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On the Path – Life Coaching for Small Business Owners

One of the distinctions that sets coaching apart from other types of consulting is that coaching specifically addresses the client’s sense of who they are in the world, and helps the client make life choices that are aligned with their personal values. In my opinion, there tends to be a split in the psyche of America between personal and career development. If you look in the index of your local telephone company’s Yellow Pages (TM) you can easily find “Business Services” and “Counseling Services.” In my local directory, I notice that the business advertisements use a lot of words like, “strategies,” “leadership,” and “business planning.” The counseling listings include, “addictions,” “crisis,” and “mental health.” All of those services are valuable, but where does the over-worked owner of an independent business, who is getting burnt out, and rarely gets time with loved ones, go for support? What about the sole-proprietor in a specialized service industry, like an alternative health practitioner, who is just starting to grow their business and wants to do so in a way that honors their belief system? What kind of support is going to best suit them?

It seems that many of the business consultants are geared towards the needs of larger, more corporate companies. In general, consultants are the resource one might use to learn how to set up and run a business or to delegate specific tasks to, such as webmasters, accountants, and the like. Counselors on the other hand, are the resource one might use for changing behaviors and healing personal issues. The small business owner may not need help managing a large executive staff, nor have terribly difficult personal problems for which they need to receive therapy. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t need personal support as they go about making the changes necessary to have a successful and profitable business. One of the beautiful things about coaching is that it addresses the client as whole and complete person. Life coaching may include the development of practical business skills, but it also includes the development of the person who is creating the business. Coaching is not just concerned with what a person does, but coaching enhances who a person is being while they’re going about the tasks of daily life. It’s personal empowerment in action.

According to the Small Business Bureau’s report, Small Business Economic Indicators for 2002 “Small firms represent about 99 percent of employers, employ about half of the private sector workforce and are responsible for about two thirds to three quarters of the net new jobs.” They are the creative pulse of America. Ignited by the spark of wanting to make a difference in the world, and the desire to live a life of freedom, entrepreneurs start off passionately. However, the creativity that motivates a small business owner to go into business in the first place often gets dampened as the daily administration of the business takes over. There is so much to do: formulating the business, structuring the business plan, implementing the plan, and still trying to maintain a life. What started as a quest for freedom and the ability to control one’s destiny, has now become a chore of monotonous practicalities and financial struggle, leaving the business owner with even less freedom then before they started. At what point does the business fail? Maybe the business owner just finally gives up and quits. Is it that the owner didn’t have a viable idea? Did they not try hard enough? Tough times? It would be presumptuous to second guess why so many new businesses close, but the small business owner would be wise to gather as much personal support as they can to keep themselves energized and on-target. The American Dream is possible, but it doesn’t come easy.

As a coach, I love to work with entrepreneurs. There is a special magic in the creativity that inspires someone to begin their own business. A business can truly become a “calling,” as the owner walks a path that leads to spiritual growth and provides benefit to the community. I admire people who create meaningful lives, and are willing to face the challenges that come with following their inspiration. Some challenges however, can intensify to the level that they become “spiritual wake-up calls.” When a business has gone flat, profits are non-existent, and the business owner’s personal life has diminished, I believe it’s time to stop and reevaluate before the business goes into a fatal downward spiral. At this point I think it’s imperative to work with the business owner directly. If the owner isn’t happy, if their energy is low, they’re not going to be in a creative solution-oriented state of mind. This is going to have a negative effect on everyone around them, both at work and at home. Albert Einstein said that solutions to problems cannot be found at the same level of energy that created them. Simply “trying harder,” or “doing more” may not only be impossible, it may be ineffective as well. For the most positive results, it is essential for the business owner to revitalize their health, relationships, and to feel inspired again.

