Déjà vu… All Over Again?

At a recent mastermind group of small business owners that I facilitate (www.capitalfamilybusiness.com), I had a guest who posed a question to the other owners. It went something like this (hold onto your seats!): “I’m wondering if I should hire a sales person for my company?” That certainly seemed to be an innocent enough and relevant question until he said “None” to the question posed back to him: “How many sales people do you have now?” Imagine that this 3rd generation successor to a 10-person business-to-business service company (industry not mentioned for confidentiality) didn’t even regard himself as a ‘sales representative’ for his company. He said he didn’t regard himself as a
‘natural’ sales person, didn’t care for the role and that they had no other staff people in this role but ‘made it through 3 generations strictly on word-of-mouth referrals and customer retention. That sure is impressive to hear and perhaps the answer he wanted to hear was “No, you don’t need to hire a sales person.” Then again, maybe he was hoping we’d say “Sure, go hire one.” Then perhaps he could go tell his parents that he was right and that 15 other business owners agreed with him (assuming that he was using the group to give him moral support for such a position).

However, what ensued as I watched in dismay was a non-stop ‘mindset’ of denial. No matter what good advice was offered, he had a pat answer already formulated for each seemingly valid idea or question. He sounded like he had heard these same ideas once before and had thought about them (for at least 30 seconds each!) and concocted what would appear to be a valid excuse to DO NOTHING about ANYTHING he asked us about. Sadly this is often the case with some small business owners and they don’t see the pattern of their thinking/mindset.

This mindset of ‘don’t make me do anything that will take initiative, risk, change, work effort or impose ACCOUNTABILITY on me’ reminded me why I was motivated write my new book, Set Yourself Free – How to Have A Thriving Small Business… And Enjoy It. Prior to writing the book I had struggled with trying to define exactly what it was that I have done for 45 years to help small business owners. No, it wasn’t about the operational, marketing and financial issues that full-service consultants do. Rather, the defining element of what I did was ‘changing mindsets’ of owners and managers so they could get out of their own way!

If the young man in the above example could only have recognized his resistance to change and avoiding work and its impact on his business (having lost market share), perhaps he might have been more open to what was presented to him by some savvy business owners.

So why was did I title this particular blog ‘Déjà vu all over again?’ Because I learned afterwards that this owner did the same ‘dance’ with another similar group of owners not long before this meeting. Perhaps he was ‘shopping’ for a different answer than he was getting from each group because the most obvious answer to all of us at the meeting was: “Huh! Are you serious? Of course you need a sales person.” I wish I could tell you that he was just ‘getting several opinions’. If you were there, you would conclude (as the other attendees did) that he was just being thick-headed.

Just remember, it’s all about ‘mindset’. Learn more about that in my new book: Set Yourself Free – How to Have A Thriving Small Business… And Enjoy It.

P.S. Few acquisitions ever get done in less than 6 – 12 months from start of search…sometimes as long as 2 years!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Feel free to call me at 518.369.7101 or email me at: stan@fambizdoc.com

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