Becoming the Business That You Would Hire Yourself

Feb 11, 2014, Written by Sue Miley

According to the SBA, about 627,200 new small businesses began operations in 2008, and 595,600 firms closed that year.  This is the latest year that statistics were available.

It is sobering to me that about 600,000 hopeful entrepreneurs hang out their shingle each year while the guy across the street takes his down.

I think and I ponder why the revolving door?

I hung up a my own shingle six years ago. I can honestly say it never occurred to me that there was possibly a start and a finish to my practice.  It was just part of the journey.

I chugged along having some great months and some not so good.  Then I fell into a slump.  I wasn’t generating new clients.

My natural instinct is to kick into gear and start stirring up every strategy one can to get clients.  I knew my anxiety meant I wasn’t trusting God’s vision and I was about to take over the reigns and try to do it all by myself!  Seriously, I didn’t even tell anyone I was slow or looking for clients.  Way to network, huh?

This time I decided to wait.  I decided to look at the work I’d been doing and review the progress of my clients.  I began to write about the issues they were having.

Writing actually helped me to provide better guidance to them.  I actually had time to ponder their situation outside of our session.  I realized that some long-term clients weren’t implementing what we discussed.

It was surreal to me.  I know we can’t work harder than our clients and we can’t do it for them.  But why would people pay someone if they weren’t progressing?  I want to add value.

I’m a business coach and I’ve personally used coaches myself.  Did I listen to them?  Were they effective?

I realized in many ways I was my clients, and my coaches were also me.

We stay on a wheel helping entrepreneurs make another rotation, keep that shingle up another month, but never really go anywhere.

This made me begin to seriously contemplate what would help me?  I’m a small business.  What would be the ideal coach for me?  As I visualized the ideal coach for me, I wrote about it.

I wrote a description of a coach whose heart was passionate about helping, diligent about follow-up, and invested intensely in walking by my side.

Then I began to be it.  I began to work with my clients the way my ideal coach would work with me.

I personally placed myself in my client’s shoes.  If I were them, what would I need most.

The change was immediate.

As I tried to become this God honoring coach my enthusiasm, passion, and energy rose. My clients responded in kind. Soon my business grew.

What is your business?  Are you a web designer creating websites that will help your clients grow their business or ones that would win Addie Awards?

Are you a staffing agency that is churning temporary employees or are you trying to match the perfect person with the job for them?  Are you a revolving door or a matchmaker?

I don’t think it matters what business you’re in.  I truly believe that one of the main secrets to small business success…

….the way to stay in the statistics of open small businesses

….the way to keep clients and get referrals

is to determine from your customer’s vantage if you are their ideal __________________(fill in the blank).

If not, pledge to work on it.

Promise to maintain it.

Pray to become it.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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