*the names of all the clients have been changed to protect comfidentiality
So often starting a business or contemplating growing your business to the next level can lead to overwhelm. You think you know what you need to do but somehow it all seems a bit of a muddle.
Some of the business success stories below may resonate with you and show how my coaching helped clients who came to me for guidance on how to start a new business or move forward in the successful business they already have.
John had started his engineer business a few years ago and now had as much work as he could handle in a competitive field. The business was a success.
But John was exhausted, working long hours, taking work home and generally bogged down in the business. He was bored and unmotivated with the whole thing. His wife had suggested some life coaching to help him get out of this overwhelm and back to the family life and hobbies he used to enjoy.
John was suffering from the trap many small business people fall into - they think they have to do everything (or almost everything) themselves.
He had taken on one staff member to help in the office and take the pressure off him, but was reluctant to give him full responsibility for anything as we wasn’t sure he was the right person for the job of project manager that would take the pressure off him.
He was still doing all the quotes and dealing with contractors himself.
So far as as the future of his business was concerned, he couldn’t see the wood for the trees. He acknowledged his work and life balance was way out of kilter and he wasn’t spending enough time with his wife or two young children and had let go of activities he used to enjoy both for himself and with them.
With coaching, John realised he had to step back from “doingness” of the business and look forward and clarify where he wanted the business to be in five years and then 10 years time when he would like to retire. Then we talked about what we needed to do to achieve that.
One of the things he realised was he needed to let go of his fear of delegation (in case it didn't work out), if ever he was to get out of the overwhelm he was in.
The first step was to give his existing member of staff Allen, more responsibility as a project manager to see how that would work. And to make sure he kept checking in with him on how it was going. He also asked Allen to start creating an operations manual, so that if he left the company at any time, he wouldn’t have to start training someone else from scratch.
John had a son who he was hoping would take over the business from him when the time came to retire. But he hadn’t got around to talking to him about this succession plan. He acknowledged he need to do this and fortunately the son was more than willing to come into the company and learn the ropes to see if this was something he could commit to.
We also went through all the jobs John was doing himself to see what could be delegated. He started to look at employing or outsourcing some of these tasks not as drain on the business finances, but as an investment in the future.
So John soon started to see there was light at the end of the tunnel and started to feel more positive and motivated and able to spend more time with his family.
If you know it is time to make some changes to move your business forward, but are not sure what to do, I'll help you identify what needs to happen and take the uncertainty out of moving forward with confidence.
We'll also make sure you get back to enjoying your business as well as keeping a balanced life.
Francis decided to give up a well paid senior corporate marketing career to follow her dream of creating a unique and stylish fashion accessory. She came to me for coaching about how to transition from the corporate world to the world of small business.
One of he first things we had to address was that Francis no longer had a multitude of departments available at the press of a button to use as a resource or pass her problems on for solution. She would have sole responsibility for designing, manufacturing, marketing, administration, accounts and distribution.
Francis just didn’t know where to start.
I got her to do a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) The strengths, of course, were designing and marketing. On the weakness side were manufacturing setting up and keeping accounting records and distribution of her products.
The opportunities were good. Plenty of people had told her they loved her designs and she had even had interest from a buyer for a large department store.
One of the threats was distribution. Although she might have a great product, no distribution channels meant her products would just sit in her garage. Another was that record keeping and accounting were not something she was good at or enjoyed doing which tied in with the weaknesses.
Although Francis was starting small working by from from home, she realised she still had to think big and outsource those weaknesses so she could concentrate on what would be the lifeblood of the business - innovative design and good customer service.
So, right from the planning stage, she started creating a team to support her business. Her accountant recommended a bookkeeper who would set up and maintain her business systems. She found a factory where she could get her designs manufactured and sourced a distributor of fashion accessories who was enthusiastic about her designs.
This enabled her to know just what she would need to charge for her accessories to make a suitable profit.
With all this in place, she could get down to that all important design work and a strategy for marketing.
Without the clarity, Francis may just have ended up with a pile of unsold accessories, a shoebox full of paperwork and exhaustion.
If you come to me for coaching on starting a new business, the first thing we will do is help you set a clear goal.
I'll also coach you to make sure the business path is authentic for you!
Yes small business isn’t for everyone. We'll then work your way though a SWOT Analysis to get you on the right track. Then I’ll be there as your sounding board and to hold your hand to keep you moving and motivated.
Marian a home based event organiser, was struggling to get new clients and work efficiently. She had set it up in the corner of her living room and although she had all the right equipment it just didn't feel right.
I got Marian to make a list of all the things she was putting up with in her office space, what she was tolerating and what often frustrated her and took her energy. To her surprise and, in fact horror, she realised she was putting up with a lot.
She was tolerating glare from the morning sun on her computer. Her desk that was too small and was often messy. There was paperwork in boxes and nowhere comfortable to sit when she was on long conference calls.
She also felt she could never really "go home" from work.
No wonder her productivity and ability to get new projects was suffering!
As her daughter had recently moved out, instead of keeping her room for rare visits, Marian moved the office into that room and created a proper workable office.
She immediately had space for a bigger desk and an armchair, and she could position the computer so it had no glare. Now that she didn't have to worry about her living room looking "officey" she invested in a proper filing cabinet
Her living room was once again a work-free space to come home to.
It was no coincidence that, once she had handled all this, her energy, productivity and income started to increase significantly.
I find often when someone want to move forward in their career they can’t see the wood for the trees (or what to do first).
As your coach I would work with you to get clear on your career goal, what needs to happen step-by-step to move forward and what obstacles you might need to handle.
There are goals to be achieved for all areas of coaching, so if there is another area you are looking for help with, choose one of the images below for more about how I can coach you to move forward in all areas of your life...