Being the Managing Director in a small business

Every business, big or small needs a Managing Director, even if you are a one man band. This article is for businesses of between 5 and 50 team members.

Most small businesses are started by people who have a specific skill or idea and grow from there. Many are very successful but the sad fact is that many also fail or also continue to exist in a non rewarding or or non profit making mode for far too long resulting in frustration and burnout. Lack of clear direction or leadership is often to blame. So how would you rate the leadership in your business?

  • Does you business operate to any sort of plan with milestones?
  • Does your business have a budget for the coming year?
  • Does your business have regular communication meetings where the Managing Director outlines plans, action points, accountability and targets for the team?
  • Does your business actually set growth targets and review previous performances on a regular basis.
  • Does the managing director of your business give clear instructions to the team.
  • Does the managing director of your business lead by example.
  • Are you the managing director?

The questions asked above are not a complete and comprehensive list of things that a Managing Director should be doing, but they should be aware and acting on most of them.

In the world of small business, most managing directors arrive at the position because the had an idea for a business. That does not automatically qualify them as good MD’s. In fact most are poor – They are good technicians and the know how to do the work of their business but they do not know how to lead teams or lead and drive on a business.

The good thing is that most of the skills required for the position can be learnt or even better, they can build systems around their business so that it works with less management involvement than most.

In some cases the owners of the business may decide that they are not necessarily the best managing director of the business. That is also fine but the owner must understand that they cannot abdicate responsibility to another person without fully understanding the requirements themselves. They also need to understand that they appointment of a Managing Director places additional cost challenges on the business and to accommodate this, the business has to grow rapidly.

Also, the appointment of a Managing Director must also be accompanied by very structured board meetings and objective setting to ensure that the MD is actually fulfilling his obligations to the business.

No MD = No Business – Make sure your business has one – whether it is you or not…