Human baby vs business baby

Today I launched a new division of my company. The idea was conceived 9 months ago and I’ve been nurturing it and growing it since then, and today’s the day that it launched into the world. Yes, I am a proud mama of a baby business.

It’s taken up a lot of my time already, and will hopefully continue to take up even more as it gets bigger and matures. Just like a human baby, it needs a lot of attention, dedication and time from me. I need help with it – I just can’t do it alone – so I’m looking for someone suitably qualified who I can trust to help me look after it.

I’m hoping it will let me have more sleep than a human baby would and at least I don’t need to feed it every 2 hours. 🙂

I wish I’d had more than a couple of posts on my Facebook wall and several ‘likes’ on my status in response to the ‘birth announcement’ this morning. But ultimately nobody’s really interested. It isn’t cute (although the branding is pretty attractive) and you can’t cuddle it. Yes, I know my new ‘baby’ is not a human. But it is very, very important to me – I’ve created it and I am going to bring it up to be something I can be very proud of.

Happy birth-day, baby!

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Coach, shrink or mentor?

I have a baby. It’s a three-year old small business with online and offline elements. I love it and for me the best part is that I am constantly learning: I never had any formal business training so it’s all a big learning curve. I’m a bit of a nerd and do love to learn, so I try to get on courses and programmes and have a few wonderfully helpful mentors too.

Being January, I am working on setting goals for this year. I culd get an Olympic medal for procrastinating about budgets and financial projections, so I’m easing into all this planning by reviewing myself first: what I’m passionate about, what I love doing, what I’m good at, etc. I’m currently asking myself these questions:

– What thrills me?

– What do I do really well, maybe better than anyone else?

– What makes me different?

– In which areas am I not living up to being the person I think I am / want to be (two separate questions there!)?

All pretty tough to answer. In a course I did a couple of years ago, our facilitator explained the difference between lifestyle and growth businesses. Lifestyle businesses being relatively small, with low headcount and decent but not massive income, likely not to grow very much once comfortably established – e.g. B&Bs. Growth businesses are those which seek to expand – premises, staff, revenues, world domination, etc. Back then even I thought that a lifestyle business sounded far more appealing (the benefit of keeping it small = less stress!) but my company is labelled more as being a potential growth business.

In the three years since I started my company, I’m still the only employee and while revenues are increasing year on year, it’s nothing spectacular. I do work hard at it and love it. So I wondered whether there’s a mental block that’s preventing me from expanding, or whether the flaw is in the business model. Would I need a therapist to help me recognise my own inner motivations and aspirations; a coach to push me to achieving goals and being accountable for my actions; or a mentor to guide and advise me strategically.

I called a friend of mine who is a coach and as usual, he gave me some very wise and thorough advice. He said that therapy would be necessary only if I am self-unaware – i.e. if I don’t know how I really feel, or am not brave enough to be honest with myself. Mentors are for business-specific expertise apparently, like financial advice or networking opportunities. Coaches are for achieving more short-term business/life goals – say over a 6-12 month period.

I’m guessing I will be fine without a therapist for now; that I need to hang on to my mentors; and that perhaps in a few months’ time I should consider getting a coach for a while. Watch this space…