One of the most common unintended benefits my small business clients get from coaching is feeling supported. (But not in ways you’d think)
Types of support for small business owners
We’re so used to getting the financial and legal support and these are quite rightly needed and should be provided by an expert.
The thing is that there is more to running a business than making sure it’s above board and paying the bills. In fact, there’s a lot that we pour into running a small business that actually increases our need for support.
As individuals, we know that we most commonly need:
– emotional/mental, and
– spiritual support.
As small business owners, too often we get caught up with the first, draw on our personal lives for the last and forget the middle one. The thing is, it’s the mental and emotional self which can keep us going.
When my clients come to me, they believe they want the physical support (social media marketing knowledge or business coaching). What they don’t realise is that they also need the emotional and mental support (good thing I have a psychology degree on top of the business qualification).
Emotional & psychological support for small business owners
There are recurring themes with my clients, and I honestly don’t believe they are alone in their needs for emotional support with their small business.
You want a safety net
Being a small business owner can be a lonely job, especially when no one else in your family or friendship group are small business owners.
Sometimes you want to know how to (and help with) solving the problems of your world and other times you want someone just to sit there and listen. No commentary, no solutions, just someone to vent at.
Sometimes you want to know that when you are at your lowest of lows, there’s someone there with the know-how of how to dig you out of that hole, dust you off, and set you on the path again. (Oh and to suggest ways on preventing it from happening again)
You want a mirror
As a small business owner, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. A business coach or mentor can sit there and show you the ways that you can’t see.
When you’ve been knocked down or are beating yourself up, you want someone who will speak kind truth to you, just like you would to someone you cared for.
When you’re being stubborn and not considering all the possibilities and are looking to go in the wrong direction, you need someone who is prepared to stand up and make you reason your way through.
When you ignore advice and fall, you want someone who won’t rub it in your face but will instead walk with you out of it all.
You want a sounding board
As a small business owner part of having support is knowing that the person giving it has either been there, has expertise in the area, or has a good pool of resources to draw on and isn’t afraid to use it. Why? Because part of feeling alone and unsupported is not having a sounding board or the resources when you need them.
Some days, running a small business is like reaching into the junk drawer in the kitchen in the hope that the perfect tool will jump into your hand. You hope you’d bought it all those months ago but you’re just not sure if you really did or if it really exists.
Ok, so as a business coach I may have just referred to myself as a junk drawer and some days it’s like that. More often it’s pre-empting which tool is needed and having it ready. Sometimes it’s fostering links and connections in the knowledge that one day that thing will come in handy. (Geez, it really does sound like a junk drawer)
But in reality, as a small business owner, you don’t know what support you’ll need until you need it. So that means that you need someone who is able to understand your needs and has access to the tools. Not race in and fix it for you but listens and gives you the tools to respond accordingly, it is your business after all.
I started my first business when I was working fulltime, doing my Masters, and had two toddlers. I was the first in my family to start their own business. It was early in 2011, I had recently signed up to Facebook, and I started showing my products on there as many of my friends needed what I had to sell. I did a lot of free courses and coaching sessions and eventually found myself a coach. The rest they say is history.
The thing is, I neglected my emotional and mental support. None of my friends, at the start, had businesses. It’s no surprise that my clients became my friends, I needed them but they weren’t always the best at giving advice because they could only draw on their experience and their junk drawer was all but empty.
Having a business coach or peer mastermind is helpful but you need to make sure that they take care of all of the aspects of support you need, not just the technical. I’m grateful that I have a few business friends now who have a background in mental health to offer me the support I need. But I’m curious if you’re getting the right mix of support to help you and your business? If not, I’m here. You can send me an email, book a quick (and free) coffee catch up, or you can organize more formal business coaching.
I’ve been here for a while, I’ve seen & heard a lot, I have a full drawer, and I want to support you as a small business owner.