About Me

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First things first, I like to have fun with people and what I do. I am a personal business coach. Yes, I have received training and been coaching since 1983. I have gone through and continue to happily go through more personal development. Personal development and its quest for personal growth, more often than not, are the missing links in the chain of business and personal success.As Warren Buffett once said, "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." For more information please visit- Self Improvement Coach in Houston Texas

Friday, October 26, 2012

From The Business Coaching Chronicles Process The Elephant

Process is critical to small and large business success.  In my personal business coaching practice I find that initially the self-employed business owner, executive or manager puts almost their entire focus on results.  Results are the critical measurement of any progress.  Yet, the most important focus, and the one that is most overlooked, is process.

Process Determines Outcome

Process determines results.  First you must have the right process in place to receive the results you desire.  I have had many examples in my business coaching practice of the importance of process, especially in small business.

There was a small, growing company that just seemed to have the magic touch.  I am sure you are familiar with the story.  Things just fell into place.  They hired employees.  The business continued to grow and become more profitable.

Then, in a period of 3 months things started to go in the wrong direction.  What was the problem?  More specifically, what was the process that was bringing these undesired results?
Process Will Help You Talk About The Elephant Under The Carpet

My observation is that when things are going well human nature tends to ignore the signs of trouble.  This is especially true in small business where very often people and resources are stretched to the maximum.  The self-employed business owner, entrepreneur or executive doesn’t want a pause or to stop on what they see as the inevitable road to success.

The problem is this.  Without the right process there is no inevitable road to success.  In this particular company, as we investigated the process I saw right away that there were no specific job descriptions.  The key word is specific.

It is impossible to have a good job description, set expectations and measure results without specificity.  We started with job descriptions and the process each person was going through.

Process Will Uncover Your Keys To Success

As this company went through creating the job descriptions and work flow charts most of the employees were very supportive.  There was one who wasn’t.  She had become the hub around which the wheel of this business turned.

In fact, it came out in my conversations with the owners that they were afraid to confront her.  There response to the refusal to confront her was this.  “If we lose her I don’t know how we could make it.”
If your business is dependent on people who you feel can’t be replaced then you are not in a good business.  And, it almost always means that you do not have a good process when it comes to job descriptions or accountability or that you have a process and are not using it.

Solutions Come Through Process
As we talked about this employee it became apparent that this had to change.  Once we got the process in place for evaluating everyone the owners became more willing to look at, and more importantly because the process made it clear, able to see what this person was doing and how it was affecting the business.

The conclusions were jarring.  This employee was stealing time, causing dissension with the others, slowing things down to suit her schedule and belittling the owners to prospects and customers.  Why would she do that?  She eventually wanted to have her own business and steal some of her employers clients.

Once again, this is not an unfamiliar story.  But with the process in place for evaluation of job performance and results, this person quit of her own accord within a couple of weeks.  The game was up and she knew it.  As for the results, company profitability took a short term dive but within three months they were back on track to new records in sales and profitability.

The even better news was that the owners, now armed with specific job descriptions had no fear of hiring because they had a well-defined position to offer.  Very often, what holds small business owners back from making personnel changes is that they really don’t know what it is that their employees are doing.  They have a general idea but that is not good enough when you are hiring.

When you have a process that is specific you are much more likely to hire the right person.  You won’t feel as if you are being held hostage by your employees.  Best of all with the right process you will feel that you are running your small business instead of feeling that your small business is running you.  Have a good process and you will be able to deal with the elephants you see as well as the elephants under the carpet.
Yes, process does determine outcome!

From The Business Coaching Chronicles What Are You Subscribing To?

One of the more interesting situations I have come across in my personal business coaching practice has to do with what someone was subscribing to.  When I ask most people or when I am asked myself, “What am I subscribing to?”….my first thought is that someone is asking me what I believe.

With this particular client, the issue was not just what they believed or were subscribing to.  It was all the magazines they were subscribing to.

Staying Focused Is Subscribing To The Right Thing

This particular business owner had had a very good business.  But, over time he had become bored with it.  With boredom comes loss of interest.  With loss of interest comes loss of activity.  And with loss of activity sales, profits and morale start to plunge.

The general manager of the business was stealing from it. To top it off, payroll taxes had not been paid to the IRS.

This owner had stopped subscribing to personal and business growth and the results were disastrous.  The small business success that had once been a reality was now a distant dream.

