2020 has been an especially difficult year for small business. Sadly, many businesses have been forced to shut down permanently, due to the plethora of difficulties encountered. Still, there are others whom have successfully navigated the storm that is COVID, overcoming an uncommon and at times overwhelming mix of hurdles; forced closures, decreased consumer spending, employee shortages, reduced revenue and tapped cash reserves. For those businesses still fighting to keep their entrepreneurial dreams alive, know there is hope.
Wikipedia defines hope as:
“Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large”.
I would add that hope is not the denial of, nor ignorance about the challenges one faces, but rather, it is the willingness to look at the bigger picture and actively choose to focus on potential solutions instead of the problems at hand.
These entrepreneurial fighters are the captains of their business vessels. It is their duty to successfully navigate the seas of change and to also bare the burden and pleasure of their success or failure. Of these captains, some have successfully optimized or pivoted their business models, arising from the storm as a stronger, leaner more savvy organization. Others have been less fortunate and are still experiencing the turbulence of the crashing waves while trying to steer their ship to clearer waters. These particular captains still believe for and envision a bright future ahead, but fear they don’t possess the needed capital nor qualify for the business loans needed to ride out the remainder of the storm. This needed capital is required to fund business pivots, marketing efforts or new talent acquisitions. These business owners are living with the constant angst of potential closure and despite their overwhelming hope, cannot see the path to move forward in success. For those whose future is uncertain, I would like to postulate the following:
Typically, entrepreneurs fund their ventures with bank loans or second mortgages on their homes. Although these are relevant options for those that qualify, they are not the only options. Some alternatives to consider:
Why would you hire an executive coach when your business is struggling? Hiring the right executive coach can help your business to flourish in many ways, especially in times of difficulty. Here are just a few of the ways the right coach can add value:
They lend an experienced ear. The right executive coach will act as a neutral sounding board for brainstorming sessions and can draw on their vast experience to council on potential strategies. Further, they are not blinded by the passion of starting and raising a business. This allows them clear sight to better assess the current challenge and potential solutions. Their sole focus is serving their clients needs.
Access to Wisdom. The right coach will have the knowledge, wisdom, experience and business acumen necessary to point out and advise to possible options you have not yet considered. These coaches have likely encountered similar situations in their career and can help steer your organization through the mine field allowing you to come out the other side intact and stronger than before.
They Lend Focus. Your coach can help you to sift through the plethora of entrepreneurial ideas and focus on those ideas with the highest probability of success.
Drive Accountability. They help to foster an environment of accountability. The right coach will achieve this through regular communication and scheduled follow up calls at predetermined intervals; daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
An Affordable Investment. The right service focused coach will offer different finical options to meet most budgets. These investments are typically more affordable than one would think and generally, the return on investment for you can be substantial. In fact, most offer a FREE consultation to determine fit.
What to Look for in a Coach. Selecting the right executive coach is a very personal process. However, there are a few key points to consider:
Have they successfully founded and scaled a prior business outside of consulting?
How large was the business they scaled and thus, can they advise you through the differing stages of growing pains associated with a high growth company?
Are they limited to one specific industry, say manufacturing, or are they experienced in multiple industries?
Have they demonstrated a pattern of success across multiple business verticals?
Have they personally ever successfully navigated a business pivot, added aligned verticals and/or saved a company through strategic planning and action?
Have they won awards for their exceptional abilities in business or sales?
If you sense your business is viable, but are in need of personal earnings to keep going, in addition to your business’s needs, consider:
Regardless of the sector your business serves, the universal function of an entrepreneur is to solve the problems others cannot, or the problems others are not willing to sit with long enough to see the solution. Remember, for every hurdle and every obstacle that is thrown in your path, there is always a solution; a hidden opportunity if you will. The challenge is that sometimes the opportunities are hidden so well, or the obstacle is so large, that one must act creatively to move forward. In business, as in life, it is ok to stumble, to falter, to fail. It is through trying, failing and challenging oneself that we learn and grow both personally and professionally. But one only truly fails if they quit.
My challenge to you? Seek out alternatives to keep your dream alive; be it alternative lending, taking on partners or investors, hiring an executive coach or even creating a bridge by helping build someone else’s dream. In the game of business, creativity, consistency and an indomitable spirit are the true champions of success. Commit to never, never, never give up and remember, “You cannot beat someone who never quits”...
Robert Mitchell is an award winning serial entrepreneur, executive coach, strategy consultant and the founder of ExecHero, SafeHarbour and Safe Harbour Wellness. When he isn’t leading his organizations, he is passionately coaching other entrepreneurs on how to position their business and personal lives for massive success. Rob enjoys spending time with his family, working out, martial arts, writing, traveling and acting. If you are ready to begin your journey towards your optimal self, email the ExecHero Team at: CS@ExecHero.com .
"Challenge the ordinary, seek the extraordinary and live unapologetically outside of the box."