Why business owners need an ally
Most business owners are prepared to forge their own path, get others onboard and work hard to reach their goals. With sacrifice and determination success is guaranteed, right? Well, not always. This article focuses on some of the challenges business owners face and how best to remedy them.
Aspiration Versus Reality
Owning and running a business is aspirational for many people - it promises freedom, flexibility and the chance to make a decent amount of money. Whatever your business, and whatever your level of experience, you can’t do and think of everything. You need perspective, insight and an ally to help you develop your business, find the right strategy and make the business work for you, otherwise you’ll end up feeling trapped, stressed and (potentially) going back to the drawing board.
The stats are quite sobering:
Living in A Vacuum?
Business owners hire consultants and coaches because they want an additional focus on what they do and how they do it. In many ways, having a coach is like having a business partner but without the strings. By amplifying their own insights and gaining more clarity on their goals, thinking and overall direction, business owners can make better progress, faster. Without this kind of input, running a business can be lonely, overwhelming and unnecessarily stressful. Plus, it’s easy to lose perspective - especially if you’re a one-person business or your flat-out most of the time.
Finding Your Own Way
“Don’t play games that you don’t understand, even if you see lots of other people making money from them.”
Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
Being an entrepreneur, you may think that you need to run your business according to the ideas of other people or according to traditional models. You don’t. One of my clients is currently increasing his revenue by 300% whilst limiting his working week to 3 days. With the right thinking, anything is possible and running a business that is based on your needs, ideas and values is the most rewarding way to do it.
The job of a coach is to challenge you to find the model that is right and then troubleshoot until it’s been perfected. Building a strategy is then based on firm foundations and executing that with a plan will mean success becomes tangible and achievable.
Stress Is An Inside Job, So Is Success
Many people believe that stress is mainly created by external events and people. In reality, stress is merely triggered by those things (have a look at the bestselling book Invisible Power). The primary reason we get stressed is because of our thinking - and that’s all happening within our mind. The trick is to see how this process works within you. That’s hugely empowering and frees you up from the stress that can plague your day and destroy your clarity of mind. This hugely impacts your business.
Success may mean a nice car, great holiday, paying your mortgage off early and having plenty of money in the bank. All of those things help, but if success is happiness, fulfilment and peace of mind, then it comes down to how you feel inside and the external trappings are just a bonus.
Bearing that in mind, focus on what’s really important and think about what success really looks like - in terms of how you feel, the financial rewards, the relationships that matter, social impact and your own personal peace of mind.
Get Focused, But Stay Balanced
It takes a lot of focus and concentration to run and deliver your business and service to others and it’s easy to forget to look after yourself. You need to keep an eye on your energy, rest well, eat well and exercise well. Here are a few tips:
Know Your Business
This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but many business owners often don’t know (with great accuracy) what’s happening within their businesses - in other words, they don’t have a clear way of seeing (and understanding) the key metrics that are crucial to the well-being of their enterprises. Cash-flow, profit margin, cost of acquisition, most profitable areas of business, customer data, marketing reach etc, all matter. This kind of data is the control panel of your business. Imagine driving without the fuel gauge, speedometer and other dials on your dashboard? If you don’t know your KPIs your business is being run on instinct alone - and that’s stressful and risky.
Enlist The Right Support
Whether it’s a friend, coach, mentor or even an insightful accountant - getting the right kind of support is crucial for success. No-one is an island, and we all need helpful and supportive allies to bounce ideas off, troubleshoot and to maintain perspective. We also need others to keep us on track, help us develop the mindset needed for success, challenge us even - but most importantly to remind us to believe in ourselves.
Want To Find Out More?
If you'd like to explore the benefits of having a coach for you and your business, then feel free to call me on 07717 172 691 or email me.
Finding a Coach is pretty easy, there's a lot of us out there. Some have a qualification, some don't. There's a myriad of organisations training us and several registers. But there's no regulation, no governing body and it's a bit of a free-for-all. Anyone can set up as a Coach, Executive Coach, Mindset Coach, Life Coach or Well-Being Coach. You name it, someone out there will be coaching it.
From visiting a Coach's website you may be able to find out about their approach and what qualifications and experience they have - and even what their clients have said about them. You can see their photo, read their blogs or watch one of their videos. There's no doubt you can get an impression but there's no substitute for being in the room with someone, is there? It's an opportunity to ask the questions you need to ask, see if you feel comfortable with them and generally size your prospective Coach up to see if they're a good match for you.
It's likely your Coaching will take place over a significant period of time - anything from six months to several years. They'll be guiding, motivating and encouraging you to have breakthroughs in every aspect of your life. Trust is paramount. You're going on a journey together and that's why this first session really matters.
More than this though, it's an opportunity to share what's going on in your life and how you think and feel about it all. For me, it's mainly about listening. And that's a privilege. Offering this for free is really the least I can do, if we are going to work together over a longer period.
I always do this. It may take two hours and involve me travelling quite a distance to that first meeting. But it never feels like too much trouble and I have never regretted this way of working. The reason I always offer this is simple: It enables my clients to make a fully informed decision about working with me (or not) and it allows me to decide whether I'm the right person for them.
Some people have labelled this as a loss-leader but I really don't see it like that, because meeting people and listening to where they are at with their lives is always productive. It's about empathy and putting myself in their shoes. For me, it's a gift - as there is always something to be learnt from hearing someone else share. Maybe I should be paying my prospective clients for the first session?
Joking aside, I'm always happy to spend quality time with other human beings, going through their stuff. If they become a client then great, if not, then great. It's never wasted.
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
A client of mine told me recently "you're the closest thing I have to a business partner". We'd been working on increasing his revenue by 400%, troubleshooting his psychological approach to success and working on creating the causes of growth with a thorough and measurable strategy. He's the sole Director of his business and having a coach means he can amplify his own wisdom, get clear on what success really means to him personally and share the journey.
It's a common scenario for leaders. Having a key ally they can work with - someone that can challenge and help them gain deeper insights. Sometimes it's a business partner, consultant or a mentor. Sometimes this person is a coach. For my clients, having that indispensable partner means they get results in a way isn't possible on their own. Plus it's much more fun than taking that lonely path.
Not all leaders seem to be going far together though. The Harvard Business Review reported that half of business leaders feel lonely and that 61% felt this impeded their performance. They added that newly appointed business leaders are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of feeling isolated.
It's no surprise that this problem exists but it seems so avoidable - whether you have a coach or other ally or not. The main issue here is the thinking that keeps us confined within a narrow version of who we are and what others mean to us. A combination of fear, anxiety, and inhibitive beliefs can power our behaviour to such an extent that we end up feeling alone - even if we are surrounded by great people. Our own story within our heads is the biggest challenge we face and that's why sharing the journey with a trusted ally is such a powerful thing.
Amplifying Your Own Power
It seems that whenever we set about tackling a problem, some of our thinking gets in the way. "I can't do this", "what will they think of me?" and a myriad of other thoughts (often accompanied by crippling feelings) can really hold us back.
The one insight that can really make a difference is seeing that these thoughts are just thoughts, just a story. They're not real and they're not us. Once you see that for yourself you can ignore the unhelpful ones and get out of your own way. It's that key insight that can amplify your power in any situation - freeing you up to overcome feelings of isolation and start to improve the relationships that really matter to your business.
Having a coach that understands you and how the mind works means you'll always be on the right track and progress will be easier. It will supercharge your common-sense and make the journey infinitely more productive.