For many screen printers, the prospect of leading a growing staff can prove intimidating if they’ve never really envisioned themselves as boss or CEO. Regardless of your leadership skills, there are several habits that can make you a better leader in your screen printing business.
Leadership starts with a vision. You can’t drive your business and lead a team forward if you don’t know where your business is headed. That means you need to know what you’d like your business to look like three months from now, a year from now, three years from now and beyond. Have clear goals for your business, and keep your focus on those goals as you lead your team and make decisions about your business.
There’s no way around it: As business owner, you have to be the ultimate authority. Even if you prefer to run your shop with a laid-back atmosphere, when it’s time to make decisions or navigate through a problem, it needs to be clear that you’re in charge. Be the decision maker. Own mistakes. Set strategies. Without taking ownership of your business, your shop will falter without a clear leader at the helm.
When you’re running a screen printing business, you’re keeping track of a lot of information: Payroll, schedules, inventory, customer orders, office supplies, monthly expenses, cash flow. A lack of organization isn’t an option. You have to find an organizational system that works for you.
One of the most important components of leadership is knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a leader and as a business owner. Tailor your business to cater to your strengths, and find ways to compensate for your weaknesses. Spend your time on the portions of the business you excel at, whether that’s selling to customers or trying out new printing techniques. Utilize technology or hire employees that will help make up for areas of business you struggle with.
Leadership is important, but businesses flourish when leaders focus on cultivating a team of people who will work together to support the business’s goals. In addition to finding team members whose skills complement yours, look for people with positive attitudes who will be as dedicated to your vision for your screen printing shop as you are.
The best leaders never stop growing their skills. The skills you grow will help you to grow your screen printing business. Growing your marketing skills can help you to reach more customers. Growing your printing skills can help your shop offer new techniques to bring in more sales. Growing your tech skills can help you streamline your shop’s operations with the help of software systems or creating a new website that will make your business look more modern and reputable. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you choose to keep learning; any information or skill you acquire is bound to help you in leading your business.
When a business owner is passionate about what he or she does, that passion is infectious. You got into screen printing because there was something you loved about the art. Do what you need to do to keep that passion. That might mean spending more time at the press or more time designing artwork, or it might mean scheduling breaks from your shop to avoid burnout. When you have passion as a business leader, your team is sure to follow.
Whatever your leadership level, one of the best things you can do as a leader in your screen printing business is to be aware of your leadership skills and leadership style. Whether you feel like business leadership is a professional weakness or like you have solid leadership skills, taking the time to evaluate and improve your leadership skills will have a positive impact on your screen printing business.
Looking for some more tips on setting your team and your business on the path to success? Check out these blog posts: