In my early days (2007) as a business coach, one of the lead generation strategies I used was cold calling – where I would go around knocking on doors.
I particularly used to enjoy the trading estates due to the variety of businesses to be found. On each of the estates though there was always a similar unit. It would be usually empty, with rusting tools on the shelves and a 60 – 70 year old chap in the corner office. The business was clearly worth very little and the owner still had to go to work to earn some kind of living.
I’d go in, introduce myself, explain what I did and would then get hit with the same response. “I’ve got 40 years’ experience of business – what can you teach me?” In those days I would meekly apologise for disturbing them and back out.
I was a little way into my coaching journey before it dawned on me. They didn’t have 40 years of experience in business, they had had the same year 40 times!
So how do we break that cycle? Firstly the business (and the owner) must have goals (that’s another story). Secondly time must be set aside in order to work on achieving those goals. Doing the important but not urgent stuff, in other words, working ON the business.
Working IN the business is doing the urgent and important stuff like making sales, paying the staff, marketing and managing cashflow.
Working ON the business is where you invest time in making the business better. Things like improving the sales process to ensure a happy customer every time. Testing and measuring your marketing so you know what really is working. Developing the team so they better serve your customers. Negotiating better terms with your suppliers. In other words, the things that will make your business run more efficiently and make it more profitable!
I recommend setting long (5-10) term goals. Then ask yourself; if I am to achieve these goals where do I need to be in one year from now. Then break that down into quarterly chunks. Finally create an action plan for the quarter. Now we have a plan we need to invest some time doing the things that will make sure we stay on track. About four hours a week is usually enough.
Author: Simon Streeton, Pro-actions business coach, West Midlands