Doing better in your business


I have had the opportunity to offer business and personal advice to CEO’s of companies. Perhaps out of respect, these chief honchos call me “coach.” I have advised business owners of small, medium, and large enterprises. They also call me “coach.” I have been privileged to share ideas with senior officials of government entities and institutions. They call me an “executive coach.” 

In one session, I said, “most coaches are not more skillful than their players. You are the player, and you have the skills. I happen to offer an outside perspective supported by thirty or more years of actual experience, research, and study and would share ideas with you and, in the process, learn from you as well.” Until today I still feel a little bit uncomfortable being addressed as a coach, whether business coach or an executive coach. But I guess you know what I mean.

I want to share a few business “coaching” tips with you. Reflect on these. Remember that you are the player, and I am only here to offer ideas.

You have a business, and there are many ways to scale it; you need to catch your breath first and consider a few things. When you read the blogs or watch YouTube, you will find many “business experts” providing tips on scaling your business. And when you think about it, following them means more work and taking enormous risks. Yet when you consult actual business owners and get natural business coaching tips, you will find out that the only way to grow their business sustainability is to do less work but to do it better. This may sound antithetical to what most “gurus or coaches” would say on the Internet, but consider the logic behind the following:

More is not the same as better, so what is your better?

I once advised a young entrepreneur. He has a publishing, marketing and construction business and is building up another business in car repairs and restoration. But he was stunned when I asked him one crucial question: “You have many businesses. Which one is doing well?” That moment of hesitation before he answered reveals a lot. 

Building a better business is always better than building more business. More equates to more hours, effort, anxiety, challenges and strain. (Especially on your cash cow). Better business means better profits, bigger numbers, and a better smile from your trusted accountant. Better staff translates to a better quality product or service for your customers.

When borrowing money was cheap and the economy was growing, the general atmosphere of aggressive but less experienced business people was to build more and more and then some more. Today, in an environment of chronic instability, you want to ensure that you make better and eventually lead to more without all the junk and extra work. So, let me challenge you to narrow your focus and think of four or five areas of your business where you can improve.

What are your top 5?

Most business owners would have a difficult time answering this question. They will come up with a long list of items, but you need to narrow your focus. Why five? Because if you meet with your staff and ask them to provide you with a list of things you need to do better, they may give you 20 or more. So you create a huge mess and end up doing nothing significant. You need to focus only on the items that impact your business and bottom line the most. 

What are the opportunities?

Opportunities will appear on your list of the things you do better. That opportunity may even become a game changer. For example, you have always been “so-so” with technology or digital marketing, and now you focus on it and make it better. It increases your client base, you widen your marketing reach, and you begin to build a community. This would allow you to put more resources like time, energy, money, and even talent behind it and surprise yourself to see that your business is scaling.

Create a plan and a strategy for the key areas

This is where you now focus your time, energy, and attention. At the same time, keep watch for other opportunities that may spring up. In the following weeks, do this and encourage your leadership team to do the same as you begin to see progress spring up. And by the way, talking about your staff, be sure to do the 3 T’s so they will be on the same page with you:

Tell them why.

Train them how.

Treat them well.

I am still not comfortable being called a coach. But I hope you find these ideas helpful in growing your business; after all, you are the player.

(Francis Kong’s podcast “Inspiring Excellence” is now available on Spotify, Apple, Google, or other podcast streaming platforms).

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