As the owner of a small business, you’re probably used to doing most things yourself. Overseeing every aspect of your growing organisation is exhausting, demanding and can be a lonely experience. However, one day you just have to hold up your hands and say: ‘I can’t do all this myself’.
| How do owners get advice?
There are countless courses, qualifications, and online training tools such as automated software solutions for accounting, sales and marketing teams to skill up and learn, and make the daily grind more bearable. But where can owners turn for advice and education?
The best owners are objective and agile; quick-thinking enough to understand that there are smart ways to fix problems, and that obstacles are easier to overcome with a little bit of assistance. They also understand that seeking advice is a positive step in the ownership journey.
| Why many programmes don’t work
Owners have to find new pathways to lead them to success, but they are put off asking for help and seeking advice for several reasons – particularly when it comes to learning programmes.
Setting and structure – Many executive training programmes are formulaic stand-alone affairs, with mostly one-directional learning. Sitting in a lecture hall isn’t very conducive for learning. ‘Even after very basic training sessions, adults typically retain just 10% of what they hear in classroom lectures, versus nearly two-thirds when they learn by doing.’ (McKinsey)
Application – Many executive programmes also fail because the content is too generic or not pitched in a way that encourages you to apply the learnings – it’s only when this happens that the sparks fly! During a programme, you should consistently be pushed to ask “How would this look in the context of me and my business?”
After-care – One month down the line, you’ll be lucky if you can remember two or three key points, and there is no-one keeping you accountable to the change that you said you would make!
| A new way to learn
At The Icehouse, we combine the best in academic teachings and practical learning to offer unique and lasting ownership experiences, based on immediate and relevant advice for your business. What could be better than using your personal business challenges as a template for learning?
Owners are understandably more receptive to learning when the textbook they’re reading from is their business. Applying what you’re learning as you go – implementing these ideas into your world is the best case scenario.
| Owner-specific learning
Furthermore, you need debriefs and refresher programmes to reflect on what worked well, to question old ideas, and to have your assumptions constantly challenged.
Introducing new skills and frameworks to apply to the business can weigh heavily on owners, but reflection, reassessment and rethinking is a critical part of the process in creating habit-forming behaviours, so making difficult decisions comes as second-nature – and make you a better owner.
Advice is out there for owners and leaders, but sometimes it’s difficult to know where to look.
For more business ownership and leadership advice check out more of our blogs.