The start up entrepreneur is likely to be cash strapped. They have something in their DNA that they want to build. This something is amazing and they have a real desire to make this happen.
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
I am apolitical and enjoy living with chaos.
On Sunday, I went for a cycle ride. I had a couple of objectives – firstly to get to Weatheroak Hill and secondly to explore some of the Lickey Hills in Worcestershire. I knew the way to the first objective as I had been on that journey before. I understood the roads, the hills, and the obstacles. When reached, I pondered my plan ahead
If your life is like mine then it is full on. Lots of varying responsibilities and things that I am accountable for and that is fine.
It is all a matter of balance so quite a simple thought today.
We eat and we exercise.
- If we put in more than we use then we will retain the extra.
- If we use more than we put in then we will lose the extra.
Simplistic and not considering calorific content, nutrients, and other stuff that also needs to be in balance depending on your own physique but worth remembering.
Worth remembering? Yep, especially late at night as we reach for that snack that we really do not need.
There is a nice tension between being prepared and being too prepared and each of us has a different ‘comfort’ level. It could be that you are about to run a workshop, an intervention, or meeting someone for the first time, or perhaps completing a task in your home. In his book “The Checklist Manifesto“, Atul Gawande takes on a journey through complexity where the use of checklists work to effect striking and immediate improvements (a fascinating book if you have not yet read it). And yet, thinking about what we do as professional coach and supervisor, we need to understand where the ‘checklist’ stops and intuition and clients agenda starts. Some of this is born out of our own security, and need for structure and I find that when supervising people this structure is the thing that sometimes gets in the way from incredible moments.
Being able to understand your own barometer of your unique need for structure then is important. Thinking about the task is important. For example, being equipped and ready in the mind for a coaching session is completely different from painting a living room … or is it?
The task of painting a living room requires you to think about the process of painting and the order for the application of sealer, primer and final coats. Similarly, in a coaching conversation, one needs to explore some of basic contracting first – “what is it that you want to think about today” or “where do you want to be at the end of the session” being two typical openers leading to a foray into wherever the coachee wishes to go. In painting a wall, we do this with a system – usually starting at one end and systematically moving through the wall length until complete. In coaching, we adopt models and adapt them to suit situations moving adeptly through various stages (think GROW, think RADAR etc…). We endeavour to challenge and hold a space for our clients to explore reflections to move ahead with improvement. So we have similarities.
The difference then between coaching and great coaching then I would argue is the ability to stray off piste and be comfortable about holding the clients agenda, utilising an eclectic range of constructions that can help the coachee get to their desired or freshly discovered outcome. To do this, there needs to be some structure to act as a framework, but perhaps a visible discovery in getting to the outcome. Building discovery is hard, it requires us to concentrate exponentially on the client, listening to body language and acting on nuances uttered. Each client is different and each situation presents fresh challenges for us to practice our craft. It needs us to work, it needs us to practice and be prepared. Finding the right level though, is a personal dilemma.
How do you plan for the money that you have coming into your business?
I read a 1990s guide to setting up business. It talked about looking at the money that you have coming into your business and thinking of it as percentages. This made a lot of sense. It talked about costs in running a business (the running costs) being about 70% of what you are bringing in. So, if you are bringing in $10,000 per month, then $7,000 of this is running costs including your take out. The other 30% is interesting and something that I am sure you have a view on.
Where the 30% goes…
- 10% you give away. The thing here is that as you start small and bring this type of mentality into your business, you are creating an initiative of social intercourse that will grow as your business grows. Obviously this is a personal decision as to what and who you give to. If you decide to give ‘time’ – make sure that you are being true to yourself as to what the value is that you are delivering. Think about the fact that 10% of time in a 5 day working week is ½ day – think about whether this is congruent with your day rate and whether this sits well with you.
- The remaining 20% is about reinvestment. It is about investing in new stock, new projects, or new initiatives that help in your growth. The risk profile of what you do is upto you. Be genuine to yourself is important here. It is not about investing in a lunch or a snazzy bit of hardware or software unless the return is absolutely explicit.
For me, the %ages are a guide and will be dependant on your business models and profit return. However, the ability to think about a ‘profit’ being split into different elements is encouraging. It allows us to plan and deliver improvements into the new year.
If you are a business owner, how does this approach feel to you?
Is this a reminder of the need to invest not just in your business future but also your society consciousness?
