Taking responsibility for growing your business

Some of you will know I receive weekly posts from the Entrepreneur’s Circle. This one was a great reminder of what being in business is all about. I hope it gets you thinking.

I recently met a lady who is a life coach. Now, I don’t know how much you know about the life coach business, but I can assure you, there are plenty of them around and most of them are poor.

And there are there are three reasons for this; firstly, the supply of coaches in the UK vastly outweighs the demand for their services; secondly, lots of coaches just aren’t very good – a fact that has tarnished the reputation of the whole sector; thirdly, precious few coaches are prepared to take responsibility for their own commercial success.

Don’t get me wrong, the lady I was talking to appears to be very good at what she does. She had some great case studies and stories that she shared with me and I have no doubt at all that she can make a real difference to the lives of the people that she works with.

However, she’s making hardly any money and the concept that this was in some way her fault was completely alien to her. As we talked, she opened up a little and she said something that I found very enlightening: “If I do a good enough job with my coaching and counseling, people will hear about it and discover me.”

Unfortunately, I had to burst her bubble. Fact is, there’s no business where simply being ‘really good’ at it will guarantee success. As business owners, all of us have to take responsibility for getting our message out there and communicating to our customers and potential customers, in an utterly compelling way, why they should dip into their hard earned cash and spend it with us.

It’s 100% our responsibility. The longer she kids herself that she’s living in this utopia where how well you do something is the sole factor in determining your success, the longer she’ll remain poor; unable to get her car repaired, unable to take her kids on holiday, unable to buy her husband a nice gift on his birthday, unable to shop at the supermarket she prefers and unable to reduce her credit card debt.

She’s avoiding responsibility and that’s completely bonkers. There are no such things as victims in business. Only volunteers.

I’m not saying it’s easy to grab the steering wheel of your life and turn it in the direction that you want to go (and I know that you know that too) but the rewards when you do are significant.

It may even mean doing something as drastic as changing your industry or business in order to achieve it, but again, it comes down to that one word: Responsibility.

The business you are in, who you sell to, the products and services you provide, your prices, even the place in which you live and work. Oh sure, these are tough decisions but that’s what responsibility is all about and pretending that there are things outside our control, things that we can’t change, is part of our defense mechanism.

But, trust me, it’s hardly ever true and we’re just kidding ourselves. These aren’t decisions to be taken lightly. The trick is to think deeply and carefully about all aspects of business and life and remember that the questions you ask ultimately define your lifestyle.

Only when you get into the habit of thinking about your business in this way will you start to have confidence in your ability to take full responsibility.

I am in control and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Neither should you.

Until next week,

Nigel