Dealing with the significant fears and issues in business
Having worked with numerous diverse business owners over the past seven years of coaching, those that have experienced my coaching style know that I don't do simplistic motivational cuddles or pats on the back stating everything in the garden will be rosy. That method of coaching is of no use to anyone, in my opinion. My style is about analysing and creating tangible facts and figures and using that forensic detail to reveal the opportunities ahead and empower the business owners to make informed strategic decisions.
The financial controls, understandings and reports are the initial focus, and I am meticulous in my methodologies. The financial statements should give you comprehensive knowledge of the businesses trading performance; no later than two weeks after the month-end. When you relate them to the culture of the company, the operations and customer-facing activities, marketing, sales and customer experience, the figures are an accumulation of insight and knowledge. The kind of substantive information we all seek when looking to develop, becoming more successful and enhancing our brands' profitability.
Replace fear with opportunity and inevitability with certainty.
It is easy in business to take your finger off the pulse or become complacent. If you do this for too long, you become part of those business failure statistics. I find that very frustrating; most of the company's that have ceased to exist could have avoided that outcome, through improved controls and longer-term planning, including decisive decision making stemming the receding tide.
When you strip away the business emotions, day-to-day noise and reactionary distractions, you focus on precise factual numbers. Without exception, every business success monitors their management of percentile increases on leads, conversion rates, margins, costs, prices and profits; failures don't.
Why go there? The turmoil of business failure emotionally and financially draining.
Before I embarked on my business coaching career, I founded and developed a thriving food manufacturing company. When the company started to become a significant brand in its market sector, in 2000, it took a huge hit, losing its largest national retail customer. At that time, I was getting married three days later on Saturday, 3rd June 2000, and subsequently faced an incredibly severe and traumatic period. The business was very healthy to that point, but the loss of a substantial amount of turnover, 55%, was untenable, especially on the back of the investment made to achieve the technical and operational standards required to manufacture their premium products. The choices were either send the company into administration or undertake a CVA. Owing to our 97% supplier support, we chose the latter, coming out of the CVA in six months; learning a great deal from the experience. That traumatic period led the company to make some radical decisions, eventually becoming incredibly profitable in an industry of tight margins, and we grew to become a robust and innovative business once again. The turmoil, worry and the fear of that particular moment in my business career were almost unbearable. A considerable amount of stress and the personal consequences if the company hadn't performed on the back of extreme adversity were unthinkable. If you have ever experienced that in business, you will fully appreciate those feelings.
What that experience taught me at the time, and that lesson is just as prevalent today as it was then, is that knowledge in your business model and having absolute clarity with your decisions doesn't only guarantee survival. The business was continuously developing before that particular client pulled their business with us in a fifteen-minute conversation. That kind of clarity guarantees success, and even if the figures demonstrate a period of difficulty, they focus the mind on finding the solutions to get a business back on track, profitable and a pleasure to be leading.
I have heard the saying that 'most businesses fail eventually' the statistics prove the point. They probably do, but that isn't an option any of us want to experience, and it certainly can be avoided in almost all cases. Why allow that to happen?