Regardless of your industry, every business owner has faced the same challenge – balancing working “in” the business and “on” the business. Our top priority is caring for the customer, ensuring their experience with your company is stellar, and that you do whatever it takes to meet and exceed their hopes for a great result. As business owners, when we are serving our top clients, we are proud that we can put our talents and experience to good use by solving their issues and meeting their needs.
We serve, we get paid, we feel great. End of story? Not quite.
It’s rare to encounter a business owner who becomes excited at the prospect of setting aside several hours to build a strategic plan. Yet, for many small businesses, this is the very activity that can make the difference between “just scraping by” and setting your growth goals into motion.
How is your business doing in Q1 2023? Are you experiencing growth – seeing high turnover – or does it feel sluggish and stagnant wherever you look? Even if things appear to be going well, do you have sustainable success locked down in a foolproof formula? Every business owner can agree on one thing – we want success now, this year, and for the future life of our company.
If you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing, and don’t understand why results aren’t getting any better, let’s agree that in order for new and better results to come about, we need to introduce new and better things. Looking at each facet of your company or organization, there may be one or more areas that could use a jumpstart to ensure success. Take an objective view of what’s not working to your expectations. Then we can strive to understand why.
Every company, small business, and non-profit organization dreams of having a high-performing team in place. This shows up as putting the right talent in the right seats for ideation, project distribution, and harmonious growth. While in reality, humans do have foibles and personality quirks, creating your dream team is possible.
Before you tap those high performers on the shoulder, you’ll want to take a close look at your current environment. Is it ready to welcome a disparate and talented group that will apply their talents for growth in your company? A great team thrives in an organization that features a mixture of buttoned-up processes and room for creative decision-making. They want guidance but also freedom to push your organization to the next level.
If you’re a product creator, it’s not surprising that you may have considered exporting your goods outside of the U.S. But for those of us who provide business services that can be delivered virtually, did you know you can export that as well? You can!
You don’t have to have something physical to pack up and mail - you can sell many things abroad that can be considered an export.
This is fabulous news for trainers, information technology, marketing and advertising agencies, graphic and web designers, coaches, and consultants to name a few.
After working with great clients here in the USA, I decided to explore a new growth strategy and export my coaching services to a similar target audience abroad.
As a business coach who specializes in Leadership Development, I can understand the common misconception that a “coach” and a “consultant” are interchangeable. So if you’re looking to bring on a coach or a consultant into your company, let’s clarify who’s who and what they do.
Consultants are problem solvers. Consultants are brought in for the development of a company. They typically are an expert in a particular field and have a wide area of knowledge in a specific subject. They have had the experience of dealing with the challenge that’s in front of your company.
They eye your organization’s situation objectively and analyze the data to give you insight on what’s not working. Consultants partner with the leadership in your company on how to fix it. Consultants can save their clients time, increase revenue, and maintain resources
Coaches are people developers. They don’t tell their clients what to do; they ask questions. They act as a mirror to help you look inside yourself, so you can not only solve this problem, but maximize your potential in all areas of your life.”
In today’s fast-paced business environment of constant change and increasing uncertainty, successful leaders are those who are certain in knowing where they are currently, fearless in deciding where they should aim to be, and confident in choosing how they will get there. It’s no longer enough to “manage change"; today’s leaders must thrive on it!
A leader combines the vision and curiosity of a dreamer with the practical building skills of an architect. A leader is goal-directed, looking to attain measurable outcome goals with confidence and determination. Goals give an effective leader meaning and purpose and serve as motivation in pursuit of organizational and individual success.
Do you suffer from a fear of mistakes? Many of us do, especially when we’re a business owner, with responsibility for the livelihoods of our employees and business partners. We think about the possible consequences of making the wrong choice and how it will affect the growth trajectory of the company as well as those supporting it.
Why and how did I arrive at becoming not only a coach / consultant but also a business owner? As always, the story is never a straight line. I was recalling my journey with a friend recently and we saw many connections between my past corporate career and my role in the business world today.
In my corporate beginnings, I started in customer service, listening to customer complaints and requests and giving them the information they sought in a calm and friendly manner. Diverse opportunities soon came my way as my fluency in Spanish and English enabled me to move around within the company.
Ask any entrepreneur about how their company began and you will hear the passion in their voice as they tell you their business’ origin story. Here is an entity you created on your own: from ideation to developing a vision and mission, to proof of concept.
And if you dedicate yourself to developing your company, it won’t be long until you find yourself so busy, that you begin to worry something might fall through the cracks. You can’t afford to disappoint a customer, so the workload has taken over your life.
As much as the business was all yours, it’s time to plan on building a team. Some business owners have a hard time giving up control, convinced they’re the only one who can make it work. That’s a dangerous thought. Soon you find yourself missing out on a full night’s sleep. You’re hurriedly eating meals over the computer. And sadly, your family doesn’t get as much attention from you as they need.
How open-minded do you believe you are? We all believe we are objective thinkers. The fact is that the way we view a situation often prevents us from seeing other things that could be right in front of us. As humans, we’ve been conditioned by our education and culture to see things the way that we do. In fact, the last time any of us truly had a pure, objective, open-minded thought was in infancy! After that, the world took over in shaping our thinking and perception.
Our conditioning impacts how we view our roles as leaders. When you recall some leaders you’ve admired – what traits did they demonstrate that caught your attention? Do you think those traits are inherent or is it more likely their life’s journey molded them into the leaders they are?
It’s a well known fact that many organizations want to thrive, to succeed, to surpass past performance. Ironically, it’s also an established fact that very few are ready and willing to embrace the discomfort of change. Even though we realize the futility, we all want better results by doing the exact same things we’ve always done.
