Dec 06

Who’s Your Coach? My Secret to Success

If you spent any of this weekend watching college football, you know that much of the halftime talk was about the coaches – who got fired, who’s moving where, who has the ticket to a winning season in their back pocket.

No matter how great the players, everyone knows that at least part of the win comes from the sideline. Talent without any strategy and coordination is dead in the water.

With our big move from San Diego to Austin, I knew that 2011 needed to be a coordinated and strategic year, so I ended up joining 3 separate coaching groups. These groups serve three very separate needs for me, and I realized that many of the businesses I work with struggle in one or more of these areas. I thought I’d share some insights in case you’re one of them:

Mastermind Groups – Accountability & Support

The first group I joined is a casual mastermind group hosted by financial coach Jennifer Jaime. If you haven’t been a part of a mastermind before, don’t be scared off by the word – anyone can put one together, and the format is whatever the group prefers.

I like to joke that a mastermind is the business equivalent of Alcoholics Anonymous – our small group of business owners (we have 5) shows up each month to talk about their challenges, confess this month’s slip-ups, get ideas and support, and make a plan for improving next month. Everyone gets equal time, and we end with our commitments – things we’ll accomplish before we meet again.

A mastermind group is one of the best places to find accountability – as business owners we usually know what we need to do to grow our business (write that blog post! Make that sales call!), but we don’t have a boss to breathe down our necks and make sure we do it. For me, my mastermind group is that boss.

Group Coaching – Vision & Goals

The second group I joined was the Big Fish Yearlong Adventure by Lorin Beller Blake – Lorin’s expertise is helping businesses take things to the next level, and I was ready to do that in 2011. This group is about turning the magnifying glass on yourself, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. In this group, 6 other female entrepreneurs and I work on understanding what’s really standing in our way, getting rid of what we don’t want and adding more of what we do.

This is the place where I’ve planned out the 10-year vision for my business (as well as my life), and started putting concrete metrics in place to make sure I’m tracking in the right direction. I’ve found that if we spend our time looking at the yellow dotted line instead of the horizon, it’s really easy to get lost. Goal-oriented groups like these keep me on the road I’ve chosen.

Group Coaching – Business Process & Structure

The third group I’m part of is the ThinkBIG! Program by Swiss Avenue Partners. Originally, Swiss Avenue Partners main service was helping get businesses ship-shape so they can be sold – everything from stabilizing revenue numbers to formalizing channel partner relationships and getting Quickbooks in order.

What they didn’t expect was the clamoring from small & medium businesses to share that same knowledge, even if selling the businesses wasn’t part of the plan. They created ThinkBIG! to do just that – help businesses put processes in place so that their back office and sales efforts run like a much larger company.

If Big Fish is the group that keeps me up at night dreaming of the future, ThinkBIG! is the group that helps me sleep at night, knowing that every number is in place and everything is ticking along without me checking on it every 5 minutes. Mastermind is a great place for me to try on some of the ideas from the other two groups, see if they fit and make a commitment to getting them done.

How about you? Where to you find accountability, goal planning, and business process improvements? Are you part of any groups that make these easier for you?

P.S. – In 2012 I’m launching a yearlong coaching group of my own that covers all three – helping small businesses with their goals and structure for marketing success, and keeping them on track. If you’re interested, join our Better Way to Say It Meetup group for a preview or contact us for more info.

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