Most of our blog entries can be read in two or three minutes. One or two go into greater depth and others are bite-sized. All are intended to share with you insights, ideas or inspiration that we hope you will find useful, interesting or energising.
Many different cultures and countries around the world have variants of the proverb: ‘The cobbler’s children have no shoes’, meaning that the person or entity involved fails to give themselves the benefit of their own professional expertise. It is our experience that this holds true for many smaller service businesses, so why might that be, what are some of the opportunity costs and what can be done to rectify it?
We are all aware of the pace of change surrounding businesses and of the many different drivers of this. It is one thing to acknowledge change however, and quite another to reach clear conclusions about what it means for your business and what you need to do in response, if anything. In this blog, we’ll consider how you might begin to form answers to both these questions by taking a fresh look at your business model.
A root cause of frustration is often that a business’s ways of working have not kept pace with the growing and often relentless demands placed on them. People are understandably frustrated, annoyed, even unnerved by the resulting inefficiencies that are eroding otherwise healthy margins. There is a sense that things no longer work as they used to.
Here’s an interesting truth in our experience: companies that most benefit from working with a business coach are typically run by very talented people. They have remarkable reserves of energy, incredible resilience and the strength of personality to back themselves and persuade others to do the same. They usually have particular skills or knowledge to a very high level, and yet despite all these attributes, they remain willing and ready to work with an external coach in pursuit of new insights, resources and methods. So what are the signs that suggest this relationship might be successful?
Many of the entrepreneurs we meet are either struggling against, or giving in to the gravitational pull of day to day operations. As expectations from customers, employees and even government ratchet endlessly upwards, it is understandable that their focus gets pulled towards the demands immediately in front of them: Client expectations, staff morale, GDPR. So why should we care about, let alone invest in purpose?
Resistance can be healthy if surfaced and dealt with constructively. It can equally be destructive - hindering individuals and teams from performing at their best. So what is our best response to overcoming resistance and the behaviours that follow? Here are five pointers we as business coaches thought you may find helpful.
Whilst the concept of capacity is straightforward, it’s relatively uncommon in our experience to find service businesses who know their capacity, and how this is built up across departments or teams. And even rarer still to find businesses that are systematically using capacity management to inform their business strategy.
The result is uncertainty, poor decision-making and sometimes, break-downs. Running a business without a capacity strategy is rather like driving a car without a dashboard.
The fact is, there are a lot of very diverse people and businesses that practice under the umbrella of ‘coaching’: executive coaches, business coaches, career coaches, life coaches and so on. The rates they charge and the content and quality of their services vary substantially.
This can, understandably, breed scepticism or even cynicism amongst business owners and leaders. Your time is precious. So how do you identify what brand of coaching might meet your needs, and who you can rely on to deliver a return on your investment?
As experienced business coaches, we are yet to meet a Client who wakes every morning wanting to buy time from a B2B service provider. Yet we regularly meet service providers who sell their value as an estimate of the time required to create and deliver it.
One reason for this is an absence of a clear product and service proposition. The outcome is invariably that the service provider’s cost to serve is higher than estimated, and the value delivered to the Client is lower than it should be, leaving the relationship vulnerable. Why does this come about and how can we build value into sales that achieves better outcomes for both parties?
Read past the idealism of the first few pages and this book develops a powerful and optimistic vision of how free enterprise capitalism ought to and can operate to achieve an optimal balance of interests between all of the stakeholders in a company; rather than focusing on returns for some at the expense of others.
The vast majority of the entrepreneurs we meet are deeply committed to the people who work for them. They respect that their employees have commitments and obligations outside the workplace, and recognise the mutual benefit of offering them the flexibility to balance these sometimes competing demands.
A lot of the same entrepreneurs are also exhausted. Their commitment to everyone else results in them plugging the gaps that arise from flexible hours, sabbaticals, statutory leave, extended holidays and so on. Even years after they founded their business, the original risk takers are still the ones pulling the late nights and carrying the can. Sound familiar?