It’s a big bad world out there. Anyone who says they never need help is either lying or in denial. But when it’s your company, it is often difficult to know where to turn. Here is a brief list of thought-starters.
- Customers: Have you considered that your customers may have a vested interested in your success? Often they are your best source of insight, feedback, and ideas. If all you are doing is focusing on closing the next sale, you are probably missing an opportunity.
- Competitors: Assume that your competitors are at least sometimes smarter than you. How does that change how you view the world? What can you learn from studying them? What do they do better than you? Or which of their mistakes can you learn from?
- Collaborators & Colleagues: Hopefully, you have built alliances, networks, teams, and relationships. That can include partners, employees, investors, mastermind groups, and friends or family with relevant experience. Invite them in to explore your challenges. They want you to succeed. Listen to their advice without defensiveness. Build on their ideas, and encourage them to build on yours.
- Consultants: Sometimes it’s worth paying an expert to study the situation and propose solutions. Look for leverage – if you pay a consultant $1, you should expect at least $10 of benefit. The right consultant may have the highest ROI of any investment you can make. And sometimes, even consultants can be free via groups like SCORE or your local SBDC.
- Coaches: Everybody calls themselves a coach these days, but often they’re just selling whatever they’re selling. Real coaches have received rigorous training from one of the major business coaching schools. They understand the difference between coaching and consulting, and focus on helping you find your own answers. As soon as you sense a coach is pushing her own agenda, run away. But most certified business coaches have the skills to help you become even more effective and successful.
- Counselors, or Wise Advisors: Seamlessly combining the expertise of a consultant with the training and tools of a coach, Advisors are often your best choice for solving your most challenging dilemmas. They facilitate your exploration like a great coach, but challenge you with their own points-of-view like a great consultant. Just as the President relies on his chief of staff and the head of a mafia family on his consigliere, so a wise business leader turns frequently to his most trusted advisor for guidance.
Even when facing your most difficult decision, help is there. The decision is yours, but that doesn’t mean you need to tackle it alone. Customers, Competitors, Collaborators, Colleagues, Consultants, Coaches, and Counselors – you’re surrounded by angels! C’s the day!