I am doing a friend a favour. Giving away a freebie so she can make more money from her business. Why am I doing this? Because in return I am enjoying the benefits of her services for free.

A bit like the old I scratch your back, and you scratch mine.

There are powerful elements of coaching involved, so within our dialogue, we are both learning.

Coaching is all about helping you gain insights in order to be able to move forward. Personal devlopment if you like.

I shall talk more about this in a later post.

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A couple of days ago a friend invited me to attend a presentation for a new MLM [Multi - Level Marketing] company launching in New Zealand.

No big deal. No doubt you [like me], get invitations to ‘get in early’ on the next new thing.

With the advent of the internet MLM opportunities abound. And the power of leverage through duplication has reached new heights through this medium.

What still fascinates me is the stigma or bad rap that attaches itself to MLM.

For every opportunity, there seems to be somebody when reckons it’s a scam, or it won’t work, or there’s no money to be made and so on.

And I am sure you a familiar with these scenarios.

MLM does offer a way for Mr and Mrs Average to go into business for themselves with relatively low capital or risk.

So why are so many people closed to the idea in these times of job insecurity of creating an ‘insurance policy’ against possible lay off, or just building a nest egg for the future?

There are many, many  answers to that question so I won’t bore you with a whole raft of explanations.

What I will say is this:

Any new venture requires consistent application, dedication and perseverance.

You go to work don’t you? You spend on average 40 hours every week in exchange for wages or a salary.

How many hours per week do you or would you put into a new venture that holds the promise of additional, maybe replacement income on a consistent basis?

How many people do you know that have told you that it [the new venture] got too hard?

How many of you were just ‘3 feet from Gold?

Was there a written goal statement with a time line. Was there an action plan? Was there a burning desire and faith in yourself to keep going no matter what? Were you persistent and consistent, passionate even.

One thing MLM consistently offers is a path to personal development, an opportunity to develop yourself by learning from others and going out and doing the business.

The upside is always a better you a more positive you and maybe a more secure you. The upside comes with consistent application.

Robert Kiyosaki and Jack Canfield among other luminaries espouse the benefits of MLM.

One way to really benefit is to study carefully Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and begin to apply the lessons to your own life. For many of you that is not an easy thing to do.

I am revisiting these teachings and seeing them in a new light.

If you would like some help fill in your details and hit the send button.

Everything starts with an action – take some action today.

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I am an advocate for small business. My passion is help business owners become more successful, make more money, add value and enjoy themselves at the same time!

It’s fair to say that small to medium enterprises [SME's], do employ the most people.

So why would I start with a headline like this one?

Because that’s exactly what a business owner said to me this week.

I let the conversation unfold – after all he had engaged the services of more than one business coach in recent times. Had these coaches failed? Were they no good at their job? Did they just take the money [fees] and run?

Probably not.

The truth is, in the business owner’s experience he is now barely breaking even, and will most like fall below his breakeven point in the near future.


‘The economy’ stupid!

The business is twenty years old – and has been in the current ownership for the past five years. Custom walked through the door, why spend too much on advertising and sales [marketing]? Raw material suppliers were happy and the business added margin to the raw material as well as add value.

That has all changed. Sales are down. Competitors are discounting to get business. Raw material suppliers now sell to the end user who then gets the value added component only. So there’s a hefty reduction in profitability. You can begin to see the downward trend. Oh, in addition new players have entered the market – dumb you might think, but the reality is that the pie is getting broken down into smaller and smaller pieces.

Some of the players undoubtedly will survive; others will go to the wall.

Our business owner believes it is not cost effective [especially now] to go out and drum up business – so he waits.

Deep in his heart he knows [at least perceives], that unless ‘the economy’ picks up sometime soon that he may not have a business any more.

That’s why ‘small business does not work’

In his model of the world he is right – his belief is, sooner or later, about to become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Success in any venture or undertaking starts with the right mindset. A little bit of passion helps. As do plenty of energy, a good [but flexible plan], a proactive approach and getting to understand where your customer is coming from.

Also many of the decision makers these days are in senior roles at an age unheard of just a few years ago – they THINK differently, are not always bound by the old models, are prepared to take risks and will not always accept that what worked in the past is the best pathway to pursue now.