Boredom: You Can Start Subscribing To The Wrong Thing

To fill the boredom and feel important this self-employed business owner had an addiction to magazine subscriptions and to magazines in general.  Besides subscribing to over 50 magazines he would go to the local Barnes and Noble and purchase up to $200 in magazines a week.  And, which didn’t make sense, very often he would purchase the same magazine over and over again since most of them came out monthly.
The obvious question is how do you go from running a small business well for almost 20 years to having it be a disaster?

Low Self-Esteem Can Lead You To Subscribing To The Wrong Thing

Low self-esteem or a poor sense of self-worth will lead to poor choices.  To boost your self-esteem you will start doing things, in this business owner’s case subscribing to magazines,  that temporarily make you feel good but in the long run can have a devastating effect.

Financially, the magazines, when we looked at it in depth were costing him over $1,000 per month and took upwards of 20 hours out of his work week.

What Is The Real Problem Here?  Only Then Can You Start Subscribing To The Right Answers

As our relationship developed the business owner started to reduce the number of magazines he subscribed to.  But, we weren’t out of the woods.  The key question for me was, What was causing him to have this extreme focus or possible addiction to subscribing to and purchasing magazines?
It was his personal life which included a bad marriage and a difficult relationship that his wife had with their only child.  When he went home at night he couldn’t stand to be in the same room with her where she watched TV.  He would go into another room and read magazines.  He had always loved to read.
But now the magazines and the reading were just an escape.
Solution:  Subscribing To A Better Vision Of The Future
Over a period of months we collaborated together to develop a happy vision of the future for my client.  As we started to take those steps, the grip of the magazines and subscribing to them began to weaken.
For him to achieve the business and life he desired magazines, and magazine subscriptions in over abundance, could not be part of his success plan.  He became more focused every day on taking actions to lead him to the future he desired.

He developed new habits and new disciplines.  He became focused on good things.  Within 18 months the business was profitable and the IRS was paid off.  The general manager was fired and replaced with a person who took the business and the service it provided to a higher level.

Unfortunately his marriage after going to counseling individually and together ended in divorce.  Today his business and life are in a great place.  All it took was no longer subscribing to the wrong things and bad relationships.

If you want a better future do the following.  Create a happy and better vision and start subscribing to it.

Are You Creating The Small Business You Want To Run?

As a personal business coach one of the great joys is watching the creation of a small business.  It’s like painting a portrait on which you can put your autograph.  But unlike a painting which at some point is finished, the creation part never really ends and running a small business too, is an ongoing process.

What To Keep In Mind In Small Business
I once read that Warren Buffett once said, “Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get.”  Success for many small business owners is in creating their small business.  And for many that is their happiest time.  Why?

For many small business owners, running or maintaining the small business is not what they enjoy.  Most entrepreneurs love creating.  The key to having the continued success and happiness, which Warren Buffett spoke about, is to develop the skills to manage the business.

In the words of Michael Gerber in the E-Myth Revisited, you not only need to be a good “technician,” which is creating and delivering the product or service, but also a good “manager.”  I have found that the major stumbling block for most self-employed business owners is management.

Are You Running The Small Business You Want?

Fortunately, today, as opposed to 30 years ago, there are tools, processes and information to where the small business owner can learn to become a better manager.  But even if you manage your business well, there can still be a great deal of unhappiness.

Why?  The skills and relationships you need to create a successful small business are not the skills needed to run a small business.  And, very often we get into a business because we know how to create it, not run it.
In my personal business coaching practice, I had one lady who wanted to start a retail shop stocked with items to decorate the interior of people’s homes.  She was an excellent interior decorator.

Small Business Happiness Is Wanting What You Get

In her mind, having a retail shop to support and amplify her existing business and to where she could meet prospective clients was a huge plus.  Logically, it all made sense.

As we collaborated on putting together the retail operation I started to have an uneasy feeling.  When she spoke of retail business the tone and the discussion was negative.  She had worked in retail as a young girl and didn’t like all the “problems” with people, inventory, etc that would come up.

I asked her if she would be happy working in her own retail environment?  After much thought and discussion over several weeks, the answer was No.  She realized that she could not be happy in her own retail store.  Yes, she would have help.  But, she realized that still she would feel in bondage to it.

And for a free spirit such as her, feeling in bondage was the height of unhappiness.    She ended up acceleration her efforts and sharpening her focus on her current business model.

Today, she has a successful small business.  And she is happy.  She understood first hand that success may be getting what you want but that there is something more important, happiness, which is wanting what you get.

When you are looking for success in small business be sure to factor in happiness.  Without happiness, there is no true small business success.