Even Superman Had His Super Friends….

Small Business owners fill multiple roles in their operations, but it is important to realize that success doesn’t come in a vacuum.  As a business owner it is your responsibility to be aware of key roles necessary for business success and to choose the people who will be most able to support and assist you on the journey.
A client recently came to me because her business had hit a plateau and was not progressing past a certain level no matter how she tried to move it forward.  She had been in business for about 2 years and her company had grown steadily until a few months ago.  Her client relationships were excellent, so she couldn’t understand why her monthly sales numbers were not climbing.
During our sessions we came up with some questions for my client to ask herself.  This self-assessment opened her eyes to some surprising information about herself and her business. Some of the questions we asked were:
  • Why did you target this particular market?
  • How did you arrive at your pricing?
  • What about your company has changed in terms of things like capabilities, services and expenses?
  • How have you incorporated your new capabilities into your message?
  • What has been the response of your existing clients to the changes?
She had been so focused on working that she hadn’t realized it was time to hand off functions so she could spend her time doing what she does best, providing her clients with an excellent service.  It was time for her to expand and add team members to help deliver her message.
The addition of a professional marketing company to produce new collateral material that told a more up-to-date story of her company capabilities provided a great tool for bringing in new clients and more business from existing clients.  As a result, her revenues have expanded and margins have increased. She has also acquired new clients, a new team member and bookkeeper.
Naturally, how you build your team depends on many factors, including capital resources, projected revenue and margins.  A thorough look at who is on (or Not on) your team is an important step in the growth of your business. So you have to stop and ask yourself,  Who is on your team?

Fear as a Success Tool: A Personal Story

Fear as Success ToolSometimes our greatest fear leads to our greatest growth. When I first began my private coaching practice, I was terrified of being a visible leader. I did some pretty impressive things, but always gave the credit to someone else and let them shine. Often they didn’t want to accept the credit, but couldn’t convince me to stand in the spotlight. This same situation occurred on an almost regular basis for most of my life. I didn’t recognize the pattern until very recently, when I realized it was the result of growing up in an unstable and high-stress family environment.

One day my coach asked me to write a presentation which I would deliver to him in our next session. Now this was a private session. I would only have an audience of one, and that one was very definitely one of my primary supporters, but just knowing that he was expecting me to speak was enough to send me right into the deepest pit of fear I have, revealing myself and demonstrating leadership. My reaction to this assignment was extreme. On the day I sat down to write my presentation, I found myself quaking and crying uncontrollably.

Now for those who don’t know me, I’m not a shrinking violet type who stays in their comfort zone and lives a quiet, safe little life. Quite the contrary, I’m a world traveler, runner, weight-lifter, very politically engaged and not afraid to venture an opinion about anything on my mind. Despite being an extrovert, I was paralyzed with fear by the prospect of being in the spotlight. I had to dig deep to pinpoint where my fear resided and how to turn it into something positive.

Any one of us can be stuck in place by fear of the unknown. The key to turning fear into an asset is by the process of connecting with your fear in a non-threatening way, so you can observe it without reacting to it. I know it sounds like theoretical talk but it is truly effective. It takes some doing and is most effective when you can work with someone else, like a coach or therapist who can help you stay objective. You will learn so much about the origins of that fear, why it developed and how it is affecting you in the present moment.

Some questions you can ask yourself questions about you fear are:

  • When is the first time I remember this happening?
  • What am I really afraid of?
  • How real is the danger?
  • How has it affected me in the past?
  • How is it affecting me in the present?
  • What would be different if I wasn’t held back by this fear?
  • How much do I want that different result?
  • What am I willing to do to move past this fear?

If you find that fear is holding you back from responding positively to challenges and from achieving success in your business and your life than test yourself by taking one single action step. If you are still unable to move forward positively – reach out to a coach that is trained in helping business owners make impactful next steps toward their vision of success. Remember, “No man is an island complete unto himself.” That includes small business owners!