Inspiration, “in spirit,” is the revitalizing flow of new energy, awareness, and ideas. Like a breath of fresh air, inspiration allows us to feel alive. When I am coaching a client, I inquire deeply into what is most inspiring to them. Through a process of questions, self-inquiry, and sometimes professional assessments, my clients begin to remember who they really are and to get their priorities back in order. We might discuss their values, life purpose, or simply what it is that they want to create. What I find is that people respond more creatively and productively in business when they are first taking care of themselves. Inspiration and motivation go hand in hand. There is a natural tendency to want to take action when one has the rush of creative renewal. That is the perfect time to set business and personal goals, especially within the context of the client’s stated priorities, and who they want to be in the world, beyond any experience of what they have done (or not done) thus far.

Having a renewed sense of purpose and commitment is vital to moving forward again, but that does not mean it will go unchallenged. Here is where coaching is especially valuable. For new results to occur there has to be a well-conceived plan and follow-through on implementing the plan. There is a natural tendency to repeat old patterns. Change does not usually come from insight alone. In my opinion, that’s why a lot of self-help techniques and seminars don’t work. Lasting change is an internal process that results from direct experience, and really “getting it” for one’s self. There are slow and fast ways to integrate transformative learning, but the change must be internalized for it to work. As a coach, I walk my clients through the process of implementing the changes they want to make. And although it doesn’t make challenges any less likely to occur, coaching increases the self-mastery of the client and helps them align their decisions and actions to their stated goals. Over time, things get smoother. Choices become clearer. The small business owner is supported and empowered to make professionally savvy decisions, sourced from an intuitive knowing about what is right for them, instead of acting and reacting unconsciously to circumstances. Immediately, the client is living from their values on a daily basis, resulting in personal satisfaction at the end of the day. The split between personal and career development begins to mend.

Since I’m a coach, I will end with a question: What would the world be like if everyone felt personally fulfilled in their work, satisfied from being recognized for their gifts and talents, and also had abundant quality time with their loved ones? Do you think the world would be different? Would your life be different? If anyone has the power to create a paradigm shift in the balance between personal life and work, it’s America’s small business owners–and that change needs to begin with the owners themselves. A professional coach can help you keep your sense of self while you journey on the path that leads to your success.

Your Perfect Business Plan

Everything here is is to help you write your perfect busines plan.

Free small business plan information to help you get started…

If you plan on receiving third party financing for you home business then creating a small business plan is something that you absolutely must do. Most people starting small businesses do not write out a business plan and from a academic standpoint this is large mistake.

Your business plan is in essence the backbone of your business.

You are going to need to create one especially if you plan on receiving a small business start up loan or grant. No investor will take your request for money seriously unless you can show them a viable business plan. I know you don’t know where to start, but don’t worry… It should not be too tough of a task after reviewing the information found here.

You have two options when creating a small business plan: you can hire a professional to write one out for you or you can create a free small business plan by writing it yourself.

Your small business plan can be simple, all it must do is describe what your business is and where you want it go in the future.

Essential parts of a small business plan:

Title Page:

On this page you include the name of your business, your business’s address, phone number, email address, website URL, and of course your name as well as an other business owner

On the title page you should also include a one page statement explaining why you created your business plan (e.i. why you need money to start for your small business)

Table of contents:

Summary

A sentence or two about each section of your business plan to grab the attention of your potential investors.

Business Description

This section contains the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your small business. Give your companies physical location information, when your business was formed, what type of legal entity your business is formed under, and a brief description of your product or service.

Product or Service Rendered

Explain how your business operates and be as specific as possible.

Your Plan

How are you going to market your product or service? Who are you going to market your product to? Who is your existing competition? Answer these questions in this section of your small business plan.

Day to Day Operational Requirements

What will you do on a day to day basis in your business? What type of equipment will you need? Answer these questions in this section of your small business plan.

Personnel

Who will be the people directly involved in your business? What will they do? If you are going to run a home business you may be the only person directly involved in your business. Explain your role, your background, and what you will have to do to run your business successfully.

Financial Data

To your potential investors this is the MOST important part of your small business plan.

