Being a business owner can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both personally and financially. It can also be stressful, frustrating, and downright lonely. Much like being a parent, there is no real instruction manual for how to deal with the various situations that arise daily. It seems like around every corner is another messy diaper (figuratively, of course, but that may depend on your business)..
So why do we do it? How do we get “unstuck” from the mire of the daily grind? What’s the secret to consistent and profitable growth? Is there going to be a “teen” Yoda?
While we can’t answer all of these questions, many of the answers lie in what we like to call “the four legs of the stool”. We admittedly “stole” these (more like “borrowed” but with no intent to return) from Brad Schow, VP of Consulting at ConnectWise. Brad has provided a consistent, powerful message to members of the ConnectWise Evolve Peer Groups – that in an ideal world all business owners should:
Participate in an Industry Peer Group
Enlist a Strategic Facilitator
Engage in Individual Coaching
Join a non industry-specific leadership group
While it’s absolutely possible to grow a pretty phenomenal company without all four, even industry titans like Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs have engaged multiple legs (such as a facilitator or CEO coach). For most businesses, those with four strong legs grow faster and more profitably than their peers without. Knowing that you are not an island is important, and making the investment in professional growth rather than trying to figure everything out on your own always has a pretty outstanding ROI.
1. Industry Peer Groups
Industry specific peer groups are comprised of non-competing business owners, ideally of similar size and structure. Not only do you have a group of peers to hold you, as the business owner, accountable for your actions, but you now have several other business owners who can function as your virtual board of advisors to provide support, a sounding board for your ideas, and who will challenge you when necessary. This can truly take the “lonely” out of being a business owner. Very much like playing in a “best ball” golf tournament, you may find that you are great 25% of the time, but drawing from other members, each of whom has strengths you may not, is invaluable and allows the collective to be much more competitive. Each member contributes to the betterment of the group.
2. Strategic Coach/Facilitator
Strategic coaches are business veterans who can provide direct, bottom-line benefits in the form of high growth, increased profits, reduced costs, and quicker time to achieve revenue targets. Good coaches can help leadership teams develop their skills to manage effectively as well as guide a business through an operating system to achieve consistent and predictable results, all without blinders or bias. They leverage their experience to provide a framework for the business, ideally tailoring their solutions to their client needs. Coaches may also help facilitate meetings, drive strategy conversations, or even help with team building exercises.
3. Individual Coaching
One-on-one individual coaching helps engage and motivate business owners and those on the leadership team. Coaches provide support, candid feedback, and help leadership team members work towards individualized goals with direction and accountability. This leads to more effective leaders who will drive better business results. While their work is tailored to the needs and aspirations of the individual, to deliver these results the coaching must also be tailored to the strategy, vision, and values of the organization.
4. Non-industry Leadership Group
These leadership groups are comprised of other business owners and entrepreneurs in varied industries. They provide a forum for engagement, educational opportunities, events, networking, and mentorship that will help in your personal and professional development.
So, the next time you sit on your business stool, ask if all 4 legs are truly supporting you the way you need. Are you growing as fast as you want? Do you feel stuck? Are you frustrated in not being able to get to the next level? Are you a math geek and want to make the valid argument that a 3-legged stool may actually be more stable than a 4-legged one? We would love to hear from you on any of these!
When you invest in yourself and your team, you always get the best return.