Well it can’t hurt to dream, right? Except the longer you stay in the safety of familiarity, you may see other companies break out of the routines and rituals and forge ahead, leaving you and your team behind.
Facing the Barriers To Change
Why is it so hard to make impactful changes in your organization? Aside from the discomfort of venturing into unknown territory, there are other factors that impede your every step toward progress. For one, the people around you who don’t agree with a change in strategy will use everything in their power to pull you back, away from doing things differently. They may openly question you, “what are you thinking of? Why are you trying this?” to the point where you begin to doubt and question yourself, “can I really do this – should I? How will I know if it’s going to pay off in the end?”
If you succumb to all the doubts, you may find it more comforting to give up the endeavor to shake things up in your company or department. And people will be fine with that – no more worries about having to learn, adapt and adhere to The New Thing – everyone settles back into The Thing We Know.
But with comfort and sameness comes no movement forward. Consider what life would be like if we all resisted a new concept – we would be riding horses and hand writing letters by the light of our fireplace.
Can You Progress and Succeed Without Change?
Great leaders acknowledge the burden that is change, respect what must be done, prepare as much as they can, and then move forward. Those who don’t want to do the work of embracing a new reality are the ones who give in to fear, do what they can to avoid conflict, and find it difficult to see a purpose behind the change. Like a pool of trapped water, everyone becomes stagnant. Eventually people working without purpose get burned out.
None of this, of course, is a recipe for success. As a leader, you will need to be open to change; not just once, but constantly. Business is a never-ending journey, so a great leader will need to welcome the opportunity to sharpen the skills it takes to navigate and surmount all the obstacles they encounter.
Prepare Yourself and Your Team For New Possibilities
Once you set your mind to this path, you’ll realize that meeting new concepts and challenges can be exciting. Steering your team through the whirlwind of new possibilities can be confusing and frustrating at first, but once you recognize the areas in which your team has skills and talent, your leadership can guide them to accomplish more than they had imagined. And when your team sees that you trust them to handle these difficulties, they find it easier to believe in themselves.
One way not to get ahead of yourself or set unreasonable expectations is to ground yourself with what you and your team already do well. Look around at what is working perfectly well and determine what processes you can keep, and what needs to be slightly modified. No sense in throwing away everything and starting from scratch. Take advantage of your team's collective knowledge and expertise.
Don’t Let Change Become a Runaway Train
Once the training wheels are off and you find that accepting change has garnered great results, be careful that you don’t get swept up by the thrill of innovation and change. Timing is everything, as they say, so schedule new products or processes or the addition of new people when the organization is ready to support it and you’ve established a strong foundation. Sometimes the greatest results can be uncovered by the smallest of modifications, so don’t overlook the little details.
Where is your competition spending all their time and attention? What got left unattended, unnoticed? How can you discover customer needs that are not being met by other companies?
And finally, let’s recognize the biggest advantage you have – listening to your customers, what they need, what they want, what they love about your organization, and what no one else is providing. Customer voice and feedback is essential to understand and quantify your need to change and your achievement of results.
Change is never easy but it is necessary. You can fight it every step of the way or welcome it as a new adventure. If your organization, or you as a leader, are finding it challenging to open the door to change, I welcome you to schedule a call so we can explore the possibilities.
The business journey is often a messy one. Just when you onboard new clients, some employees are giving you a headache – or the other way around. Many business owners are suffering from overwork and overwhelm by multiple problems flying at them at once.
And just when someone suggests that working with a business coach or consultant might be in order, your initial reaction is that it would be a mistake. Business coaches will give you tasks and hold you accountable; your workload has already maxed you out, so why on earth would you eke out even more time for meetings and sign up for more to-do’s?
For anyone who finds selling an awkward process, it may help you to know that the act of “selling” really involves two counterbalancing pieces. Successful selling comes from recognizing the natural rhythm between buyer and seller. Your buying and selling process happens concurrently: you’re selling to a prospect at the same time that your client is buying. When you’re communicating the value and benefits of your service, your aim is to do so in a way that gives them the chance to hear you and gain a natural understanding.
Team meetings, LinkedIn updates, phone calls and text messages, networking conversations, and the constant flow of emails brings us ideas, information, and ceaseless communication at lightening speed all day, every day. It seems we are constantly bombarded with ideas. We can no longer take the time to read everything coming our way, so we skim. It appears to take far longer to evaluate whether a new idea fits our business model, is aligned with our brand, and helps us move closer to our mission and vision.
So how can a business that’s focused on growth slow down enough to evaluate the influx of possibilities? How can we decide which ideas deserve further attention and how do we use that new knowledge to make important decisions?
At the end of your business day, are you asking yourself: “Where did the day go?” and “Why didn’t I meet the objectives I set out to accomplish?”
Goals help us get to where we want to go, and keep us focused on our chosen path. Without goals to follow, we are going through the day to day, mostly in reactive mode. We should not only set goals, we should be encouraged and determined to meet them. We know the world seems to have other plans–new items get dropped on us, and our original goals for the day are left unattained. You feel defeated.
“There’s just not enough time in the day” is a phrase we can fall back on too quickly. In truth, it’s up to us to decide what we’ll do with the time we have. Our own decisions will determine if we stick unyieldingly to our original list of things to accomplish that day or allow ourselves to get distracted by someone else’s idea of what’s important.
Here is a riddle: If four green frogs are sitting on a log, and 2 decide to jump off, how many frogs are left sitting on the log?
Answer: Four green frogs are left sitting on the log. Because deciding to do something is not doing it!