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I’ve been blessed with a number of business owner clients that have returned for more coaching. Last year, one of these repeat clients began to tell me that he wanted to stop coaching for a while. His exact words were, “I’ve done as much as I can with you. I have to take real action and only I can do that.” This was the second time he had said these words to me over three years.

At that moment I realized that he and my other clients already have all the ideas, plans and strategies to achieve the business success they want. This client is no dummy. Owning a business is hard work and he has lasted over 30 years because he knows what to do. Even when there was something outside his area of knowledge, he knew that too and brought someone in to help.

For me, this was a profound truth. Coaching school taught me that people are naturally resourceful, but this was different, and a new guiding principle emerged:

Business owners know what needs to be done to achieve their most important priorities.

They know what they know and they also know what they don’t know. With this information in hand, they can list every decision, plan, strategy and idea necessary to make things happen.

This is the good news.

Unfortunately, there is bad news, too. Ideas, plans and strategies are free. Some people say they’re worth the paper they’re written on. It’s the execution of them that is priceless. For most business owners, ideas revolve around top-line revenue, bottom-line profitability or smoother operations. The difficulty in executing these critical business plans comes down to one thing lack of focus! The three main culprits here are:

  1. Ideas are lost in the never ending sea of business to-dos.
  2. There is no written, actionable plan to execute the ideas.
  3. The execution of an idea rests completely on the business owner. When he or she is inevitably pulled into other things, the execution loses momentum or stops all together.

It’s now time for business owners to take a stand and make this coming year different than every previous year. Remember, you know what needs to be done to achieve your most important business priorities. With that in mind, start with these questions:

  1. What is the top priority of your business?
  2. What one thing needs to change to successfully tackle that priority?
  3. With all the things you’ve tried already, why haven’t they worked?
  4. What are you willing to commit to change to get a different result next year?

Next week’s post will be a quick strategy to sort through your sea of ideas and strategies and determine which to act upon.

Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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