DEALING WITH BUSINESS PROBLEMS
Running a business means being a problem solver. Any number of snags, major or minor, can pop up at any time. Business owners tend to get used to finding quick ways of neutralising these problems so that their companies can keep ticking along.
Which is all well and good when the problems are small, or easy to fix, or you’ve tackled them many times. The thing is, they aren’t all like that.
Some problems need careful consideration to solve. That means spending time on them, something which is always in short supply. Some might be expedited with some external advice. And this is where regular business coaching can be beneficial – giving you the time and advice you need to tackle those issues that aren’t so easily fixed.
Download our free tax guide for musicians.
Here are the top seven issues I hear from business owners through our regular coaching sessions. No names, no pack drill of course. But you might find some of these familiar.
I’ve got a problem with a staff member
By far the most common problem is dealing with staff. We shouldn’t be surprised. Humans are a complex mob. We can’t expect that working with them is always going to be smooth sailing.
My role as a coach here is to listen to the staffing problem and try to see if from both the employer’s and the staff member’s perspective. And then to add another layer on top: what’s best for the business?
It’s useful to have the external perspective of someone who’s employed and managed staff before. And a coaching session is a useful safe place for employers to speak and to share some of the observations they can’t share with their staff. But it’s more than just offering a sympathetic ear; it’s a chance to frankly canvas all the options and come up with solutions.
I don’t know where my business is heading
Very early on in a coaching relationship, the question will be asked: what are you trying to achieve with your business? A clear, simple answer is rare. Because that’s a really hard question and one which can change frequently throughout a business’s lifecycle. But having an answer to it helps put all the other elements of a business in perspective.
A coach helps you achieve something, so he/she will want to know what it is you’re striving for. If you don’t know, they’ll help you to tease it out. Often the answers are surprising, but they never fail to be enlightening and the focus they provide can be invaluable.
I have some tough decisions to make
Some decisions are not clear cut. Consequences can be unclear. No-one wants to make them alone, but if you’re the boss, you often have to.
Should I take on a business partner? Should I give up on that project which is faltering? Should I let that employee go? Should I start preparing my business for sale? All of these are examples of questions raised at our coaching sessions.
We answer these questions by going back to basics: what’s the fundamental problem we’re trying to solve? Have we considered all the options? Is there a better way?
Which makes it sound clean and methodical. It’s often not. But what helps is having an objective adviser to talk these issues through with. Sometimes it’s in the explaining of a tough decision to someone new, that the answer becomes clear.
It’s all getting on top of me
Operations, production, marketing, development, sales, HR, legals, finances… does the list never end? And the problem for a business owner isn’t just how to get it all done. It’s finding the time to get it done and have a life of your own. See the family. Read the occasional book. Surely it wasn’t meant to be this hard?
Here your coach’s role is in prioritizing and putting things into perspective. What are the things which have the greatest impact on your business? We tackle those first. What staff and resources do you have around you? We ensure you’re making the maximum use of those. Think you can’t take a break? Get out your diary, we’re making it happen.
Your coach is your guide through that jungle. Let them wield that machete.
I’m working all the time but I never have any money
This is where we need to look at the numbers. Where’s the money coming from and where’s it going? How can we get smarter systems in place to save you time? And how can we tighten things up to put more dollars in your pocket?
It’s the sort of thing you never seem to have time to do, but your coach carves out that time for you and sometimes forces you to look at the things you’ve been turning a blind eye to.
I need to drum up more business
So let’s reinvigorate your sales and marketing and get you motivated to chase the work again. There’s no magic wand here. But a coach can bring a new perspective to this problem and help you brainstorm new approaches.
I get dragged back into working in the business
Another common complaint. Regular coaching sessions will give you the time to think about the bigger picture issues. That’s because your coach doesn’t fixate on the day to day operations; at each session they’ll ask what you have done to progress the strategic moves you want to make. They keep you focused and won’t let you off the hook.