excellent reputations and contributed to local economies for decades.
But what happens once a company that employed five or 10 people suddenly ends up with a staff of 35? How does a company finance an expansion? What do you do when your small business is no longer that small, bringing in several million dollars in revenues?
If you lead a business that is experiencing rapid growth — or you would like to be in that category – then you need the knowledge and skills to make sound business decisions in what has become a much more competitive environment. If you don’t take the time to educate yourself about the ramifications of your growing success, you could lose customers and employees and, even worse, see all your hard work go out the window when your business fails.
With your pressing business needs and growing pains, now may not be the time to sign up for a two-year MBA program. But you might be able to carve out the time to network with and learn from other business leaders, join online communities that support entrepreneurs and business owners or pursue continuing education and corporate training programs in leadership development.
When exploring continuing education and corporate training programs for you and your employees, you need to understand why leadership development is so important in the first place. Leadership development is crucial to your business’ next stage of growth because it helps you and other emerging leaders in your company:
- Develop strategies that give your business a competitive edge.
- Figure out how your company can become more flexible, enabling you to prepare for and quickly adapt to changes in the marketplace.
- Re-examine your business’ priorities, allowing you to pursue new opportunities and drop any efforts that aren’t worth the time or money.
- More effectively manage your finances and growing profits, improving your business’ financial performance.
- Implement sales and marketing strategies that help you carve out a niche in the marketplace.
- Attract, motivate and retain employees who will be deeply engaged in supporting your goals and vision.
With your head down and focused on your day-to-day business needs, it’s not always easy to think about devoting time to leadership development. But in the long run, it will be time well spent and could keep your business on track for success.
Rocki-Lee DeWitt, Ph.D., is a Professor of Management in the School of Business Administration at the University of Vermont.