One of the biggest issues every small business owner has is that they are small and as such have very few people to bounce new ideas off. Moreover, no employee wants to tell their boss they need to improve for fear of reprisal. However, feedback from a coach or mentor is vital if you ever want to improve at anything.
In an overwhelming number of discussions that I have with clients, when it comes to funding, I hear “I do not want a partner because I want to call all the shots” When I hear this I know there is a systemic issue brewing under the surface because what I hear is “I know everything and I don’t want to be told I should do something differently.”
Professional sports greats like; Wayne Gretzky, Joe Montana, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, and Pele were admittedly the most talented individuals in their respective sports. They were masters of all facets of the game and dominated their peers. Do you know what they all had in common? The answer is they all had a coach.
A coach makes observations and recommends changes to make someone even better through training and guidance. A coach often finds faults in a person and helps them to correct them so they can improve.
Unfortunately, many business owners have a fragile ego. The world around them keeps telling them that they should just get a real job and move on. But the entrepreneur knows they need to persevere to obtain any amount of business success. The last thing they would want is to go out of their way and find a coach who would tell them that they are doing something wrong further bruising their ego. So, most small business owners just chose to avoid conflict and go it alone. Their self-talk keeps reiterating that the world is wrong and that they are right all they needed was to keep going and they would get there. However, if you have bad habits, doing more of it will not make them go away.
Therefore, just as with professional sports players, business owners need coaches too. Sometimes that coach could be someone from outside the business altogether such as a free SCORE mentor or a free Small Business Development Center consultant. Perhaps it could also be a paid business or life coach.
Sometimes a coach might be a business partner that points out things to the other owner to help them improve.
In addition to having business partners and scheduling periodic meetings specifically for the purposes of sharing feedback, in my businesses we also created a volunteer advisory board to get feedback from peers, vendors, and customers. While it is never pleasant to get feedback especially if it is all about your flaws, it is vital if you want to improve.
In a monarchy, the king was like a business owner. Most successful kings use a jester whose job was to make fun of the king. By making fun of the king the jester caused the king to often see things differently from. So, if you want your business to be all it can be, it might be time to find your jester.
Do you have a coach or a jester to help you see where you need to improve?
Related: Check out our Small Business Advice Navigator – your virtual mentor.
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