Have you ever reflected on the past year, or past month, or past week; and said, “Wow! I did a lot of work and am tired as hell, but I didn’t make one penny of profit for my business!” Then you look at your financial statements, and they say the same thing. You’re attending tons of networking meetings, having 1-on-1 meetings with people, you’ve re-done your website ten times, pay hundreds of dollars per month for SEO, and you just don’t have PAYING CUSTOMERS. If this is you, you’re not alone.
The Delusion of Business
Someone once told me that a pro can make the difficult and complex look easy and effortless. If you watch an NFL quarterback throw a 60-yard touchdown pass, it looks like it’s not a big deal. That is… unless you’ve played the game of football. This is true in business. Many who have never played the game of business look at it as a consumer and think, “All I have to do is create a shopping website; and do a few Facebook ads and people will buy my stuff.” Such delusions are common because we see successful businesses that seem like they sprung up overnight. We may even know a few people who have made it big starting from nothing. It’s no wonder that we think starting and growing a profitable business seems so easy. Yet, when WE try so hard, WE seem to just spin our wheels. Why is that?
An NFL football player realizes that the play that looked so easy in the big game, took years of preparation. The offensive linemen needed to workout for years to have the strength to protect the quarterback. The team had to practice one play a dozen times a week for the entire season to make it look so easy. The quarterback had to prepare himself mentally for the onslaught of very fast 300-lb linemen coming to hurt him if he couldn’t throw the ball on time. The wide receiver had to time his route perfectly to be open when the ball came his way. I could go on an on about the preparation that these professionals had to endure before they could experience the glory of that one single successful passing play. And to top things off, one great passing play doesn’t win the game; nor does one win make a successful season; nor does a successful season result in a Superbowl victory.
The Nature of Business
Just like the professional football players, a business leader needs to understand all of the things that lead to success; and then they need to have the patience to stick to these activities even when the money is not following their actions. You need to do the networking events to develop relationships, you need relationships to build trust, you need trust to gain referrals, you need referrals in order to have prospects, and you need prospects in order to have paying customers. Just like the football players, you are not guaranteed success if you do all of these activities, but you are guaranteed failure if you don’t do them. Let me explain the three areas where I see most business people fail in their pursuit of success:
Rookie business owners try to create their product or service and then start asking random people to buy their stuff without any forethought as to why someone would need or want their stuff. They don’t write a business plan; they don’t create a financial forecast; and they have no clue about marketing and selling. They are then surprised when they get their clock cleaned trying to learn as they go.
Could you imagine walking out onto the field with 22 professional football players with no preparation and competing at their level? Why do so many think you can do this in the professional business world?
When starting a business it is almost impossible to know for sure what activities will be fruitful. In other words, if you are busy doing activities that don’t result in attracting prospects; or converting prospects to customers; or getting your customers to buy more of your stuff; or increasing your profit margins; your efforts are fruitless. Unfortunately, most business owners spend most of their time working on things that will get them no customers. They focus on their business card, their website, their new laptop computer… but seldom invest in gaining high-paying clients. Don’t get me wrong, you probably need a website, business card and computer… but please understand those things will NOT get you customers.
Could you imagine the NFL football team concerned about their concessions more than the quality of players they recruited for their team? All professional football teams understand the ability to field a competitive team is much more important than any other activities they do. Why is this so hard for business owners to pick fruitful activities?
Execution is probably the one area where I see most business owners fail. Once you have all of the plans in place, and you know what to do, you now have to execute. But most business owners are doubting they have the ability to execute well. They wonder if they picked the fruitful activities. If they didn’t pick right, they’ll be doing all of that work for nothing. What if they didn’t prepare as much as they should have? Maybe if they had one more seminar; or one more training session; they’d feel confident enough to execute. It’s scary talking to a stranger about your product. Maybe I can find a way to sell my stuff without talking to strangers.
These thoughts and feelings create a paralyzed business owner who retreats back to their desk and computer hoping that customers will come to them and buy their stuff. Or, it results in a business owner who only partially executes thinking he may get half of the success he had hoped for. Or, he simply doubts his actions will result in business success, so he does everything with low energy; and decides to give up when his efforts produce no paying customers.
What it Takes to Succeed in Business
As you can imagine, it takes Preparation, Fruitful Activities and Execution to succeed in business. Probably not a big surprise after reading the previous section. If you accomplish these three things, you will gradually start gaining paying customers. There is no doubt about it. If you are doing the right things, those things will pay off in a big way. But you have to set the right expectations for yourself; and then continue to execute when things look bleak.
How Can Business Coaching Help?
I’ve experienced all of these business challenges first hand. I have lived in the lowest parts of this negative thinking in my business past. I finally learned that the only thing that could get me back on track was an honest external perspective of how I was thinking. This perspective could not come as flattery and cheer leading that we often get from our loved ones; This perspective could not come from another rookie in the business world who was struggling with my same negative thinking. This perspective could not come from some know-it-all with a condescending attitude. I had to get the perspective of a professional business coach.
A business coach understands the game of business. They understand how you win; and how you lose. They understand what it takes to prepare for what you’ll face in the professional arena of business, they understand how to help you select activities that will be fruitful for your business; and they help you create the confidence to execute your plan to gain results. That’s why I’ll never go without a business coach ever again.
Could you imagine the NFL professional who never had the coaches they had in Junior High, High School, College and the Pros? On a football team there are several coaches and coach’s assistants constantly working with NFL football players to help them perform at the top of their game. Why would you think it should be any different in the professional world of business?
As a business coach, I offer training, group coaching, individual coaching and mastermind groups that will help my clients produce an amazing amount of wealth for themselves and their families. If you want to do the work that it takes to succeed in business, I’d love to help you. Fill out the contact form below, if you’re interested to learn more.
Note from the Author
My name is Jeff Schuster. I am a certified Life and Business Coach serving small business owners, corporate executives and others who want to transition from “expert” to “entrepreneur”. I have been a small business owner for most of my 30-years in the workplace. I grew an energy efficiency and renewable energy engineering and construction company from nothing to over $10-million/year and sold it in 2013. I now help other business owners make amazing progress toward their own dreams of successful business ownership.