The business world is not always a nice place. At times, at the hand of your clients and or competitors, a small business owner may be challenged to discard the guiding values which were identified when the business was founded.
The life of a business coach is somewhat like that of a confessor. Some small businesses feel that the only way they can compete and “get ahead” is to “temporarily” put aside their values and to do whatever it takes to survive. My best approach when faced with such a client is to let them talk and for me to listen.
Discouragement, a lack of confidence and frustration on the part of the owner, I find, is not the fault of competitors or clients, it rests squarely on the shoulders of the owner. When a small business owner reaches such a state of mind, production starts declining and the “woe is me” syndrome starts to take over.
I am sure that most small business owners have reached such a point in their business lives. Some can snap out of it on their own, others let their business disintegrate until it has to be closed.
When faced with this situation, I encourage the owner to step away from daily business activities and spend a day, or more if necessary, re-creating the start of the business.
In a structured session we go back to the very beginning and look at the reasons the business was started. What were the goals and aspirations, both for the owner and the new company? The next step is to recreate the history of the company from the start to the present time. By using a “business life chart” we can visually look at the history of the company, the high points as w ell as the low points.
A tremendous amount of insight is gained by looking at the marketing, the finances, office systems, as well as the other aspects that make up the internal and external operations of a company.
This great exercise is one that is seldom employed by small business owners because they are either too busy or don’t fully understand its value. During this process both the good and bad habits are exposed and by understanding where they came from and what they did to arrive to this point, a new enthusiasm is found and a new beginning happens.
Armed with new action-based marketing, systems and financial plan, the owner can stay true to the original values upon which the company was founded. And yes, a new and much stronger company emerges.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
The new small business revolution is coming.(2nd quarter of 2013) Be the first to learn about it and to take advantage of the opportunities by subscribing to this blog at www.strategicduck.com
Nick J. Petra CFP