Anyone who owns their own business will tell you it’s exhilarating, heartbreaking, fun, fulfilling, lonely and terrifying… or all of the above, all at once.
When it’s 3am and you’re packing orders, scraping the bottom of your ‘inspiration’ barrel or writing up a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm, it can be a little hard to feel motivated. But having a strong circle, a close confidante or a bit of business savvy can spell the difference between giving up and giving it your all. Here are some ideas to inspire you and make you a better businessperson.
Hire a business coach
It’s Dale Beaumont’s business to help yours succeed. The founder and CEO of one of Australia’s top business education programs, Business Blueprint, Dale has written 16 books and presented countless conferences focused on helping business owners achieve their goals.
“As a business coach, the idea is to find out what the business owner wants, work out what they need to do to get there and then hold them accountable to taking those actions to achieve their goals,” says Dale.
“Exactly what a business coach does will depend on both the needs of the business owner and the skill sets of the coach. Whether it’s marketing, governance or profits and financial statements, a business coach will be multi-skilled in the different areas of business and can offer advice, but might also bring in a copywriter or a videographer or an accountant if they require more expertise.”
Dale explains that there are two ways to do anything in life – one is through trial and error, and the other is through following a recipe.
“Listening to someone who’s been where you’ve been before and has helped other people to achieve their goals, can get you there faster,” he says. “By giving the business owner someone to be accountable to, much like their employees might be to them, a business coach can help you to follow through on your commitments. Additionally, they might show you shortcuts or loopholes, or help you to think about the long-term future of your business and opportunities that you might not see.”
So, how might a business owner find themselves a business coach? Dale says that talking to your accountant or other business owners or attending workshops and Chamber of Commerce events could help you get in touch with your very own business coach. But before you engage a coach, be sure to ask a few of their clients – past and present – about their experiences, as they might help you to see things you didn’t initially see.
Dale also adds that not every business owner will need a business coach – those who are happy with the current progression of their business probably don’t need to seek extra help. But those who want to be pushed to see their business achieve its full potential – whether that means more growth, more profits, or less involvement on the part of the business owner – should go for it.
“There’s a saying in business and that is that you ‘rise to your level of incompetency’,” says Dale. “You take the business as far as you can go, but you hit a ceiling – that ceiling is what you know. The only way to push through that ceiling is to get outside help and outside thinking. That can take your business to a place that you can’t take it on your own.”
Work in a shared business space
One-person businesses are on the rise (as is their success, might we add!) but that doesn’t mean you have to put in the hours alone. Coworking spaces are a great way to get into a great work headspace and bounce your ideas off others. If you’re in Brisbane, check out Nous House, Little Tokyo Two or the stunning Riverside Centre. For Gold Coasters, Hotel Miami, Wotso and Burleigh Space are your go-to’s. And for those across the border, Byron’s StartInno, Sustainable Valley and the Work Pod are all worth a mention.
Find a networking group
Whether it’s online or offline, there are loads of networking groups that are wholly and solely dedicated to helping business owners connect with like-minded peers.
As a starting point, seek out your local Chamber of Commerce – you are bound to find a connection with other business owners literally (and conveniently) in your backyard. Then maybe look to speciality networking groups that align with your business – maybe that’s Business Chicks, if you’re a proud woman in business, for example? Or maybe it’s a Facebook Group where likeminded businesspeople hang out online? Google is another great starting point to help you track down a group that’s right for you – there are hundreds to choose from.
Make time for yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup, right? Making sure your mental and physical health is looked after is instrumental to your success in business. While you might think hiring a business coach or attending early-morning business breakfasts with others will get your business to where you want to take it, don’t discount looking after yourself first as key to your success. Hitting the gym or the yoga mat, eating a clean, balanced diet (with some chocolate for your sanity and wine for, uh… antioxidants) or taking a few minutes out for some meditation will make a world of difference to your mindset when the business feels overwhelming. Look after you before you look after anything else.