12 Step Program for Business Owners – NO WAY!
I was listening to a presenter at a speaker's conference and the story he shared was shocking. It showed me clearly how difficult change is.
They took heart disease patients who are alive only because their surgeons opened them up and fix them. They were patients that had issues with weight, sedentary lifestyles, and poor eating habits. They had all gone through a "come to Jesus" experience that leads many of us to reevaluate our lives and consider what serious changes we need to make. We realize that if we want to live to see our grandchildren, leave a meaningful legacy, grow old with our closest love ones, we need to something very different.
In this study, they told a first group they must lose weight, eat better, and exercise. They were told they MUST change their lifestyle. This wasn't a light threat. It was their doctor sitting down with them and telling it to them straight. The message was clear. You MUST CHANGE OR DIE.
The results for this group shocked me. They followed these patients closely and found out that 90% of them were back to their old lifestyle - eating poorly, overweight with no exercise - within 6 months. Six months is all it took these people to cave and go back to the way they had done it before. The terrible scare they experienced had absolutely no impact on them. They could not or would not change.
They took a second group that had gone through the same health issues and they gave them a different option. They enrolled these folks in support groups. These had gone through similar health issues. They all looked at death right in the face and had the same charge or die sentence. The results for this group were drastically different.
78% of them were able to make the needed changes and the change stuck with them for years.
It hit home the message that in the absence of support, environment wins. Change requires that we surround ourselves with a support system of some sort to keep us on track and focused.
This is true for our businesses. Those of us in the trenches running our own businesses are in a unique situation. We are working hard, typically isolated and wanting to make the changes necessary to succeed.
Many of us started our businesses because we are good at "something." We understand the tax code so we started doing taxes for the people we know. We spent years going through law school, worked for a law firm and then wrote contracts or represented people in court. I have programming, website building and online marketing skills. I started off building websites and online marketing campaigns for people "on the side."
What happens when you decide you want to build a business instead of just being the person that delivers the services for your clients is you have to changes. These are changes that are difficult because they have nothing to do with the expertise that got us started.
Let me share with you my experience. My biggest challenge when I started out was that I needed to focus. I needed to limit the services I offered to those that were most profitable and those that I could scale with other team members. The problem I faced was that I could do so much and it's what made it possible for me to get started. I knew how to:
- build websites,
- build marketing campaigns,
- build sales funnels,
- record video,
- record voice overs,
- manage email systems,
- run IT departments...
the list goes on and on.
Whenever a customer needed something, my thinking was, "I can do that." My skills and abilities, what enabled me to start my business, were now the biggest roadblocks. I would spend time doing customer work, and the possibilities were endless, and that kept me from:
- focusing on what brought my business the most profit,
- training and developing team members to do that profitable work, and
- selling and marketing the services we offer.
I had become heart patient needing support the support group or the addict needing 12 Step Program.
I was fortunate. Early on , I joined the Marketing Automation Group Mastermind. It was my support group, or my 12 Step Program as I liked to call it, that provided me some badly needed support. In my case, it taught me to use Infusionsoft and build the membership sites that are now one of our top offerings. What I got most from the group and what has enabled me to take my business to the next level was stuff I didn't even know I needed.
What I quickly realized was that I now had access to business owners open to sharing their experience with me. These were people who were willing to give me feedback and hold me accountable. And they were going to that whether I wanted to hear it or not.
One requirement for attending that Mastermind was we needed to open up about our businesses and share parts about it we had never shared with anyone. We had to discuss our biggest challenges and our biggest fears.
We had a thing called "hot seats." Note: I get uncomfortable just thinking about it. This is where you get in front of the room and ask other members to hear us present a challenge we want to overcome. Oh boy the feedback I got that I did not expect. I had people with decades of experience jumping into my business and telling me how they saw it. Sometimes, I got some kudos and I walk away proudly. Many times, and these were ones that forced change on me, I got these puzzled, "Why would you ever think to do that?"
I can honestly tell you that going though that painful back and forth with members of my Mastermind were a painful. They forced me to face things about my business and about myself that I often didn't want or didn't know I had to face. You know the drill. Going through that with this group of people that cared for me was painful, but it wasn't as painful as if I hadn't addressed the issues they pointed out. It was like me losing weight and exercising, which can be painful, vs. getting another heart attack.
The changes I got form working my Mastermind led to me:
- change the way I ran my business,
- face a shortcoming that were holding me back,
- reach out to a key resource for additional help or
- drop ideas and ways of doing business that were not working.
It was my support group and without it, I NEVER would have made the progress I made my first three years in business. I have to thank that group for all they enabled me to accomplish.
So my advice is, find yourself a Mastermind. We have one starting up later this year. You can click here to get information on it. If you can't find one that works for you, find a coach, mentor, adviser, a fellow business owner and get that outside help. Running your own business is tough enough.
Don't doom yourself to failure.