Case Study – Sandra, Small Business Owner
Summary: Sandra had been running her own small business for the past 8 years and she was tired of the same struggles, frustrations and limitations she seemed to face year in, year out. The coaching environment gave Sandra two clear advantages – firstly a place to safely vent the difficulties she faced as a business owner, without undermining her position amongst her peers in her industry, and secondly, a fresh new way of approaching some of the dilemmas and difficulties she faced, from a different angle.
Sandra knew all the advantages and disadvantages of being your own boss and running your own business, she had been doing it for years and naturally mixed and mingled with other business owners just like herself.
Yet Sandra would find herself experiencing the disadvantages without the balance and benefit of the advantages. There was always the hope, the dream that the business would pick up this year, that there would be time to start new exciting projects in the next quarter, that it would be possible to employ an administrator or salesperson very soon. But in reality each year would go by and this never seemed to materialise.
Sandra doesn’t easily discuss her very private business matters with anyone – not her closest friends nor her partner; for her it was a combination of ‘I can manage this by myself’ with ‘it would hurt my pride to admit to not having achieved what I believed I would achieve by now in my business.’
The coaching environment gave Sandra the freedom to speak her mind, to really be honest about her dilemmas and frustrations, with someone who had no agenda, where there was nothing to hide and nothing to lose.
Within a very short period Sandra found that there were a number of simple yet key activities within her business that she could apply, through which she could achieve significant impact and change.
Primarily, it was necessary for Sandra to get clear and focused on her goals and desired outcome for herself and her business both in the immediate future and the medium-term future. This exercise alone helped Sandra put into perspective a lot of the current activities that were on-going but without any obvious direction or outcome. This also clarified what really needed doing and what was simply time-consuming and not results orientated.
Secondly, Sandra prepared a clear and functional analysis of the costs and benefits of adding staff to the team. With structured job specs and clearly defined targets and expectations, when these were actioned, the changes within the company were dramatic. Through delegation of tasks and greater efficiency in the office, Sandra was able to apply her own skills and resources to what she did best; and with sales being managed by a professional sales person, Sandra began to see the monthly, quarterly and annual targets being reached and surpassed.
The business changed shape in less than 12 months, due to the attention and commitment that Sandra gave to making the change happen, to making the business a success. Her levels of motivation, excitement and enthusiasm peaked during this period and she constantly strived to set new and higher standards for herself and her business.
The reward for Sandra was two-fold: with a more successful and flourishing business, more delegation and greater profits, Sandra also used her own time more wisely and found that she also achieved the work / life balance she had so needed to address over the past few years.
Sandra realised that by dealing with one aspect of vital importance to her life, which was the success of her business, the ripple effect of this throughout her life was highly valuable.