"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it." -Lena Horne
My boss is about to lose his machine shop and I was wondering if their is anything that can keep this from happening. It is a small family owned business and he treats his employees like family. He is in major debt with vendors, the IRS and behind on rent and has been served and eviction notice. Is there any good advice that can be given to keep the shop from shutting the doors?
This is just one communication I received this week that speaks to the desperation and heartbreak of the current economy. I know it's tough and I know things can seem hopeless but the one thing that you can do for yourself before things get so far gone is GET HELP.
So let me be clear – help does not mean asking cousin Shirley or Uncle Bob what they think unless they are employed in a profession that makes their advice relevant. I know your friends and family love you but what I'm talking about is going to professionals who actually have a level of expertise that can make a difference in your career or business.
I know. I know. Sounds like good advice, but it also costs money, right?
Don't let lack of money stop you. Before you go back to pulling your hair out, let me point you to some low or no-cost options to consider..
If you're a business owner, please take a visit to your local Small Business Administration (SBA). If you thought the SBA was just for business start-up's, think again. The SBA defines a small business as having revenues up to $1 million per year so if you're still under the cut-off, I'm sure they have resources that can give you some great ideas about how to survive this economy. The good news for your pocketbook is that most SBA's offer a multitude of free or low-cost services (i.e. less than $40 for most classes in my city) including special support services for minorities and women. One of my favorite "tools" is the SCORE program which enlists retired volunteers to coach/mentor younger business owners (hopefully in the same or similar business).
If you think your business could benefit from more intense action, try finding a business coach whose job it is to support you in developing a tangible action plan and stick to it (yes, I'm partial!). The best coaches will ensure that you create quantitative and qualitative results. If you think you can't afford it, think again. Yes, there are definitely coaching services that charge $500 and up per month but you may be able to find coaches for as little as $100. Buyer beware– in the coaching world, a more expensive coach does not necessarily mean a better coach. Many "new" coaches have tons of experience in their field but charge lower prices to build-up their clientele but ego being what it is, someone else who hung a shingle the same day, may charge $1000 out of the gate. Additionally, some coaches even take on clients pro bono or offer a la carte services to help affordability. Visit International Coach Federation website for a checklist of what to look for in a good coach and by all means, do your homework and find someone that resonates with you and you goals. Most offer a free consult, so you can get a free trial run before you plunk down your money.
You can also google for consulting services that meet the specific deficit of your business. The difference between coaching and consulting? All coaches are consultants, all consultants are not coaches (although I have met some consultants with greatcoaching abilities!). Consultants are generally paid to diagnose but as a general rule are the most expensive way to go. If your business is still at a point where you can afford a consultant though, it is a also a good option.
The bottom-line is do something. Your business will not be served by ignoring the challenges you face and doing nothing. It's hard sometimes to admit that things aren't working or that you are getting behind on your bills but when you own a business, there is more at stake than just losing access to cable. The sooner you reach out, the less debris you'll have even if that means you must develop a "graceful" exit strategy.
You were born to be great.
YES, you can!