In the last issue I wrote about the entrepreneurial attitude to education and how they think differently to most people. They know that to be successful in any field, you have to be prepared to do what others won’t.

I wrote about my own Four Strategies for personal growth and described how the first two Reading and a Mastermind have helped me achieve my goals.

Let’s discuss the next two strategies.

Strategy 3 – A Coach/Mentor

If you’re a new start up or looking to scale your business, then having a coach/mentor is part of your apprenticeship as a business owner. In business we never stop learning. A coach will help get the best out of you. Ask you questions you don’t know how to ask yourself and help you dig deep for answers.

Sometimes we can’t see the picture when we are in the frame, especially when we’re juggling a million and one things to keep everyone and everything going.

So why a coach? Look at sport, every successful team or individuals have a coach. When you were learning your trade, you were coached. Coaches bring the best out of us and also bring guidance and advice to help us to become the best can be. They’ve already experienced things you haven’t even thought about.

Leverage that experience to help you and your business to avoid pit falls before they happen. If you speak to any successful entrepreneur, I’ll guarantee that they have a coach/mentor, maybe not from the start of their business, as they’d have seen this as a cost, but along that journey they realised that they needed help to scale their business.

There are a lot of self-proclaimed business coaches and my advice would be to do your due diligence on any you resonate with and deem fit to help you. Do they have their own business? Have they grown a business from start-up stage, had experience employing people, have they failed in business?

All pluses in my opinion because they’ve experienced failure, which brings key experience. In the UK we see failure as a bad thing. When someone fails in business, it’s not the end of the world. We need to flip our thinking because from that failure comes invaluable experience. Experience that you certainly cannot buy. With that experience you can share with others and help them avoid doing the same.

Around 4yrs ago, I hit a point in my business where I knew I needed help to scale. I found two business coaches, did my due diligence on both and decided to invest in one of them. From a personal and business point of view it was one of the most important and best decisions I’ve made to date. Having a coach gives me 1-1 coaching with the day to day challenges I face. My coach has a wealth of experience which I leverage to my benefit. Priceless.

Strategy 4 – Modelling successful people

We have many different role models in our life. Sports stars, movie stars, singers to name a few. When we see, hear and listen to these people, we can’t help but feel motivated and inspired. Modelling successful people in business is a great way to get an insight on how things could be done. They don’t even have to be in the same industry as your chosen profession.

I don’t use social media a lot, but every morning when I’ve finished my hour of reading with a fresh cup of coffee, I sit down in my sun room at home, with my phone in one hand, coffee in the other and have a flick through Instagram.

Firstly, I am very selective who I follow on Instagram. It’s not like Facebook where you can find out everyone’s dirty washing. In fact, the only people I follow are the ones that inspire and motivate me. I follow a whole range of different people from successful entrepreneurs to top sports stars and even daily motivational quotes.

Remember, self-development is a process, and not an event

Every morning I fill my sub conscious mind with this energy that helps set me up for the day. Reading a quote or just looking at a photograph, really does help get me motivated. It’s a true saying, we always want that we can’t have.

My philosophy is, if I want it, I get up and chase it until I get it.

When I first started out in business, my role model was my former and last ever boss, David. He was a successful entrepreneur with several different businesses and a portfolio of properties. I had the pleasure of working with him for 7 years. From being an apprentice and through the years I learned my skills on the tools, before stepping up to a supervisory role and then on to management. I pretty much served my time in every department to make it to the top.

Once at the top and working alongside David, he gave me some very good advice. He said, learn what you can from me as quickly as you can. I won’t be around forever and anything I have at my disposal; I’ll happily share with you.

David knew my ambition was to develop my own company, but here we had a win/win for both of us. I delivered some of the biggest projects in the company’s history and made him a few quid along the way, and I was learning how to run a business in my chosen trade. I was fortunate enough to draw 7 years of wisdom and experience from this man before I went my separate way.

Being the man he was, David also helped me when I started up. He let me keep my van, tools, laptop and phone along with an envelope with some money in to help me get started. For this I’ll always be very grateful. I still speak to him today, and on many occasions pick up the phone for some free advice.

