SIX Reasons To Collaborate

SIX Reasons To Collaborate

The ‘C’ in enACT stands for Collaboration, but why do we encourage our members to do it?

Whilst collaborating with competitors may feel counter-intuitive, in this modern business world where clients are increasingly demanding and competitors increasingly innovative, it has become a necessity for a successful business.

This means being consistently on top of new product development, intellectual property and operational integrity and it’s just not easy to do this on our own in a box room.

 

These are our SIX reasons to collaborate!  They all begin with S!

 

1. Self-Awareness

The very act of starting to consider how you might collaborate with others in business forces you to acknowledge, accept and articulate what you are good at and what you are bad at.  If you’ve heard us talk about the power of acceptance, you’ll know that coming to an acceptance of our weaknesses as well as our strengths is a really important step in identifying where our business is exposed and finding other people who can help us.

2. Skills

Collaborating with others in business with different knowledge and skills to us enables us to gain those additional knowledge and skills in our business, without having to develop them ourselves.  Whilst there is an argument for understanding the basics of the four areas of business: Sales and Marketing, People, Operations and Finance, there is a stronger argument for not trying to master it all, because it is neither possible, nor indeed sensible, to aspire to be good at every aspect of business.

3. Strengths

When you collaborate effectively, it allows you stay within your capability and expertise, so that you play to your strengths as a business and as a business person and stay loyal to your offering.  We all know that when we get overly distracted seeking to learn and develop skills in the areas we are not good at, we stop playing to our strengths and instead become weak.  To be clear, a strength is not just something we are good at, a strength is something that we are BOTH good at and that we enjoy – that we are energised by and therefore makes us feel stronger.

4. Speed

When you collaborate on something with others in an effective way, you can identify issues and arrive at and implement solutions quicker.  It simple terms, it also means that more activity get’s done at the same time and so things happen faster and results come quicker.

5. Stability

Collaboration enhances your business’s stability.  This isn’t just about the stability of your business in terms of having everything covered and therefore being sustainable, but it’s also about the perceived stability of you business of propects and clients.  It enables you to provide a more complete offering to your clients, so that they don’t perceive the risk associated with working with a One-Man-Band and get a better solution in the process

6. Scalability

If you want to be able to scale what your business offers so that you can serve more people, across a wider geographic area, or reach new markets, collaborating with people who can bring technical know-how or who have platforms that you can use or lists that you can leverage is an effect means of doing so.

So these are our six reasons to collaborate.  But how to do it?

Well, collaboration can take many forms, from a simple direct swap of services, to payment for introductions, to an actual Joint Venture where you team up with others to provide a broader range of skills or services and share the revenue equally.

We’ll share what we consider to be the 5 levels of collaboration in a future blog.  In the meantime, consider how you could collaborate, with whom and with what end purpose and then why not book a 1-2-1 with that person today – you may find that they’ve been looking for you too!

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A Coach Or A Mentor?

A Coach Or A Mentor?

None of us have the full tool kit required to start, develop and run a business.  The energy, attitude and skills required to get a business off the ground are quite different to those required to manage a business that’s already established.

Think about it.  If we had all of the skills required to both start and run a business, we’d not excel at anything and recognising this is the first step in going out and sourcing the support of a coach or a mentor!

I say a coach OR a mentor because contrary to what many people think, although many coaches do an element of mentoring and many mentors also have coaching skills, the two roles are fundamentally very different.

Whilst coaching and mentoring are both concerned with enabling an individual to identify issues and solutions and to achieve success, coaching does this through skilled questioning and facilitation and mentoring does this through advising and directing.

What is a Coach?

A Coach is typically someone that you hire to support you with a specific issue or project, and sometimes for a specified amount of time. 

Coaching is a set of skills that enable the coach to observe and analyse your attitude, skills and behaviour and to provide you with an objective perspective in order to enable you to develop and grow.  A coach is focused specifically on your personal development and learning, and a business coach is focused on this with the specific aim of supporting you in developing your business.

Coaching involves questioning techniques to explore the individuals wants, needs, motivations, skills and thought processes so that they can identify their own solutions and set goals and activities to achieve them.  It is not essential for a business coach to have run a business, or to have any previous knowledge of the individual’s area of expertise, industry, or product.  Their value is defined by their ability to guide and support their client in identifying the areas for development and in identifying solutions.

A good coach is someone who you respect and who you feel respects you.  They are someone you feel comfortable talking openly and honestly with and by whom you are prepared to be challenged.

What is a Mentor?

A Mentor is someone who has specific skills and experience in the area you want to develop those things and a business mentor is someone who has owned, developed, or run a successful business and has demonstrated that they have the skills required to succeed in business. 

Anyone in this position will have had failings a well as successes and it is their ability to turn a failing into a success that makes their input into your business so valuable.

Ideally they will have had experience running businesses similar to yours, however, the industry is less important than the type of business it is.  For instance, if you sell services, a good mentor for you is someone who has built and/or run a business that sells services.

A mentor may be someone you pay to support you, or it may be a friend or a previous boss or colleague who shares their experience and wisdom willingly.

A good mentor is someone who has an investment in your success and is committed to helping you achieve your business goals.  They are the first person to whom you turn for advice and they are the first to hear of your successes. 

They explore options and solutions with you, and they help you to deal with obstacles.  For this reason, a good mentor will always be honest with you.  They will tell you if they think an idea you have is a good one, or too risky.  They will also tell you if they don’t know something, and ideally, they will have an extensive network of other experts and suppliers to leverage to get the right answer.

Both a coach and a mentor play an important role in your success and there is argument for having one of each… I do!

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Time Management – A Waste Of Time!

Time Management – A Waste Of Time!

ClockHow many times have you read a book on Time Management, attended a Time Management course, or looked for Time Management solutions online?

We’ve all done it!

Running your own business is hard work and with so much to do in so many different areas, a perceived ‘lack of time’, or ‘poor management’ of time often gets the blame, but…

Can You Really Blame Time?

Can you really manage time?  Can you influence time?  Can you control time?  Can you organise, direct and support time?

No You Can’t!

Time passes by as night follows day, and despite the billion dollar ‘Time Management’ industry, the simple fact of the matter is you can’t manage time.

Now it may appear to be semantics, but the reality is that all we can do is manage the activities we do as time passes by, which is where all the training and ‘solutions’ focus their attention.  So apart from being semantically labelled incorrectly, why is it that the results from these solutions are usually short lived?

I believe it’s because whilst the theory about organising activities is fairly straight forward: prioritise your list, cut out distractions and then get on with it, many of us are prone to distraction, displacement activities and procrastination.

So why is that?

It’s because fundamentally we’re not managing ourselves very well and in order to better manage ourselves, we need to lead ourselves.  This means that we need to develop the art of self-leadership.

Self-leadership is the commitment and the capacity to take responsibility for our own outcomes, and it is the opposite of shifting responsibility for those outcomes onto other people or circumstances (which is far easier to do btw!)

When you are coming from a self-leadership place, you can begin to develop the clarity, focus and the determination to move through your ‘todo’ list because you’ve thought through, the what and the why, you’ve developed strategies for the distractions, and you’ve established a pace that you know is sustainable.

When you master this, your whole world changes and many more things than just time fall into line.

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