10 Business Street Smarts

Many business owners or people who are about to start a business have idealistic views about their new venture. People who are experienced in business know that there are some basics and some fundamentals that you must get right if you are to succeed. This article outlines a list of “Street Smarts” which have been distilled from the knowledge and experience of many successful business people. Read them carefully!

1. The fatal mistake of many business people – thinking that because they are a good mechanic, baker, accountant, that they understand what it takes to run a mechanical business, bakery business, accountancy business. The most important skill for any business person is to know how to run a business. How much management & business & marketing training have you invested in yourself?

2. Make sure you clearly understand the concept of working on your business as distinct from working in your business. The most successful business owners spend a great deal of time working on their business – learn from them! Read The E Myth by Michael Gerber – a must read!

3. Work out what it would take in dollars to pay someone to do what you do, for the hours you put into your business. Are you paying yourself the same amount? If not, why not? You are clearly worth it! Many people would argue that if you are not paying yourself that same amount, then you don’t have a business, you have bought yourself a job – and perhaps a low paid one!

4. Learn from other people, especially their mistakes – you cannot live long enough to make them all yourself! This means that you must be willing to embrace change – in every aspect of what you do. The one certainty is that change will continue and increase! The definition of insanity is “doing the same things in the same way and expecting different result.” If you want a different or better outcome – change!

5. Can your business run without you for up to a month? If it cannot, then you have a job, not a business. Are you taking a holiday each year? Why not, your staff do! If you are a one or two person business, then bring in a relief person for the time you are away. Pharmacists, doctors, & dentists, do it all the time – why not mechanics, bakers, accountants or home based businesses?

6. Prepare yourself for this one! If you have had the same accountant, for more than 7 years, then get “a second opinion” from a completely new source. Evaluate their advice against your “regular” and see which is more likely to deliver the lifestyle you want. Two important things to note about this: a) if your adviser advises you against this – what does that tell you? and, b) if your accountant does not understand how and why a business should “deliver a lifestyle”, then it’s time to update your advice.

7. Embrace technology at a personal and business level. If you are not on email and checking it at least every day, then the world is passing you by and you don’t even know it! Among other resources, there are literally thousands of free email newsletters available which will help you make your business more profitable – mechanic, baker, accountant or farmer!

8. To get where you want to go, mix with people who are already there. Talk to the best people in your business – you will learn from them. Avoid the negative complainers – they’ll drag you down. The majority of business today comes from networking.

9. It doesn’t matter how much money your business makes. What matters is how much you keep! Turnover is a very misleading measure of the success of a business. Do not fool yourself (and others) by thinking that a “large” turnover necessarily means a great business.

10. If you are in business, then you are in marketing. The more time you spend on marketing your business, the more profitable your business will become. The single greatest skill to develop and learn and keep developing is marketing. 11. Bonus Point! What have you read or listened to this month? Become thirsty for knowledge and both you and your business will grow.

The Top Ten Myths And Realities About Business Coaching, According To Your Strategic Thinking Coach

I think it is safe to say that there are many preconceived notions about business coaching. Furthermore, some of these notions really are myths rather than reality. In an attempt to provide some insight into what are the major myths about business coaching, I have developed a list of the top ten myths and respective realities that are counter to each myth.

Myth # 1. I really don’t have any problems. I am doing well and don’t need a business coach.
Reality: Maybe this is true, but it is important to understand that business coaching is not about fixing problems. Business coaching is about creating new possibilities and improving yourself.

Myth #2. Business coaching is nothing more than a cleverly disguised way of telling people what to do.
Reality: Effective business coaching focuses on results and uses various approaches to pull solutions from within those being coached rather than the coach telling them what to do.

Myth #3. You have the questions and your business coach has the answers.
Reality: From my perspective as a strategic thinking business coach, this is very far from the truth and reality. As an effective business coach it is just the opposite. Your business coach has the questions and you have the answers within you and your business coach will help you discover them.

Myth #4. Business coaching is only for troubles or poor performers.
Reality: The best business coaching clients are those with potential that is not being realized or people who have hit a hurdle or stumbling block in their development and need coaching to guide them through the impediment.

Myth # 5. Business coaching is just sitting around and listening to people.
Reality: Effective business coaching comes from asking the right questions at the right time. A well thought-out question may be worth hours of listening. However, listening is only useful if it yields enough information to formulate the right questions.

