According to Harvard Business Review, “The goal of coaching is the goal of good management: To make the most of an organization’s valuable resources.” A Business Coach is focused on creating successful businesses, and helps owners of small and medium-sized businesses with their challenges, no matter what stage their business is at. It encompasses any area of business from marketing to hiring to operations management.
How ignoring creating a thorough strategic plan could sideline your business
As a consultant and business blogger, I see the term “strategy” and “strategic planning” getting thrown around like rice at a wedding. Thankfully, there are many competent consultants that can speak to strategy and strategic planning and deliver on services extremely well.
My fear, however, is that there are many business owners that think about strategy in the same way that they think about taking a vacation or cleaning out the basement; they know that it is important, it is for their benefit, but there is no time to invest right now.
I offer that strategic planning and strategic thinking are essential from day one.
I also offer that strategy should be appropriate for the stage of business that you are in and the available resources. but I digress.
Avoid getting so tripped up by the present that you lose sight of the future
I admire farmers. Just about everything they do, from purchasing livestock to planting seed requires a combination of vision for the future, faith and commitment to see it through.
What makes it more amazing is that despite the number of things that could go wrong, from bad weather to insects to poor seed or livestock quality, they resolve to push beyond the risks to do what they do, every day.
I remember when I was a child, my mother had a vegetable garden where she grew tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans a a few other things. One year, despite everything she did, the garden simply did not produce to the level that she expected. If the garden was our livelihood that could have meant that things would be very rough for us.
What happens when you are a farmer with hundreds of acres of crops and you have a poor season? What if one year, you lose an entire crop and end up having to turn it over only to start over again the following year? Do you give up? Do you stand around and point the finger? Or do you do your homework, figure out what changed and resolve to ensure it is fixed by next year’s growing season?
Thinking about how to get your business to the next level? Here are a couple of thoughts on how you might do so.
If you are like most small business owners, you have built your business over time, adding different products and services to meet the needs of the changing market, changed, explored different business models, ventured into informal partnerships and a slew of other activities to build your company. As a young business, you may have had a swinging door of employees, vendors and contractors that may or may not have added value to your company. You may have toyed with ventures, such as hosting networking events, done joint product launches and joined affiliate networks to increase cash flow.
After all of the blood, sweat and tears, you have to ask yourself how your company has actually grown. Would you say that you have a solid brand that people turn to, regularly, to gain a certain product or service, or are your company still considered “one of many?” Do you find your work time filled with “busyness” or strategically focused activities that will help you move your company toward your vision for it? Do you have a vision for your company…and is it limited?
Are you simply filled with the routine of trying to survive, or have you arrived at the point where you truly have options for what the next phase of your business will look like?
Spotting marketplace trends that will impact your business in order to develop products and services to address those trends When the weather is bad, have you ever seen the drivers that continue to drive as though they are riding on dry pavement, thoroughly convinced that nothing will happen to them? Driving through Atlanta on morning as such I saw a car coming up behind me very quickly. In front of me, there were a number of cars spread across the lanes, leaving one lane open. I thought to myself “this guy is crazy,” as the car went flying past me. Unfortunately, the driver had to swerve around a slower moving vehicle, went into a tail spin and ended up crashing into a concrete barrier that divided the highway. Fortunately, the driver wasn’t going so fast as to actually get hurt, but she (as I later learned) ended up being extremely late for wherever she was going. Plus her vehicle was damaged. Do you run your company like this? Do you continue to operate the same way, day in and day out, regardless of what is going on in the marketplace? Do you find that you are so busy “doing” that you sometimes miss the queues that might suggest to you that you need to make some change or changes in your business? Do you find that fewer people are paying attention to you or purchasing your products and services without any indication of why? Do you find that you are reactive to things that happen in and around your business? Has it cost you?
Staying agile in a rapidly changing marketplace The 21st century has been an amazing time of growth and change around the world. As business leaders, the last 10 years has brought both opportunities and concerns about how, when and where we do business. We have been forced to reconsider old practices and ways of thinking, knowing that what was in the past is in the past; we can learn from them but we have to continue to keep eyes right and moving forward if the expectation is to continue. Right? This type of thinking is the thinking that separates the business leaders who seek to build extraordinary businesses from those who are just along for the ride. These are the business leaders that are thinking strategically.
Signals of the best time to visit or revisit your company’s strategy.
Poor productivity is one of the biggest time-wasters small business leaders face. Whether spending time on Social Media or other non-productive activities, all of these things take time and money out of our day. While there are the normal “time wasters” that we might use as down time or to recharge, there are those things that we do to waste time that we don’t even pay attention to.