My typical client is the owner of a company, a CEO, COO, VP of sales or a high-level sales professional who is successful but stuck. They want to get to their next level as an individual and as a company. They understand that what got them where they are will not get them to where they want to be. They are open to investing in a business coach to give them outside perspective to accelerate getting to that next level and ultimately growing their business. My typical client is the owner of a company, a CEO, COO, VP of sales or a high-level sales professional who is successful but stuck. They want to get to their next level as an individual and as a company. They understand that what got them where they are will not get them to where they want to be. They are open to investing in a business coach to give them outside perspective to accelerate getting to that next level and ultimately growing their business.
Many times when I first meet with clients, they tell me the same thing: “I’m so glad I have you to bounce ideas off of. I don’t have anyone like you in my business.” Some go so far as to tell me they don’t have someone like me in their life!
If this is your reality, of course it’s lonely. You have not let anyone into your world and, in many respects, have shut yourself out from a large part of what could be a huge game changer. The best advice often comes from people who understand your business the least. They are looking with such fresh eyes that they make suggestions so obvious you question why you hadn’t thought of it months or even years earlier. The positive impact this could have had on your business all these years later is enormous, yet many times we brush it off and move on in our mostly isolated business world.
I can tell you right now, my most trusted advisor is my wife. Joanna gives me the best guidance and isn’t afraid to shed light on what does and doesn’t seem to be a fit. She gives straightforward, simple and spot-on suggestions that evolve my business on a consistent basis.
Let’s talk about how you can be more mindful and open those floodgates of untapped advisors you have all around you. If you do this, you will grow yourself and your company at a rate that keeps you on the cutting edge. (Note: The only people reading this who will execute on it are leaders who are mindful to grow not only their business, but themselves — the ones who can leave their egos at the door, take constructive feedback and let others into their arena of vulnerability.)
Here are five things you can do today to create your own board of directors. Warning: This only works if you bring your real self, your weaknesses and your openness to the boardroom.
1. Have your partner in life be your sounding board on a consistent basis. If you are going to share your stories from the office with your significant other, open up the conversation for their advice, feedback and suggestions. Be ready to listen to what you hear. It may sound so simple that it seems impossible, but could be some of the best advice you receive.
2. Have a mentor, that one person you can count on to call for a quick piece of advice no matter what the subject. Make sure he or she has your best interest in mind and is always going to give you direct guidance – and that there are no struggling agendas. (If there are, you need to get a new mentor.) To make it work, set a consistent time to connect each month in person or via phone or Skype.
3. Pick two or three people in your company to be part of your leadership team. This is critical because you can’t do it alone. It may be hard to give up control, but you must give the space to let others’ opinions, feedback and thoughts help in the direction of the firm. To make this work, have weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meetings with your leadership team of 60 to 90 minutes.
4. Listen to one podcast a day, read one page a day of anything business-related, and listen or watch the news for five minutes a day. If you are not learning, you are not growing. Doing this every day will give you the nuggets you need to stay ahead of your team and share the talking points they need to stay current with both clients and prospects.
5. Get a business coach. This will give you an outside perspective and a sounding board to talk about every aspect of your business. It will provide you the dissection and steps of execution you need to take to grow your business and all the people in it.
“Mindful,” says the dictionary, means “to be conscious or aware of something.” As business leaders, we must always be conscious and aware of not only where the company is and the trends that got us here, but where we, and the industry, are headed. It’s virtually impossible to do it alone. We all need a team of fresh eyes, different perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking as we forge ahead to disrupt our business and industry and grow our market share. Be mindful to the positive change the right people around you will bring. When you do this, those you surround yourself with will be mindful of you and your business and always have your back.
Take the next five minutes to be silent and mindful, and write down how you will achieve one of the above steps to grow your business big. Very big!