When people talk about what’s holding them back in a business what tops that list is cash flow. Lack of it. Speed of it. Amount of it. And that could all be very true. However there are many areas outside of cashflow that is holding a business back. It could be a lack of team motivation, the inability to act fast enough to changes in the market, high turnover of staff, debtors staying on the books for too long, clunky systems. The list can be longer and more complicated than simply focussing on the business’ cash position.
Where to start
Even the most entrepreneurial people on the planet (cue Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Carnegie) start at the same place - themselves. Understanding where in a person’s internal makeup are the positives and where the blind spots could potentially be lying. These are often found by the help of an external body, business coach or trusted mentor and ally.
Richard Branson believed that he “wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker [founder of Laker Airways]....[he urges us to] find a mentor”(1). Mr Branson has often quoted Zig Ziglar who said “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could."
The team at One Week At A Time have countless stories of businesses who worked a business coach and mentor who believed in them, and saw them sustain ongoing growth many years after the conclusion of their mentoring. Seeking the help of an experienced person who has the wisdom in business management, and that wisdom is based on current trends and information will prove to be invaluable.
Through the looking glass
Not everyone has the funds to immediately seek out a Business Coach, or have the luck or good fortunate to have a Mentorship with a Leader in their industry through a sponsorship program. That’s why it’s also a good idea to see the business through the eyes of those that provide the greatest impact - customers. Surveying a customer doesn’t have to be tedious. There is a series of questions which regularly features in surveys, and the answers are rich in feedback and highly useful for shaping businesses.
The most popular Customer Survey Questions (using a Likert Scale)
- Would you recommend our company to others requiring our services/product? Rate us 1 through to 10 (1 = wouldn’t recommend, and 10 = highly recommend)
What is the number 1 reason you gave us that score?
- What is the number 1 most important improvement we could make that would have you rate us higher?
These questions will uncover many areas of the business from the point of view of the customer/client. Showing the business how it’s perceived, if customers are likely to be raving fans (or not), how easy the business selling proposition is to understand, which areas of product or service are making the most impacts and so on and so forth.
Another survey which is useful is the 360° Survey. This internal view can reveal how each team member is working with each other. The business finds out how people on the same level, parallel peer level, higher and lower levels are perceiving and interacting with each other. This exercise is like walking into a room with mirrors facing a person on all sides. This survey is an anonymous assessment which are either answered online or with a coach. The areas that are assessed are:
- Person’s strengths
- Areas of improvement
- Ability to deal with problems
- Composure under pressure
- Listening skills
- Offering helpful feedback
- Readiness to ask for input, ideas, and advice
- Effectiveness in motivating others..
The 360° Survey is most commonly used at an executive or senior management level to help refine skills and formulate plans on how to better engage teams and the business.
The right way up
What was once an unknown factor which was initially contributed to one area (cashflow) may have turned out to be a very different outcome after undertaking these external assessments. When a Business Owner is continually working on their business alongside a coach/mentor and has the information gathered from the market and their team, they will easily be able to see the business the right way up again.
If you would like to discuss your particular business situation and find out areas could be holding you back, please contact Brett Burden, Senior Business Coach on 1300 971 763.
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