I have to admit something that I’m not particularly proud of. When I discovered coaching and decided I wanted to be a coach, it never occurred to me that I would also have to become a business owner. I suppose in my excitement and passion about this new venture, I let my left brain lag a little behind on the learning curve. In fact, let’s just be honest – I’m really more of a right brain person in general! I like writing, reading, creating, and self-help. I’m not fond of accounting, systems, analysis or research. Yet there was something compelling about owning my own business and being my own boss. Looking back, I really think there are really 10 simple, not too left brain things I benefitted from or wish I would have known when I was a new entrepreneur. I’m going to share 5 of them with you today.
1. There are a lot of free resources out there. www.myownbusiness.org (just found this one! ), Women’s Business Centers, SBA workshops, Innovation Centers, and other small business organizations and websites. But take care that you don’t overload yourself with information. I’ve been on information overload for a few years now and it can actually slow you down if you’re not careful. Only take in what you can read and use within 30 days.
2. Business books abound! The top of my list of must reads includes The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, Linchpin or anything by Seth Godin, Multiple Streams of Income by Andrea J. Lee, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Good to Great by Jim Collins. Of course, your enjoyment of these books may be lesser or greater depending on what business you are in. Think of a book you’ve enjoyed and then go Amazon.com and see what similar books were purchased by consumers of your favorite title.
3. Get a coach! Okay – I know I AM a coach so I’m a little biased but I truly believe in the value of coaching for new business owners, new coaches – anyone who’s considering a small business venture. I have had a coach and will always have a coach when I need to stretch myself to reach the next level.
4. Find a mentor. There is tremendous value in sitting at the feet of someone who has been where you are and learned a lot from the process. One of my mentors recently passed away and I still miss popping by her house just to sit and listen to whatever she felt was important to share with me. Mentors are generous souls who want to see you succeed. They suspend competitive beliefs and really help you on the journey.
5. Select a method for tracking, noting, recording, posting, reminding, following up or whatever you have to do to succeed. I had no earthly idea how I was going to track leads. For a long time, I just kept a stack of business cards on my desk tied up in a rubber band! I guess I thought seeing the stack would trigger a follow up but it didn’t. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on software systems or consultants who give you what works for them. Start basic and use Excel spreadsheets or Access databases until you evolve into something larger and more specific to fit your needs.
So in the spirit of limiting informational overload, I’ll leave you with these to chew on and begin to implement. Stay tuned for the next installment and be sure to reach out if you’re stuck. Sometimes asking for help is the last thing we do when it really should be first on the list!