What percentages work for you?
The other week I was sat in my living room with a nice warm log fire. The fire was splurting out an overwhelming amount of heat. For those with a log burner, you will understand what I am saying. The allure of the fire to me though is not the heat. It is being able to lose yourself in the random licks of flame that decorated the burner and light the surrounding neutral but now alive walls.
On the television was The Apprentice. A show that brings me much pain and consternation to watch, but a reminder of some of the life left behind in the corporate space. The power politics. the need to succeed, and the need for everything to be fine when actually it is not.
This particular episode invited the teams to sell goods. One team had gone into a shop to sell their wares to the shopkeeper. Their sense of achievement went from elation to depression as they realised that they had made a fatal mistake. On closing the deal, they were faced with their miscomprehension that the ‘buyer’ had the authority to purchase from from. They closed the sale, and were asking for payment when the shopkeeper said that he had to get it cleared by the boss.
Over my many years of sales, and delivering sales training, I understand some of the basics that need to be remembered when ‘selling’ – so I can (hopefully) only assume that these talented bunch had merely forgotten to ask. three fundamental questions.
- Money – Does the person have the money to pay for your services or product?
- Authority – Does the person have the authority to act on buying your product?
- Need – Does the person have the need for your product or service?
The understanding of this tripartite relationship is critical in taking a product or service forward. We ask these questions to ensure we are dealing with the right person. If the outcomes of the answers given to these questions is not understood, then further work needs to be done until all three are satisfied.
As my fire started to burn down, so too did the success for that team. A simple, yet avoidable mistake that could have easily been avoided.
Regardless of your stance on EU, regardless of your political inclination or your feeling of being in a majority or minority, we now need to move on.
We need to dig deep, and focus on the good things. We need to move beyond the pain of nearly and start in this new space of uncertainty, accepting uncertainty as certain – and accepting that 4% is 4%.
Cue Nina Simone – “Feeling Good” – and understanding that the wounds of the street fight of the past week may take some time to get over… But here is a start.
Birds flyin’ high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.
Yeah, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, ooooooooh…
And I’m feelin’ good.
Fish in the sea, you know how I feel
River runnin’ free, you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me,
And I’m feelin’ good
Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean, don’t you know,
Butterflies all havin’ fun, you know what I mean.
Sleep in peace when day is done: that’s what I mean,
And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me…
Stars when you shine, you know how I feel
Scent of the pine, you know how I feel
Yeah, freedom is mine, and I know how I feel..
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me
And I’m feelin’… good.
It is now time to move on – accepting that uncertainty is the only certainty we have and that democracy is the only way to move forward.
In the 80s, I spent some time in the middle east travelling – it was the done thing at that time. Staple diet was generally street food consisting of cheap pizza or more often, felafel with salad and humous in a pitta bread. It did the job, gave me sustenance and provided me with the energy to get through the day. The mass produced fry up created memories as the taste was unique to me and memories of that place frequently flood back as I visit street food outlets that seem to becoming more popular in the UK.
If I want to spend more time enjoying nuances of different taste, this generally means taking more time and more likely costing slightly more than a felafel. Each dish has been crafted by a chef, and the experience enhanced by what is in the garden at that time. Time is spent being looked after by a good waiter or waitress creating experiences worthy of memory.
I chose what to put on my lunch table dependant of many factors. Is it to be special, is it a quick sustenance fix, is the location special, is there anything else that I dont know about, what memories do I want to take with me, is it a healthy balance, is it appropriate for what I need right now, do I want to experience something different etc? All of which are fine dependant on what I need at that time.
Sometimes I need to think about a quick snack, at other times I have time to experiment and really discover something special.
This reasoning can be applied to the work and voluntary life that I lead.
My role is to create a lasting experience for the people that I work with on different shaped interventions, by creating a unique blend of learning based on what is relevant for them at that time. The challenge of course, is that sometimes people want a golden bullet to solve all their problems and are not willing to give the time, effort and investment to deliver it. Similar to the expert chef, those that are good in my area, train for years, are not frightened to experiment with new ideas that could stretch and deliver even better output and thrive on delivering that great experience – but this comes with caveats.
My experience in the middle east does not lend me to remember the precise name or location of the street vendors that sold me food – the experience was adequate.
My world – I work with people that I agree to that want to self select to be the best.
My choice – and a great lunch table to be serving and eating at.