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Coaching Your Business: Do You Know Why You Are In Business?

By Dr Paul E Adams |

The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are going. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Why are you in business? Do you know? When was the last time you thought about it? Do you stay in business for the same reasons you did the day you started your company? I doubt it. And if you think about these questions, can you answer with ease? We change, our motives, our needs, perhaps our values, undergo a slow transformation we may not be aware of. And as our motives responsible for our actions change, so do we.

The same may be true of the reasons why you saved and struggled to start your business. It may have been the combined need of independence and to earn an income for your family. Now that your business is successful, and that need satisfied, now what? Or are you still striving to meet a certain level of satisfaction that moves away from you just as you think it is within your reach.

The business you run today is not the same business you started, Just as people change with age, so do businesses. Your business has a personality. It is a reflection of you and your employee's personalities, a reflection of your wants, needs, and attitudes toward life. And as employees are added, leave, and personally change, your business changes. As your products and markets change, your business changes. What you started, may little resemble the business of today - a good thing as your business survived.

You can be so busy with the daily needs of your business, that reflection and thinking of the future are low on your priority list, if at all. Are you familiar with the concept of a retreat? It is a time to get away from all daily routine to think and discuss (if it is a group) your present, your past and what you would like the future to be. It is reflection and speculation.

A retreat is a time out, your personal time to think about your business. It is standing back and viewing your businesses present and its future. It is asking yourself where you want your business to go? What do you wish it to become? An answer to the original question Why are you in business. I will be surprised if you answer More toys for my toy box.

Try this suggestion; create a mission statement. Persons wishing to improve their lives use it, institutions use it to identify their purpose, and businesses use it to define goals and strategies. The mission statement I have in mind, is your personal statement of what you think your business is all about. It is a statement- a few pages- that you craft from your heart, it is how you feel about your business, what you think is wrong with it, what you like about, and what you want it to be.

As you enter the New Year, it is the ideal time to reflect on this past year by looking at your accomplishments and successes as well as your failures and unrealized expectations. In other words, a little soul searching of your business. Your personal performance review of you company may give you insight into how to build a better business.

However, reflection is only half your assignment- creating plans for the future is the other. Here are three categories of questions to think-and write-about.

  1. The process starts with you thinking about the purpose of your business. What does it do for you? What does it do for anyone? If you give these questions serious thought the answers may surprise you.
  2. Next, take a personal inventory of the present state of your business. What don t you like about your business? What do you like about it? And what would you change?
  3. Now, think about the future. What future do you see for your company? What do you want your business to become? Is it what you want? If so, will it be possible? Do you see any obstacles in your path? Do you think you can overcome them?

The answers to these questions will frame the start of a different type of business plan, one based not on sales projections and financial statements, coupled with dry canned statements of tactics and strategy, but a plan created by your vision. It should be a plan that is yours alone, a dream for your company. It should be a goal of what you want. As you write your answers and listen to your inner voice for insight into your present wants and needs, you may create fresh goals and dreams that will feed your ambition to accomplish beyond your usual.

If I have convinced you to take a day off, sit down with your laptop or a yellow pad, and write a long letter to yourself about your business, using my questions as a guide, you may end the day with a quiet sense of excitement. You may find that reflection and defining new goals can be stimulating. Remember as you were starting your business, how excited you were. Would you like to feel that way again? Take your personal retreat and perhaps it will return.

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