Winning The Game

For many small business owners, the opportunity to make more money working for themselves than working for someone else was the sole reason they got into business. For others, more control over the future, a layoff, or being tired of working for someone else was motivation to start their companies. Whatever the reason, every small business owner has faced the same problem at some point in their entrepreneurial lives.

“They no longer control the business,” ActionCOACH Josette Goldberg said. “The business controls them.”

The Role of the Business Coach While most business owners already have an attorney and an accountant, and may hire outside sales and marketing counsel in the form of an advertising or PR agency, many entrepreneurs resist the idea of working with a business coach or consultant. Why?

“For a lot of business owners, especially successful owners, there is a fair amount of ego at work,” ActionCOACH Director of Training Dave Holland said. “They have to be open to the idea that success can be leveraged many times over with a few shifts in strategy or systems. “On the other hand, there is also a fair amount of ego in owners who are in the middle of a business that is struggling,” he added. “Reaching out to an outside Business Coach or consultant can be seen as a sign of weakness or failure, when in reality, the opposite is true. Those owners have to be open to the idea that there are other ways of doing business successfully – that may or may not be in line with how they do things already.”

That’s where a Business Coach can help bridge gaps faced by both types of owners.

“For a successful business owner, a Business Coach can help take the company to a new level,” Goldberg says. “For an owner facing challenges, a business coach can help move that company from chaos to control.”

4 areas of mastery:

ActionCOACH defines “mastery” as the first stage of growing any business.

“Mastery is about making sure the business delivers profitably, productively and with enough information to make great decisions,” ActionCOACH Harris says. “It’s about building a good foundation and the owner taking back control.”

Mastery in the ActionCOACH system focuses on 4 areas, namely Destination Mastery, or defining wants; Money Mastery, or knowing how to collect, track, save and spend the money the business earns; Time Mastery, or finding ways to build owner and team productivity, and Delivery Mastery, or making sure the business can make, buy and deliver its products and services with consistency.

“Each of these areas break down further,” Harris says. “But the intent is the same – creating a systemic approach to business from the ground up.

As an ActionCOACH works with owners through Destination Mastery, an owner’s focus is directed to vision, goals, and the underlying reasons why the owner is working so hard to build the business.

“A lot of the Destination Mastery system is built around an individual owner’s identity, values and beliefs – which are different for every owner,” Shea says. “The goal is to get owners moving toward the goals they are really after – using their business to enable them to achieve their dreams.

Money mastery

Numerous studies on small business owners show poor financial management is one of the leading causes of business failure and under performance.

“Good financial management is crucial to the success of business,” ActionCOACH Rich Allen says. “That’s what Money Mastery is all about. It’s about building a foundation to get to profit – which is the most important aspect of any business.”

While profit is vital, there is one number that is equally or more important for the initial success of a company – one that many small business owners have trouble identifying when they first start working with their ActionCOACH.

“Break even is the most important number from a financial management standpoint,” Smith continues. “Most people outside of a business may wonder how an owner could operate without knowing break even. The fact is, many of the owners we work with wonder the same thing – how they could operate without knowing this on a daily and weekly basis.”

Profit margins, reporting, cash flow and budgets. Most owners avoid getting into a good understanding of those numbers and processes, leaving them to their CPA or bookkeeper on a monthly or quarterly basis.

“Doing so leaves the owner operating in the proverbial dark,” Smith says. “Which leads to under performance, or worse yet, a company that struggles to survive.”

Destination mastery

Many business owners start out with a great idea, a unique product, or a service they have developed to fill a perceived or actual need. As the business grows, however, more strategic decisions need to be made if the company is to grow and prosper over time and in the face of competition – which in the modern business environment is global in scale.

“Most owners go into business knowing what they don’t want. Part of being in business for yourself is often a matter of elimination. Someone didn’t want to work for wages anymore. Someone else didn’t want to work for a boss or in corporate environment. Another person didn’t want to travel as much away from home.

“The reverse of that is knowing what you do want,” he continues. “Destination Mastery defines where an owner is now and where he or she wants to be. Only then can you build a business plan that makes sense for both the owner and the business.”

– Brad Sugars

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