Of course the fundamentals of business and life do not change – but given that these are in place, then the rules are subject to change today, tomorrow and the next day!

Undoubtedly many business owners are experiencing tough times – how many are now on the balls of their feet like a prize fighter dancing around looking not only to avoid the next punch, but more importantly to land one or two for themselves – going for the knockout?

Attitude determines your altitude.

No one says it’s easy – it never was, but the world is full of people and businesses that somehow found a way through the tough times and became successful again!

How do you plan to manage things right now?

Maybe having a few mentors or coaches or other business owners to talk things through, to share ideas even form a [proven system], Mastermind Group is a great way to start

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My primary role as a Business Coach is to business owners grow their businesses and make more profits at the same time.

Increasingly I find many small business owners in Auckland have been experiencing a downturn in their turnover which has put the business and its owner/s under more pressure than they would like.

As a result, many see a Coach as an unnecessary additional expense and are reluctant to go beyond an initial exploratory chat. It could also be something to do with the fact that many ‘business coaches’ are more interested in charging fat fees for very little in return which has given the coaching industry somewhat of an inglorious reputation.

So back to my headline.

There are two parts to this story:

§  The business owner is suffering from fear based on his reduced turnover and negative publicity around the gloom and doom he/she reads and hears every day. He/she is literally ‘frozen’ or stuck and is no longer open to working out how he /she can resolve these very real issues.

§  The Business Coaching ‘industry’ is not well regarded by many business owners, either as a result of direct experience or by word of mouth.

Let’s explore a little more:

An email from Bizzone today reveals that business owners’ biggest challenges right now are Cash flow, Sales and Marketing and Business Planning.  This survey was done in conjunction with the National Bank.

Another email, this time from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce [www.aucklandchamber.co.nz], tells us about their recent survey which reveals businesses expecting a ‘long flat slowdown’ and looking forward 6 months nearly half of the respondents feel that the situation will stay the same or improve. There’s a lot more of course and I quote “….the mood among many Auckland businesses continues to be positive and reflect a strong self – belief that getting on with ‘doing the business’ continues to be rewarded with results.”

Before I continue I highly recommend joining the Chamber of Commerce and to subscribe to organisations such as Bizzone. They are very good sources of information and resources available to help business grow.

And like a good coach they help give you the business owner an outside perspective as to what is going on in the market place.

So what to do?

It is no surprise to me that the Bizzone/National Bank survey has identified these three ‘interrelated’ issues as being of concern to businesses.

§  With a drop in turn over I’m sure cash flows would be affected.

§  This puts the spotlight on Sales and Marketing

§  Which lights the blowtorch under Business Planning

A consistent theme throughout my discussions with business owners has been: Lack of a Business Plan, very little or no knowledge of what a K.P.I. {Key Performance Indicator} is or how to establish them, and Sales and Marketing are left to poorly written Yellow Pages ads and word of mouth. To be fair, word of mouth can be very powerful.

With regard to KPI’s many owners will tell me ‘my accountant has all that information’, there is no real commitment apart from annual returns to get a handle on what’s going on in the business!

My last Boss in the Corporate world was a hard bastard [bless him]. His mantra was ‘you cannot manage what you can’t measure’. We reported to our KPI’s monthly, there were daily sales summaries; the KPI’s were constantly under review as were our costs and so on. We could look at historical comparative sales graphs and know why certain periods were up or down. In short, management had an accurate snapshot of where the business was all of the time.

To be fair to most small business owners, they don’t have the resources to monitor their businesses the way a larger entity can, but they sure can put measures and systems in place to help themselves make better decisions.

Business Plans seem to be in short supply. Or if there is one it’s been gathering dust somewhere on a shelf. A business plan ought to be considered a dynamic instrument and be reviewed regularly.

These are the issues many small business owners do not do anything about. They are not costly to implement. An hour or two with a Business Coach can pay off handsomely in the long run.

Our mantra [among many] is that often small changes can have a significant effect on your business.

I encourage you as a business owner to contact me for an obligation free discussion about your business.

I may be able to point the way, but as always – you have to do the work!

P.S. If I cannot help you I will endeavour to find someone who can!

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