I wonder how many professional athletes have said “I don’t need a coach or a mentor, I can succeed on my own”. Probably loads of athletes, but none that have gone on to greatness and succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. Why then do so many business Owners think they can run a successful business without a coach, mentor or advisor to help and guide them along the journey?

I have been in business since 1982, started my own conventional business in 1987 and took that right through to sale in 2016, and exited in 2020. I built other businesses during this period and I had a mentor by my side to guide me along the way, to ensure I stayed on the right road, heading in the right direction. Was it worth it? You bet your life it was. In fact I had several mentors – all people who had proven success in life and business.

Yet within the small business community there seems to be a reluctance to have a coach or mentor. Why? I can only think that business owners either think they know it all and don’t need any help or they look at it as a cost and not as an investment. In my opinion from being in business close to 40 years, anyone we outsource to should add value to our business. They should be working with you to help you get the best results for you that they can. Their offering should be to help you grow your business and not to line their own personal pocket. If you do outsource – to anyone – and they don’t add value to your business, please don’t use them any more. It doesn’t mean you don’t outsource that service any more, just find someone else who does add value. We are all looking for our Knights in shining armour and not some imposter wrapped in tin foil, and they are loads of imposters out there – in all walks of life. 

I have been networking for over 30 years of my life and the help and support that is out there is truly phenomenal and yet so many business owners will not even strike up a conversation with so many of them because they think they can’t afford their services and its more cost effective to do it themselves. I have news for you, it’s definitely not more cost effective and how do you know you can’t afford someone’s services if you don’t have a conversation with them? Stop looking at outsourcing as a cost and look at it as an investment and maybe you will start doing things differently and start to develop a more profitable business. 

A coach or mentor should not just be able to point to a chapter in a book and say, “That’s what you need to do next”. They should be able to use their personal business experience. How much more powerful is it if someone says to you, “I know what you are going through. I have been there myself and this is what I did to get through it”. It is also not just about what a coach or mentor can offer you. Who do they know? How well connected are they? My personal database of contacts has been so valuable to my clients – in some ways that is the FREE added value I offer – and the direction to other professionals who I know will look after my clients is a really valuable service to offer. I am not an HR professional, I am not an Accountant, I am not an IT specialist – but I do know people who are. If we take the time to find out the real deep down issues our clients are having, then we can point them in the right direction. We need to do what is the right thing for our clients – whatever business we are in – and to quote something I have said many times – “Takes our eyes off ourselves, put them on our clients. Help them to get where they want to go in life and as a by product, we get to where we want to go” 

Do what is right for the client, not what is right for you.

This article was first published on LinkedIn by Richard Knight on 05/07/2021