Nov 182008

Dr. Earl R. Smith II

Small business owners run a high risk of becoming isolated. No one likes to feel alone. Often times they get to feeling that it is them against the world – that no one is willing to help fight the battle of keeping the doors open for business. Every so often, I get a call from one of these business owners. The engagements that result are among the most enjoyable. They find a coach who provides a new perspective and helps them develop a stronger skill base and fresh vision. I get a chance to reinvigorate a dream and help it grow.

If you are a small business owner, you might consider working with a coach. If you find the right one, you will realize significant benefits. For instance, you will gain a valued and trusted adviser whose agenda matches yours. The person helping you has your best interests and success as their number one goal. No alternative motives or plotting – just a drive to help you succeed.

Good coaches help you quickly identify and address important challenges. They help you identify your problems and determine the best way to eliminate them. A coach represents a fresh set of eyes; they can see issues clearly that, for you, were blurred or invisible.

The first step any good coach will take is a management or leadership assessment. This reveals your leadership style and management skills. With this baseline established, the coach will develop a program tailor-made for your situation and potential. The coach will suggest areas of focus – through either leadership development or management training.

A second step might be to review your business plan. Often times, small business owners that I work with have not carefully thought out their plan – there are a lot so untested assumptions and inadequate analysis involved. Quite often, this step has resulted in a complete recasting of the business and the value proposition.

The value of good coaching is well established. Top CEO or Chairmen employ coaches to help them refine their decision-making, leadership and management skills. They benefit from having someone to help them maintain their equilibrium in the ever-changing and highly competitive world of business. It can seem overwhelming with the weight of the company’s success bearing down on them every moment of the day. The same benefits come to the small business owner.

When resources are scarce and the team is small, high productivity is critical to success. A coach can also help address your productivity and that of your team. He can help develop an effective plan for improvement. A coach will help you identify and correct problem areas and improve your results and profit margins.

A corporate coach focuses on developing and implementing a plan to bring your company into alignment with your goals. They are vital in creating your new guidelines and aiding in your decision-making process. Some of the areas a coach will focus on are goal planning, organizational skills and of course time management. Another great skill that a business coach can teach you is how to develop a system to keep you on task and focused on the true priorities.

Coaching can mean the difference between succeeding and failing. This is as true for small business owners as it is for executives in large corporations. The business world has become more competitive. Even small mistakes can cost a business its future or an executive their career. Small business owners – because of the tendency to become isolated – are particularly susceptible to this risk. Coaching at key times can radically reduce the changes of loosing your business or missing a change to make it soar. If you want to know more about how coaching can help, send me an e-mail and we will arrange a time to talk.

© Dr. Earl R. Smith II

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