Simple, straight forward and practical advice,
guidance and support to help your business survive and thrive.
Mentoring & Coaching
Advisor, Mentor or Coach?
These terms are very commonly used in business. Furthermore it can be very confusing for people. In reality it doesn’t matter. The best Business Advisors, Coaches or Mentors are ALL of these. Most business owners actually need a combination of them all, depending on the situation.
My attempt at some definitions (for those that feel they have to have a definition) are:
A business advisor gives advice on what to do. This might be something very specific. It might also be about how to carry out a business task. Likewise the advice might be more general, about whether to do something or not. It might be advice such as – “I advise that you chase up your debtors more frequently than you are doing”. “I advise you to consider improving your web presence”. There are many other situations that a good business advisor can help with. This will help to steer a business owner to running their business better.
This is much more about having someone the business owner can talk to. Phrases such as “a shoulder to cry on”, “I just need to talk things through”, “I’d like to run this by you to see what you think” are often used. A good business mentor is a good listener and is someone whose opinion you trust. Also a good business mentor will help to steer the business away from making bad decisions. They will also help the business to work through the options and come up with the best choice for that particular business.
A business coach is much more akin to a teacher. They will be someone who can show a business how to do something. They will also be an “encourager”. In addition they might be someone who will lead the business through a process. They can also show you how to get the best from what you are doing
The business consultant is usually an expert in a particular field. They are therefore someone the business will consult about a particular subject. A business owner will consult their accountant about how their finances are doing. They will also consult a solicitor about the detail of a legal contract. There are consultants in just about every business field that exists.
They very best business advisors are a mixture of all of these. As a consequence they are able to provide the very best assistance to their clients. The business advisor will tailor this help to what the client needs at the time. When you need very specific help your business advisor will have a network of consultants that they can call on for that expertise. A good advisor will NOT try to do it themselves if they are not experts.
Sales & Marketing
The words growth and change really matter. Every business must undergo change and must grow in order to survive. We need to recognise, instigate and manage change throughout our business. We need to do this not just to keep up with the Jones’s but in order to thrive in a rapidly changing world. The management of this change can be hard but it is essential for our survival. We can help with getting underneath the complexities involved and with finding a simple path with clear goals and actions. By doing this in a structured and organised way you can be sure your growth will be controlled and sustainable.
To drive growth you will need to get your product or service to your chosen market and sell it.
We all need advice and we should turn to our advisers for that advice and it can come in many forms. Most businesses are quite used to turning to their accountant for accountancy advice, to their lawyer for legal advice or their IT specialist for IT advice. In fact good sound advice can be obtained from any specialist adviser, across just about any specialist subject you can think of.
Strategy & Planning
Business strategy is about determining where you want to be and then putting things in place to make it happen.
A good strategy will involve setting your company’s vision and mission statement. From these two key statements you will then need to draw up some goals or objectives. This can often be quite hard and there are lots of schools of thought about them.
Personally I prefer to think in terms of short, medium and long term goals. This probably means this year, the next three years and “after that”.
Clearly the further into the future you think the less certain you can be. However you still need to have some views on what you want to achieve. Once you have a broad strategy, the next step is to start doing some detailed business planning. When planning, you need to think about priorities. Goals and targets will always have varying degrees of importance both from a strategic point of view and from a day-to-day operational point of view. The key is to balance all of this and then put a plan in place.
It is important that every business has some kind of strategy and then makes a plan to achieve it.