Time Management

Some people may read this and think, this all sounds good, but I just don’t have the time. This is where a well-structured and organised day comes into play.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, the difference is how we choose to spend these 24 hours. Delegation is one of the key factors to creating time. One quick win that you can implement very easily and quickly is what we like to call a monkey list. This is a list of daily activities that is currently on your schedule that you’re able to pass on to somebody else to execute.

Don’t be afraid of delegating task to others. This is a win/win situation, once you’ve taken the time to create the list, shown somebody else how to execute it and cleared time in your schedule for some personal growth and development time.

Time is the most important thing we have, and how you spend this time, will show up in the results you are currently seeing in your personal life and business today. Be consciously aware of how you spend your time, make sure it aligns with your goals and vision.

Getting yourself educated requires some form of financial investment from you. This must be viewed as an investment and not as a cost. I personally spend over 20k a year on self-education and personal development. My return on investment shows up in my results.

All my business has seen a minimum of 100% increase in turn over year on year. Our businesses are only as good as the quality of thinking we bring to them. Participating in self-education and personal growth will develop your thinking and improve your results.

A typical start up business in its infancy starts like this.

Let’s say you are a plumber for instance, you served an apprenticeship. You were shown and educated how to install pipe work, boilers etc. You’re the best plumber in the UK who’s working for somebody else.

Then you decide to set up your own business, which is great and well done for preparing to step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown.  However, you have never had a business before, so how do you know how to run the business? The simple answer is, you don’t.

You’ve never been shown this side of your trade. So, you end up becoming a technician within your business. Yes, you’re getting paid more money, but with more money comes more stress and more problems to deal with. Your business only earns money when you’re installing or fixing problems.

You don’t run the business; the business runs you. This isn’t what you signed up for.  You don’t want to be a technician; you want to be the entrepreneur with the company vision, but you don’t have time. There it is again, that short little word that’s so important to us, Time.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, the difference is how we choose to spend these 24 hours

One of my fellow mastermind colleagues has a great analogy of what we must do as business owners, and since hearing, it’ll stay with me forever… Your business is like a ship. The captain needs to be on the bridge to steer the ship and co-ordinate its movements. Now and again the captain may need to go below deck to help shovel some coal to keep the engines fuelled. However, the captain must make it a priority to return to the bridge to take back control of the ship to get to the destination they’re travelling to.

Are you an entrepreneur or are you a technician? The Captain or engineer?

Growing a business is a journey. There’s no such thing as overnight success. It’s up to you to go and chase your dreams. If you wake up in a morning and you don’t have a dream to chase, go back to the drawing board until you find something worth jumping out of bed for.

You need to be able to enjoy your journey. Every day is a stepping stone to where we want to be. This is your vision. Without a vision for your personal life and business life you’re just existing. Write down a plan for both. Articulate it in your mind and get emotionally involved.

Once you have this, you’ll attract all resources you need to achieving success. Share the vision with your employees, get them involved and get them believing in your vision. What does it look like for them, how will they benefit?

Your employees are the backbone of your business. How much time and effort do you invest in them? Grow your employees and you’ll grow your business.

This article is about self-education and personal development. If I don’t touch on the importance of your employees, I’d feel I have done you a great deal of injustice.

You need to develop your employees to have an entrepreneurial mind set – reading books, one to one mentoring from you, training courses just to name a few.

All my staff are each given a book to read every month. They return the book on payday. No book returns no pay. I hold them accountable, so we both know it’ll get done. In exchange, they’ll benefit by reading 12 books a year, and be better placed to grow in our business and earn more money.

This is set out from interview stage. I want to know if they’ll buy in from the start and be committed to person growth. If the owner and staff are continuously learning and educating themselves on a daily basis, your results in life will only be heading in the right direction.

It’s all well and good to read articles like this but we must implement what we are learning. Personal development is a choice. A choice that you, as an individual have to make. Your own self-awareness of what you really want to achieve in life.

What changes must you make in your daily activities to help you achieve your dreams?

Remember, self-development is a process, and not an event. It’s a continuous process of carrying out personal growth activity and implementing what we learn.

We all learn in different ways and at different speeds. Find what works best to enable you to become the best version of yourself.