In the latest blog focusing on our Business Coaching Experts, we caught up with Josie Adlam. As well as being an Icehouse coach, Josie is a business strategist and independent director for numerous New Zealand companies.
Josie became an Icehouse coach in 2011, initially providing essential coaching services to high-growth Owner Manager Programme alumni. With a corporate background working on the executive team at Kiwibank, and industry and lifestage experience with tech start-ups, established services industry organisations and high growth international market expansions, Josie provides best-practice strategies in several critical areas.
‘I think I bring an aptitude for selecting the right interventions at the right time to help entrepreneurs. Experience of working with entrepreneurs has shown me that if you attempt to establish too much best-practice at the same time, or if you impose a whole framework, it can sink the ship. For me, it’s more about selecting the right interventions that can help them make changes to succeed faster – depending on where they are in their lifestage,’ says Josie.
| Growth's double-edged sword
Josie’s processes are effective particularly for businesses that have made it through start-up, proven a concept, but then hit a roadblock around how to scale growth at this point.
‘Sometimes, the skills and competencies entrepreneurs had to get that initial success are not necessarily what they need now. Hard work and an ability ‘to get things done’ – a real Kiwi trait – can be a double-edged sword because it isn’t enough to get them past where they’re at right now.’
Naturally, 2020 has so far been a year like no other, and COVID-19 has altered the entrepreneurial mindset. ‘There was definitely an initial terror when the lockdown happened, and there was a lot of reaching out for help, particularly around business continuity and ‘how on earth do I fix this?’ It's been an interesting process because around half of the businesses seeking my advice and asking for help in that period were focusing on the longer-term future, while the other half were asking; ‘just get me back to where I used to be’.
| Step back and reset for success
Josie believes struggling entrepreneurs can succeed by taking a step back and resetting themselves. With that comes a realisation that they need help. ‘You're either trying to inspire them or tying them back to personal goals and asking some simple questions. Why do you have this business? Does it exist in the way you want it to? Are you in it for the lifestyle? Are you in it to sell it someday? Are you really passionate about making a bigger market impact? It's not always the same answer for everybody.’
Memorably, one of Josie’s previous clients was nervous about asking for help. Previously they had concentrated on sales, but the business was imbalanced and not scalable. They overstretched themselves as a consequence, went to deliver, but didn't deliver well enough for the customers and got a bad reputation.
‘They almost felt like they were starting from scratch again – scared to reach out and take on a new growth strategy. But then they had their ‘Eureka moment’ of ‘Okay, we can take the risk, we can see our mistakes, we're going to trust this process, set a new vision and reach our strategic goals’.
‘We pushed them, and now they’re on a totally different path. They've also taken on governance as a way to support themselves going forward, regularly reach for outside help and areas of expertise – whether it be marketing, governance advice, or doing strategy – and they're not afraid anymore, and that's really exciting.’
| Asking for help is ok
So if there’s one piece of advice an owner can benefit from overnight, it’s to get outside help. ‘You don’t have to go to the school of hard-knocks to succeed. You can be successful even if you get help along the way, because now more than ever the windows of opportunity are shorter, and the speed to market and speed of change for your business is more critical,’ says Josie.
‘In the past, outside assistance wasn’t always close in New Zealand. Now though, you don’t have to figure it out for yourself. It’s easy to slip into a way of thinking where success counts more if you do it all yourself, rather than attempting to succeed without help – and that’s the wrong assumption, especially in today’s environment.’
Click on the link for more information about Josie Adlam, her coaching services and areas of expertise.
For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs.