Frank has a strong vision of the business he is creating yet everyday he does things that sabotage his success. I met with Frank for the second time yesterday. Our first conversation was about his business – mostly the facts. The meeting yesterday was to assess the state of his business and create a business development plan for the year.
Frank was full of bravado that I knew masked a deep fear so I delved. He kept saying he was moving forward, making changes, etc. I could see his uncertainty and fear behind this. He was not going to be successful without being honest with himself. His wife, partner and bookkeeper told him they need $30,000 per month to survive, pay bills and put food on the table. They have been generating $15,000/mo. since the beginning of the year. They are at risk of loosing this business and Frank was hiding.
We talk about what it would take to turn this around. Sales was his answer. Who does sales for the business? He does. How much time does he spend doing sales? Not enough. Where does he spend his time? Responding to what comes up.
These answers are not uncommon. Frank is getting in the way of the success of his business. He is scared so he does those things during the day that make him feel good and valued. He is very good at solving customer problems. They love him so given the choice of helping someone who loves him versus making sales calls he choses the former. He is working within his comfort zone, what feels good and is validating. I understand why he does this though when we want to create a change it means getting out of our comfort zone, doing something new that will make a real difference and create the change that is needed.
He defended his need to serve his customers. I challenged him asking if sacrificing his business was worth making his customers happy at this critical juncture. We created a plan to do both. The plan included daily sales efforts which he avoids and will find any reason to do otherwise as well as time to work with customers. Both times of the day are important and cannot replace each other.
At the end of the consultation Frank thanked me for making him get out of his bravado, hiding and helping him face the reality of the weaknesses in his business. Now he feels he is ready to address them to move his company into profitability. His next step was to complete the business development plan for 2014 that we started. This will help him stay focused on the high value tasks and not hide dong what he makes him comfortable and that he enjoys doing.
Frank is not unlike most business owners. If any of this rings true for you then it is time to get out of your comfort zone. Take the steps that are uncomfortable but will make a real difference.
Best wishes on your success, Kay