16 Lessons From 16 Years Of Business Mentoring

I started my career as a Business Coach 16 years ago.  Having clocked over 10 000 hours of coaching and working with over 1000 clients, I see some amazing similarities to why some exceed and why others don’t.

The list below is my 16 biggest learnings from 16 years of business mentoring and I hope it helps you.

  1. The top business owners know what they want. They operate from a centered space and have a very high level of clarity.  Because they know what they want, they only focus on doing things that get them to their goal.  They don’t fluff around doing things that are not aligned with this.  In addition, they ALL focus on one thing.  Not two things – just one.  They understand – if you try and chase two rabbits, you will catch neither.  They Focus On One Course Until Successful (FOCUS).  Because they can clearly see what they want, they can easily handle obstacles when they arise
  1. They focus on a business that sells things to people that want them. Every business needs to exist for a reason.  It needs to add value in some way to someone.  When someone sees the value in this, they are happy to exchange money to receive this value. A great business needs to solve a problem or help someone get what they want.

I have often seen the right business owner (that has all the skills to be  very successful) trapped in a business model that doesn’t add that much value.  A great example is a client of mine who ran a very successful company with a turnover of $30m and a profit of $5m.  They decided to branch out into another business.  Two things happened:-

From my experience, only about 10% of entrepreneurs that I coach have found the ‘starving crowd’ or the niche business that will help them scale.  Everyone else is stuck in a business model that has a ceiling OR just won’t allow them to achieve the goals they want.  This leads to frustration and burnout.

  1. They puppeteer the process. Imagine for a moment a soccer (football) team playing a game of soccer.  They are about to kick off.   Now imagine that you are floating above this game of soccer.  You can see your team below.  The center forward, the left and right forward, the wings the goal kepper etc.

They are all in position and they know what they need to do (score goals and win the game).  They are the puppets and you are just the puppeteer.  That is, you need to 1. Figure out what the game plan is and what the game is about 2. Decide what positions you need to fill 3. Hire people based on the right skill. 4. Keep them focused on doing their job to a world class level.

Great business owner’s puppeteer the process and remove himself/herself from being the puppets. If they ever do get onto the field to play, they stay in their genius and hire around them – that is,  people to take the roles they are not great at.  They spend a lot of time ‘off the field’ analyzing what do we need to accomplish here, and who can I find to help me accomplish this.  They look at their game from a 30000 foot view.

  1. They hire an implementation manager. The most important decision you will ever make in business is ‘who is my second in charge?’.  The CEO sets the vision for the business.  The implementation manager then keeps the team accountable to fulfilling the vision.  A great implementation manger makes the plan happen and ensures that the people are sticking to what they are paid to do, and working as a unit with everyone else.  This 2IC will free up the owner about 50% of headspace and time.

Too many business owners I meet never take the risk and engage this person…so remain trapped in working really hard.

  1. They focus on a stop doing list, more than a to do list. They know that doing less is the key to their success – so constantly hand over tasks to others.  They work on a stop doing list at least every week.  They are masters at delegating and handing tasks over. 
  1. They put themselves first, team second then customer 3rd.

If they are not functioning at a high level, then the rest of the business suffers.  Top business owners take 5 to 7 weeks a year out where they recharge.  They understand that 1 hour of inspired work beats 6 hours of un-inspired work – so they are ok taking lots of breaks.  If you go to a gym and do weights, you won’t actually get the growth until you rest.  The same is true in business.  Your growth, insights and inspiration comes in your downtime.  They look after themselves mentally, physically and emotionally.

  1. They respect marketing and sales. Henry Ford said if you’re not marketing it’s like winking at a girl in the dark and expecting her to notice.  Top owners invest a lot of time into how they can get their product in front of as many people as possible.  They also know that sales are more important than marketing, so they need to be ensuring that they have a system and a team to bring in leads and then covert those leads into buying customers.   They are comfortable investing money into acquiring clients.  They know the acquisition costs of each client and the long-term value of that client.
  1. They don’t waste time trying to figure things out. They really understand that one of their greatest sources of leverage is other people’s knowledge.  They are very comfortable in asking for help.

They find the top 5 people in their industry and take them out for a coffee or lunch to learn from them.  They know this is the fastest route to their success.  They all have mentors – paid and un paid – and are always acting like the dumbest person in the room.

  1. They all have a weekly scorecard. They know where their business is at on a weekly basis. They receive a weekly scorecard that tells them the key figures they need to know to run their business.

Let’s assume you are on an island, and you needed to know some key monthly figures that helped you run your business.  What are the 5-10 things you need to know?  Top owners get these reports weekly to help them make decisions.  They also forecast their sales and expenses and review their profit and loss.

  1. They get that one of their number one tasks is hiring the right people. That are always on the lookout for the best of the best.  They respect the impact a high-performance team member can have on their business – and they are not afraid to take the risk to invest in the people to help them grow.  They almost always see a ROI from these decisions.
  1. They understand that attack is their best defense. If you were to watch a sporting team defending during the game, you can almost guarantee that they are going to lose the game.  When there is a difficulty, great entrepreneurs step up and attack.  They get clear again on what they want and move forward to attain this.
  1. They invest enormously in self education. From reading books and listening to Pod Casts, to going to courses and engaging coaches and mentors.  I have never worked with a top performing business owner that didn’t invest a huge amount of time and money into their self-knowledge.  They know it’s what they don’t know that hurts them most.
  1. They get the power of positive vibration. They know that when they are feeling great, and giving off a great vibe – amazing things come into their life. This is why they work daily at keeping this vibe.  When they are in this positive vibration, everything flows.  When they enter a negative vibration, they are quick to recognize this, change state and get back into their positive vibe.
  1. They have a lot of fun. They just get it’s the process and not the goal that is the most enjoyable part.  They don’t do work in roles they don’t like or are not good at.  They turn it into a game and play to win, but play always because they enjoy it.  If you think of a game of golf, what is the point of rushing around the course – just to finish if you don’t enjoy it?  Business owners respect the journey and make it as fun as possible.
  1. They plan their year, quarter, week or day. If you don’t have a planning system by now in your business, my suggestion is get one or go and get a job. There is just too much to achieve, and you need a system to help you figure out what needs to get done and what order of priority you will do it in.   Top business owners invest 2 days to plan their year out, 1 day each quarter then 60 minutes each week then 10 minutes to plan each day.  This creates a huge amount of flow for them, and helps them move forward in a really controlled and powerful manner.
  1. They have a spiritual side to them. They realise they are on a spiritual journey and if they let go and trust, everything has a way of working its self out.  They all have a spiritual practice of some sort, and regularly take out time to reconnect to this. This helps keep them in their heart and out of their head.  They understand that “Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.”
    Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.” Quoted from Marianne Williamson

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