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Five Lessons in Five Years


1. Know, like, trust

Most people don't really care what you have done or how important or large the businesses you ran or the stuff you managed was. They are interested in what you can do for them and on deciding whether they trust you or not. You cannot establish credibility before you establish trust - a lot of people will set traps for you here and it takes a conscious effort of avoidance for most of us to stop falling into them.

2. Learn how to say no

Saying 'yes' to everything is a rapid way to derail your journey in this space. By the time you do this you probably know your 'A' strengths. It may be worth refreshing yourself of these and getting some impartial third parties to verify them. The Art of Strengths Coaching by Mike Pegg gives away loads of valuable content in this area and its worth reading.

The easiest and most painless way to say no to someone is to find someone else to do what they want. This is where relationships with frenemies can be very advantageous, the piece of work / client you know in your heart you shouldn't do might be ideal for someone who previously regarded you as a competitor. I have had referrals like this come back the other way, but someone has to make the first move.

3. Give one thing away and do it well

You will get loads of opportunities to deliver low yield and pro-bono work, so choose one and smash it. You will feel better, its much easier to gently turn away / postpone other stuff and if you choose well you will learn some things too. I'm lucky enough to be NED at the fantastic housing association Worthing Homes Ltd, in the time I've been doing that I have met some great people and had the thrill of learning at pace again.

4. Invest in referral partners

The business coaching sphere seems to have lots of people in it, however in reality the need of the market is not being met. There is conversely no demand so it makes it look as if there is loads of competition. There really isn't, certainly you have to work hard to get in front of the right people and you can't sell this kind of service only give people opportunities to buy.

If you look after them, other people in your target clients trust networks can really help you, bankers , accountants and horizontal business suppliers are great for this. I recently had a business owner approach me after he asked three people in his trusted circle to give him three names each. What he said was; 'I got nine names, you were three of them'. That is the outcome of a few years of consistent networking.

5. Don't defend your dwindling cash pile, choose and invest!

When you start the business it is likely you will do the survival calculation, I have X in the bank , need to spend Y each month , so I can go Z months before I run out. This you have to do but isn't helpful as you are planning to fail. Choose two to three activities you think will work and execute furiously. This will change your equation and rapidly set you thinking about if I win A then I can invest in B which as a mindset opens other worlds up to you

Chris Simpson runs a successful franchise in the South East. Chris is now one of six new regional directors and provides mentoring to new franchisees on his patch.

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