The information that you must include in this section is as follows…

* Projected start up cost: How much money are you going to need to get your business started and what are you going to be spending that money on.

* Projected income statement: How much revenue do you expect to produce in your business start up phase?

* Expected profit and loss: Self explanatory…

* Projected monthly cash flow: Your cash flow is how much money you earn minus how much you spend.

* Your personal financial statement: Self explanatory…

* Supporting Docs: In this section you will want to include any supporting information required for the success of your home business and anything else that directly adds as perspective to your start up plans.

Do You Have What It Takes For A Successful Online Business?

Many people want to own a profitable internet business but only some actually succeed. Why?

Some say it is because one need to be a computer expert in order to succeed while others blame it on luck and timing. Personally I think those are not the real reasons. I know of people who start off with no knowledge about computer and internet but have build an online businesses that generate over a hundred thousand dollars each year. And every day there are new people coming on board the internet and are making a good living. Every day is a good time to start an internet business.

So what does it takes for one to own a successful online business? I have identified three very important questions that determine whether you have the stuff for a profitable internet business

1. Are You Willing To Learn In Your Business

Except for the minority, majority of the people do not have an training and experience in business. Hence like anything that you want to do well in life, if you want to have a successful internet business, you must first be willing to learn the trade.

There are people in this world who have the attitude that they know it all. I have spoken with some of them who blamed their failure on the market, their competitor etc. They went on saying that all those who claim that they actually make money on the internet are all con men and women, no one can actually make a good living on the internet except for the large corporation.

If you have similar thinking, I hope you can change this mindset.

Everyday, thousands of ordinary people are making good money on the internet. The major difference between these people and the others who simply blame their circumstances is that the former are constantly learning about their business, while the latter do nothing to increase their knowledge.

If you come to my home office, you should see my shelves. There are rows and rows of marketing and internet information, business books and manuals on sales and
marketing. Every day I read and learn about marketing and apply the knowledge to my business. Every little achievement that I got today comes from the knowledge I
earned.

Every thing in this world that you don’t know can actually be learned. The internet and the technology are constantly changing. Hence if you want to be able to own a successful internet business, it is very important that you keep yourself current by reading and learning every day.

2. Are You Taking Action?

If your answer to the above question is a positive one, congratulations! You are one step closer to owning a profitable internet business.

The next question is whether you are taking any action for the information and knowledge that you have learned. Knowing something alone will not improve your business. It is only when you take action based on what you have learned will that help to bring your business to a greater height.

In case you are not aware, people who succeed fail many more time than people who simply don’t take any action. Each time when they take action and they fail to get what they want, they simply learn from the experience and do it again in a different way until they get it right. And usually, the gains from the few successes that they have achieved far exceed the loses from all the total failures.

I’d you to remember this – success in business often doesn’t happen immediately when you first started your business online. It is more likely to happen after you have
continuously learned, taking action, fail in many of your attempts and do it again and again in a different ways till you strike gold.

If you want to own a successful online business, never be afraid to fail and always take action to get what you want. If you do that, you will ultimately achieve what you want..

3. Are You Persistent in Your Business?

Do you have the patience to build a profitable internet business. Too many people heard of the over night online success and believe that they will be the next lucky one.

Yes there are a some who just happen to come up with the right products and at the right timing that help them make it big quick it. However you may not aware that they have actually done a lot of preparation to get to that point. And it doesn’t mean that this will happen to everyone.

Majority of the successful online business owners started off with very low web traffic and few sales. They constantly apply the necessary techniques and take action to build their business every day. And most started out as a part-time business and slowly built their online income to a level that matched or exceeded the income from their regular jobs.

Almost all successful internet business owners who I know failed at their first businesses. If you feel that you have failed too, don’t be too upset about it. We all failed at one time or another and I know I did. However you are not a failure unless you give up and quit after your fail.

So if you are a willing learner, an action taker and persistent in your business, then you already have the right stuff to build a business. Apply these characteristics to you business and I know you will definitely move to the top.