It’s true. No one knows your business like you do. And no one will ever care about your business the way you do, not your staff, not your friends and probably not even your relatives. But sometimes when you are so close to something it’s hard to step back and be objective when required. How do you know if your business is performing the best it can? Or is this as good as it gets? If you’ve ever wondered whether you should look into getting a business coach, then here are 5 reasons why it might be time to consider it:
You are constantly overwhelmed and in a rut
Do you ever feel like you can’t get on top of the amount of work you have to do? All you can see ahead is more of the same. More ordering, more invoicing, more chasing, I could go on! Don’t worry, many business owners find themselves in this place and it’s not pleasant. That feeling of being overwhelmed, of not being able to see a way out of the rut and a feeling like you are just losing control of it all is a clear sign that you need to take some time out to look at how your business is running. Committing to a business coach will force you to take time out each week to stop working in your business and to work on it. This time will become the most important part of your week as you begin to work through everything that is on top of you and you start to feel in control of everything.
You know what to do, you just don’t do it
Your margins are all over the shop and you don’t know an “A” customer from a “B” customer. When in the week do you break even? Month? You could probably work it out but there just isn’t time. It’s on the to-do list but it keeps getting bumped for the urgent things that crop up every day. You are well aware of what you need to do. You’ve read the books (well you have them), you saw the presentation at your last networking event and you’ve even got a couple of spreadsheets ready to go. But just like the reason 1, when are you going to get around to it? At the end of the day? Yeah, right! A good business coach will set you up with a plan that will itemise everything you need to get done, and before you point me back to the first point about being overwhelmed, will prioritise the tasks and make sure you get it done! That’s right! You will be held accountable and you will feel very very uncomfortable if you haven’t done your homework. Just like being at school, you will have someone making sure you tick those items off your list. And you will also know that it’s not just busy work. You will see the results in your bottom line and your smiling staff (and customers!). Just pause for a second and imagine how good that feels.
You’re working all the time but you seem to have less and less to show for it
When you started you did all the research. Competitors, suppliers, best customers and the right marketing mix. Over time it’s easy to settle into a rut and just keep doing the same old thing – and you know what they say about that! You may think that you know everything there is to know about your business. You are an expert in what you do. But are you an expert in sales, marketing, planning and leadership? All of these factors come into play when you run a business. So while you might be a fantastic chef, photographer, mechanic etc. you may not be all that good at getting the best value out of your business. Your business coach will look at your business from an outsiders perspective, but also with a trained eye for the details of how a business should run. They will identify those areas where you are leaking money and time and will find ways to plug the leak. It might be time to ditch Fred the printer because honestly, he’s not doing you the best deal! You should make money from your business otherwise why are you doing it? Your coach will pull up your socks and get you back on track.
You seem to spend all of your time dealing with staff issues
Do you ever come into work just dreading seeing the staff because you know that as soon as you get there you’ll be hit with every little problem they’re having? Do you feel like your staff are taking advantage of your good nature and just not putting in the effort that you need? Like I said at the beginning, no one will care about your business as much as you do and that goes for staff. They may be right on board with your vision and your goals, but in the end, for them it is a job. It is not the result of their blood sweat and tears that this business exists – it’s only yours, so you can’t expect that they will turn up each day just busting to make your dream come true. However, you are paying them and your success means that they get to keep their jobs! Managing staff is just part of the territory when you have some success, but there may be times when you long for the simpler days of just managing yourself. Fear not! Team leadership and development is all part of a good coaches handbook. They will coach you to coach your team. They will even work with your team to make sure they are on the same page and work together in harmony for ever and ever. Really – it can happen.
You are busting to grow, you want to try a new way but you can’t see the forest for the trees
You are living in the comfort zone. Your business is tracking along nicely and none of the above is happening for you. Congratulations! But….. you have some great ideas. You want to introduce a new product line that is slightly left of centre. You want to try a new marketing strategy, but you’re not sure if you have the nerve. You know you can get into a new market but you don’t know how. Your family and friends are encouraging (or discouraging if that’s your family dynamic!) but how do you know that they’re right? You’ve got that good gut feeling. But any new step starts with worry. Can you risk everything that’s going so well to branch out and grow? Is that sensible? Enter the Coach! This is the person with the experience, the knowledge and enough confidence to question you deeply about why you want to do this. You can bounce your idea off your coach, even when it’s just a small thought and not a fully fleshed out strategy. You can go through your doubts, your instincts and your fears and you can get it all out on the table. You will have to justify it to the coach and be prepared to hear what you might not want to. But when you have an answer, you will be more than ready to make your decision. You may not go with what your coach suggests, but a good coach won’t suggest anything. They will be the sounding board with all of the right questions to help you make the decision to go ahead or not. Inspiration and perspiration will be yours, but you have someone in your corner all the way!
Having a coach is like having an unreasonable friend, they are on your side 100% for the long haul. All they want to do is see you succeed, but they will kick your butt if you make excuses, fall back into bad habits, and give up. I may be biased but I think every business owner needs someone like that!
Like I said at the beginning, maybe you need a coach if this has triggered something in you. Be mindful that throughout this post I have used the term “good coach”. There will be another post soon on what a good coach will mean to you. Keep an eye out for that. I’d love to hear your comments below, or contact me if this has really triggered something and you think you need to do something about it!