The “Now What? Situation” for a business owner

Over the last two years I have been coaching a number of business owners that reached a point in their business when things were OK, they were working in the business that started months or years earlier and, like many others, started asking themselves what to do next.  Some of them lost some of their initial enthusiasm because of a number of different reasons; others wanted or needed to move their business to the next level and they were lacking the necessary skills or inspiration.

This is what I define the Now What? Situation, affecting at some point most business owners. The Now What? Situation can have serious repercussions for those that fail to react or, better, prevent it and take the necessary steps at the right time.

Starting a business in the UK is relatively easy, compared to other areas of Europe where I have direct experience, thanks to the minimum bureaucracy involved.  Most individuals with an idea for a service or a product to sell can start trading in a fast and straightforward way.

“Small businesses are over a quarter of all enterprises in the UK: over 520 thousand enterprises in 2009 were Sole Proprietors.  That represented a small decrease of 0.4% compared to 2008, in favour of Corporate Business, representing 58.2% of total enterprises (2.15 million)” (source  Statistics.Gov.Uk)

When the proposition is interesting and many customers are buying into the business then growth can be significant and soon the person with the initial idea and passion is no longer a service provider or product seller: he/she is an entrepreneur.  At the beginning things are exciting, there is a honey moon period that can last sometimes many months or even years. At the end of the bootstrap time there is a need to face a transition period that often catches the entrepreneur unprepared.

There are obviously substantial differences in running a business with you as the only decision maker compared to a company with partners, managers and staff.  Some key points to be addresses during the transition from the micro business and a larger operation are issues like:

  • How to grow: by recruiting staff or subcontracting?
  • When the decision is about recruiting how can you guarantee to look for the right kind of staff?
  • Can activities like admin, invoicing, book keeping and customer service be subcontracted to virtual assistants or other service companies?
  • Many people have no formal management experience: what is the best way of managing staff in order to maximise their skills and performance?
  • Does the business model need changing? If so how to plan and execute the change plan?
  • How to best implementing sales, pricing and positioning strategies?

Coaching can help virtually all business owners involved in a Now What? Situation.

The coaching approach offers a resourceful set of tools, a self directed learning approach that allows to build on the exact current situation, explore alternatives and pin down what needs to be done, establishing and instilling an accountability process.

When coaching a business owner it is very important recognising two key aspects:

  • Each individual person or business is unique in its way of being, operating and approaching the market: patterns and templates can be applied but a blank page approach is always easier to start with.
  • There will be strong emotional feelings about the business as it was initially started and resistance about how it should be changed for the future.

A business owner, working over a period of three or six months, assisted by a professional coach can be helped to define the exact path about how to move the business to the next level.  In short it is about changing a Now What? Situation into a Now I Know What should be done and I am doing it.

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This post was written by MaGa Coaching on 18 May 2010

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