Myth #6. Business coaching is time consuming.
Reality: Reality is just the opposite. Some of the best business coaching happens in brief and sharply focused doses. And remember the old saying about there is never enough time to do it right but there is always enough time to do it over? Effective business coaching will increase the probability of getting it right the first time and therefore save time in the future.

Myth #7. Business coaching is too expensive and only wealthy people can afford their own business coach.
Reality: Maybe this could be true with some business coaches, but certainly not for all business coaches. When speaking with prospective business coaching clients we focus on the value of the business coaching to their own growth and development and their business and personal goals. After that we develop a mutually satisfactory and beneficial financial arrangement.

Myth #8. I can coach myself for free or I can simply talk to my best friend.
Reality: No matter how hard your best friend tries, he or she cannot be unbiased and impartial with you. And you and your best friend will not ask the tough questions that need to be asked and will not bring the benefit of a true outsider’s perspective.

Myth # 9. Men cannot coach women and women cannot coach men.
Reality: Effective business coaching is gender neutral. In fact, sometimes business coaches of the opposite sex can facilitate people seeing issues from the other’s perspective.

Myth #10. A business coach must have a similar personality to yours.
Reality: Business coaching is about growth and development and having a business coach with a different personality will offer fresh perspectives.

The Top Ten Myths And Realities About Business Coaching, According To Your Strategic Thinking Coach
By: J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr., Chief Executive of J. G. Ebersole Associates and The Renaissance Group (TM)

The Dangerous Consequences of Micromanaging Your Business

One of the most dangerous and damaging practices of business owners is MICROMANAGING their business. And this practice is entirely too prevalent in today’s business world and it wastes valuable resources of time, talent and financial assets. It is particularly prevalent in entrepreneurial businesses. And the reason behind that may be rooted in the fact that entrepreneurs are motivated to start their businesses so they could be their own boss, make more money and gain more freedom.

So, with that being said, I need to ask those of you out there who are entrepreneurial business owners a couple of questions. My first question is: If you had to leave your business for an extended period of time, let us say a couple of months, would you come back to a business that is still running smoothly and profitably? My second question is: What would your answer be if we changed the time frame of your absence to two weeks? Let me say that if your answer was anything other than yes, then you probably don’t really own a business, you own a job.

Well guess what? The good news is that you are not alone. It is well known that small business owners are among the hardest working people in the world. However, it cannot be said that they are among the smartest working people in the world. To be successful in today’s business world, it is imperative you adopt and develop a strategic thinking mind-set. As a strategic thinking business coach, I emphasize repeatedly to my clients that a major goal for them is to develop a self-managing and systems-oriented business that still runs predictably and profitably while they are not there. And this enables them to “work on the business” instead of having them only “work in the business.”

The first commitment a business owner must make is to stop acting like an employee and start thinking land acting like a CEO. A transition is necessary for the business owner to think and behave more strategically and less tactically in their role as owner. The business owner must stop micromanaging and delegate. The business owner must start reducing the amount of time they spend involved in the daily transactions of their business.

Michael Gerber implores business owners to implement systems and procedures into their business that ensure daily tasks are completed correctly. In any well run business, all current systems and procedures need to be evaluated based upon results and updated as needed. In addition, documentation for all procedures, policies and systems need to be created to have a reference for employees and new trainees. Another good proactive and strategic business practice is to cross-train your employees before the need arises, not after the panic has set in.

Please read this very carefully – Trust your employees. One of the common major issues I hear from employees in my business coaching practice is that they are not trusted by the owner(s) of the business. What a sad commentary that is on business today. If you cannot trust your employees to complete the daily tasks and act in the best interest of the company, then maybe they shouldn’t be employees. In the long run, the more hands-off you can be, the more time you will have to work on the strategic issues and the larger vision for the business, which is what a business owner needs to do.

Boiling all this down to a single thought: you should run your business; it should not run you, your family or your life. You need to have a systems-dependent business, not an owner-dependent business. Many of these concepts are very challenging for owners. And some owners will never “get it” and will continue in a vicious cycle of turnover in their business and failure to achieve full potential in their business. Other owners will recognize the error of their ways and transition into a new way of thinking and managing. The owners that understand this will survive and thrive, while those who refuse to let go of the “micromanaging mentality” will experience turnover of employees, less than optimal performance of employees, continual dysfunctional behavior and decision-making in their business and therefore be destined to be under -achievers and failures in the long run.

The Dangerous Consequences of Micromanaging Your Business
By: J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr., Chief Executive of J. G. Ebersole Associates and The Renaissance Group (TM)