This week’s session was an overview of where the businesses are. These activities are assembled to understand if the major obstacles for each business are financial, stress-related, lack of a network, need of a particular skill (marketing) or even just a general feeling that they are not in control of what is happening. So this session, likely felt like a doctor’s visit, but this is really an invitation for the business owner's to open up and share about where they are.
The class had to bring a few things with them. You can see the pre-work in our Welcome email.
In the first session, we reviewed the pre-work, each participant got up to give a short presentation of their business, and we went over a series of assessments and checklists. The biggest chunk of time was spent on the presentations. With 9 participants and each person talking for a maximum of 3 minutes, plus 3 instructors doing the same*. . . well, it took a little while. We asked that everyone cover the following:
- Who am I? What do I do? How do I do it?
- Here is my binder with information about my business and this is what I have in it?
- Where do I want to focus in the coming months? What is most challenging for me? What needs attention right now in my business?
- Finally, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I feel like the boss?
In terms of the last item – about being a boss – there were some interesting answers. Two people actually said they were not a boss because they had a partner and so that meant they were not THE boss. Some things to work on there, right? And another person came out of the gate with a score of 10. I’m all for confidence, but I’m a born skeptic and this sent up some red flags for me. We will have to keep you updated as both of these situations unfold.
The rest of the class was spent doing a series of personal & business assessments along with reviewing some checklists about brand, operations, and money**. For the most part, the age of the company was commiserate with the operational and financial development. In my experience there are some moments when your mental state doesn’t match the age though. So, a 12-month old business team may feel they have their operations together more than someone at the 6-year mark. This is a matter, most times, of just not knowing what you don’t know or more plainly stated, “Ignorance is bliss.” It’s also a factor of outgrowing a manual or labor-intensive system and needing to upgrade your process.
And the syllabus for the 8 sessions shows what we will be doing from now until November. It’s a lot of work and in some ways a lot of time. We assigned partners in class so that people can check in and support each other through the process and also hold each other accountable for making consistent effort.
Lastly, We like to end each session with asking, “What are you leaving with tonight?” For different people, this can be an A-HA moment, they might have learned that someone next to them has an expertise they need, or you might see a weakness or deficiency of your own that you just couldn’t see before. It’s important to see all of these things as information. They feel like high’s and low’s, but they are all just moments in the journey.
*It’s important for the team members to actively participate in these exercises too. The playing field has to be level to build trust AND if you own a business, you should be doing this work regularly anyway.
**Here’s a quick list of the Assessments: 1st Quarter Assessment, Mission Statement Exercise, Brand Assessment, Clean Sweep Assessment, Business Operations Checklist & Money Checklist