As a business mentor, my journey with the business owner normally takes on a familiar pattern. Invariably the owner knows of any issues in the business and can be quite vociferous in expressing their concerns. They have a pretty good idea of the areas where improvements can be made, but don’t always have the time to implement changes, or indeed know where to start. Some business leaders are too busy firefighting to find the time to work out that all important plan, or if the plan is there, they need that confidence before they take on further risk. However, perceived risk is greatly reduced with a confident and a well-executed plan!
Working through the coaching and mentoring process involves not only changes within the business, but a journey to much greater understanding of the potential the business has for growth. That often involves a change of mindset. If you ask an accountant how many of their clients are in long periods of stagnation, the percentage would be high. Those business owners feel they have hit a brick wall, and are really not focusing on the necessary steps to induce further growth. If you look closely at a business where changes have been made, and the success has arrived post a period of stagnation, the common denominator comes down to the business owner having taken control, changed their mind set, and became confident in delivering their plans.
The other commonality, which has been a feature of many business surveys is the lack of funds or working capital to explore that next stage of growth. So often, I hear that funding isn’t available but that isn’t the case – the business just needs to be a more attractive prospect with a highly determined business plan. When people voice frustration with barriers to funding, there is often a lack of confidence in their own planning and viability.
'What is really holding most businesses back is a lack of direction,
not funds. You are a great deal more risk adverse without the knowledge
of the direction you wish to take, and when you are confident in your
planning, you will find the means to carry out that plan.'
The moral of this story, is don’t dive in at the deep end until you have done the planning. This is the role of a Business Mentor and Coach; to help you implement that plan and instil the confidence and focus to deliver it. The biggest part of my role as a business mentor and coach is to keep business owners on track!
So you have a plan, you are confident in delivering it, but now need the funds
Funding is of course a more difficult to obtain in the current economic climate, and the banks certainly want to take control of your assets where they can.The reality is that banks are generally more risk averse than the business owners themselves and you have to jump through hoops to convince them. In most cases they will want a second charge over your assets, or at the very least a control over the book debt.
However, other funding streams are now coming online, with independent advisory bodies who provide funding mechanisms for business growth. NWES is a typical example, and have a team of experts who not only advise on finance, but also the available grants for businesses. You also have Funding Circle which is a government backed programme, boasting current lending to businesses at just under £1.5Bn. Do some research, or work with someone who is experienced in accessing finance and you’ll find that there many funding streams available alongside the banks.
My advice is don’t even embark on any borrowing until you have your plan or strategy in place, and of course you have the confidence to deliver it. Your next stage in business growth requires greater knowledge, 110% belief in your convictions, and the necessary drive and determination to succeed.