Running a small to medium sized business can be very lonely. As they say, “it’s lonely at the top”. Knowing who to turn to can often be a huge challenge. Often our life partner/husband/wife doesn’t understand business well. We can hardly ask our staff “how do I get you to do your job better?” or ask a client “how do I put my rates up?” So who are the 3 main people you should turn to for help with your business?
- Mentors — these are people who are most likely experienced and successful business owners. They are older, wiser, more experienced and someone you trust. They will guide you in a general sense. For a child, often an uncle or grandparent is a mentor. Mentoring is relationship focussed and is more about developing your professional or personal success, rather than specific business success.
- Coaches – these are people who are more task orientated and are performance driven. Do you want to increase your sales success rate, or improve your bottom line, or increase client or staff retention rates? Then you should consult with a coach, rather than a mentor. I have personally worked with a business coach for almost 6 years and it has had a hugely positive impact on my business. Whilst we have touched on mentoring topics (in small ways), we are definitely performance and results focussed. Your coach (and your mentor) is someone who works for you and has your best interests at heart. You can share your challenges with your coach, frustrations and obstructions, and they will work with you to find the best possible outcome. Many people believe they cannot afford a coach, but from my own experience (and those of bookkeeping clients who use a coach) I know that a good coach pays for him/herself tenfold over.
- Consultants – these will be specialists in their area and include Marketing Specialists, SEO Experts, Human Resources Consultants, Financial Advisors, Accountants and even Bookkeeping Consultants. You may only need their services for a project, aspect or part of your business, but they will be the best person for that aspect of your business. Buying an hour or two of their time could save you thousands. If you needed heart surgery, would you use a General Practitioner? Would you seek out a Podiatrist? Of course not! You would seek out an expert in that field … just as you do with these consultants.
As you can see, you are in fact not alone. You just need to determine what your needs are, and who will be the best person for the task. Word of mouth can be a great way to get in touch with one of these resources. I know many great business advisors, so feel free to contact me for a recommendation.