As a business coach for over eighteen years, I can declare with the utmost confidence that one of the greatest enemies of small business owners is BUSYNESS. As such, owners can be their own worst enemy. They are so busy scrambling, putting out fires, chasing distractions, getting interrupted, and getting lost in unimportant details that they don’t see the big picture and don’t spend the time and effort designing their businesses and lives to work better and to be so much more. This Growth Coach Blog will help you to get more out of your business and life … but, you must be willing to slow down and THINK.
As a business owner, what’s your greatest resource that costs you nothing to use? That’s right, your brain. When properly utilized and focused, your brain can transform your business and life for the better … like nothing else can. But how often do you fully engage and leverage this powerful resource? How often do you slow down and make the time to think deeply about your business? To think, plan and write in a quiet setting with minimal interruptions or distractions? Probably not too often. For your business to change, that habit must change.
Odds are you feel that you are too busy, too frazzled, too involved, or too stressed to take the time to think and plan. But that’s the point! You are overworked, overwhelmed and feel like a prisoner to your business precisely because you don’t take the proper time to think, plan and write. Since The Growth Coach Franchise System serves several thousand small business owners each year, I can tell you with certainty that most troubles and problems faced by small business owners are not only self-inflicted but come about because owners are too busy … they do not schedule enough time to THINK. They are simply too busy to be effective, strategic, focused and productive. That sad situation needs to change.
Since your brain is your idea and solution factory, it should be operating at optimal capacity and producing a tremendous output of good ideas and solutions each and every week. However, because of busyness, distractions, interruptions, and constant fire drills, owners do not spend enough quiet time thinking and as a result, their production level of good ideas is suppressed.
Let’s face reality. When was the last time you scheduled time by yourself in a quiet setting to think without distractions and interruptions? To reflect and think without e-mails popping up, employees asking questions, phones ringing, a Blackberry buzzing, or countless other low-value distractions screaming for your attention? Maybe it’s when you first planned your business or maybe once a quarter or once a year. That’s no where near sufficient!
For you and your business to be at your best, you need to schedule a weekly thinking appointment with yourself.
As an entrepreneur, your key responsibilities are to create and sell a vision, build systems and a team, lead others and keep them accountable, grow your business and simply THINK … think up new and better ideas and approaches, create innovations, and properly identify problems and solutions with clarity. You should be a major creator of ideas yourself and foster an environment where your employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, advisers, etc. generate valuable ideas for your company as well. After all, you are in the idea business. You compete in the arena of ideas. How are you doing? Are you generating plenty of profitable ideas each and every week?
To help you generate and implement an abundance of money-making and customer-pleasing ideas, you must spend time every week thinking, planning and writing … yes, writing. You must capture your ideas in writing so you and your team remain accountable for bringing them to life. Here are some business-coaching tips to help you generate valuable ideas:
- Schedule at least one meeting each week (90-120 minutes) with yourself away from your office. Go some place where it is relatively quiet and peaceful. Go to a coffee shop, restaurant, park, lake, your back deck, a pool, library, bookstore, your home office, or a garden, to name a few. Get away from any chaos, complexity, and confusion. As the leader of The Growth Coach, I schedule at least three hours each and every week to do nothing but reflect, think, and capture ideas and plans on paper or the computer. This is some of the most profitable, creative and satisfying work I do. Engage your brain and its incredible creativity.
- Keep your agenda open-ended and very simple … spend quiet time THINKING about creating a better future for your business and your life. As well, think about improving the lives of your customers and employees. Update your vision for your ideal business and lifestyle. Mentally paint a picture of how your business/life will look in 3 years. Unleash your creativity. For example, come up with ideas, insights, and innovations; clearly define problems and develop solutions; assess what is working and what is not; leverage your company’s strengths and minimize its weaknesses; identify your company’s opportunities and your dangers/threats; improve your sales and marketing; grow revenues and reduce costs; increase customer satisfaction; and decide on the strategic changes that need to be made.
- Arm yourself with only a pad of paper and a pen or pencil – unplug the electronics. Yes, go old school. Leave your laptop and smart phone behind … or, at least silence the e-mail or phone components. To achieve effective thinking, planning and writing, you must minimize your distractions. Again, you want uninterrupted time to slow down and do some deep thinking.
- To generate ideas that are worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, elevate beyond your routine way of thinking. Assume new roles to expand and open up your mind. For example, think of yourself as a business coach or business consultant and your company as the client. How would you now view your business? What would you see through such objective eyes about your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? Or, think of yourself as a competitor. What vulnerabilities would you now see and attack? Or, think of yourself as a prospective investor examining your company as a potential investment. What would excite you and scare you? What would you see as hidden profit areas or new revenue streams? Costs to be cut? Or finally, think of yourself as a customer. What would you like to see improved or changed?
The Growth Coach strategic-focusing process helps our clients on a quarterly, structured and consistent basis to slow down, face reality, think, write, decide on changes, create action plans, and then receive on-going accountability to stay on track and achieve significant results. Please click here to learn more about our business coaching programs, coaching services, and solutions.
Additionally, as your virtual business coach, I urge you to schedule the most important and profitable appointment you can have each week … with yourself … to slow down and think. Thinking is some of the most important, strategic, difficult, and valuable work you do as an owner. Shouldn’t you do more of it? Think about it.
To help you think about improving your business and life, here are some more resources. Here is the link our popular monthly e-newsletter, “Earn More, Work Less”. Here’s a link to our e-book, “Becoming a Strategic Business Owner”.