Are you in the right business? A reality check.
Many consultants are happy to tell their clients exactly what they want to hear. But at Growth Path, we specialize in telling our clients what they need to hear. Even when it makes for awkward, lip-biting conversations.
A few years ago, we found ourselves working on an engagement where, after doing the research, we realized our client was in the wrong business. Neither happy nor motivated, they were simply going through the motions.
“Sam” billed himself as an efficiency coach and retained Growth Path to help him expand his business but, in truth, Sam specialized in helping his clients with email and didn’t go beyond that. In speaking with Sam’s clients, we realized that Sam had a great opportunity: His clients wanted more services and they wanted to buy them from Sam. We wrote a plan for him to build those services into his offerings, but there was a hitch: Sam had no interest in providing them. We were at an impasse.
Tough situations call for honest conversations
Telling Sam what he needed to hear wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do. But a surprising thing happened: Sam admitted that his heart wasn’t in it. Turned out he’d always wanted to open a restaurant on the West coast. We could have told Sam what he was expecting to hear. We could have continued to work with him even knowing that he was miserable. But Sam engaged us for good advice and that’s what we delivered. “You’re in the wrong business,” we said. “Go do what you love. Go do it now.” Within six months, Sam moved to Vancouver Island to open a restaurant and follow his dream.
The bottom line is that, if you start a business, your responsibility is building that business. It’s not a question of what you want to do; it’s a question of what your business needs you to do. Not everybody is interested in running their own business. They may love to write or paint or build cupboards, but running a business requires that we go beyond our specific trades or hobbies, and do what our business requires whether that means making calls, attending networking events, or working with contractors.
“I’m not a morning person, but my business is.” – Charmaine Denton, Denmor Associates
On a positive note, we recently worked with a local photographer who wanted to expand his business. When he met with Growth Path, he admitted that all he really wanted to do was take pictures. “Then why run your own business?” we asked. “Why not simply work for Sears where you can take baby pictures all day?” This conversation opened the photographer’s eyes to what he needed to do to: Expand his offerings, subcontract and market.
Our tough love placed him on a strategic path that has empowered him to double his business over the last 12 months.