Consider this saying: “Where your time and efforts go, so too goes your company.” Although simple, it is a critical success factor for operating a thriving business. This is a particularly relevant guiding principle, especially since we’re pulled in multiple directions. Have you ever sat down in the evening and wondered “where has the day gone?” and whether you actually accomplished anything strategic at all. In addition, most small business owners gravitate towards the activities and duties that fit nicely within their skill sets. This is particularly helpful if you’re a sales champion who loves nothing more than to cold call into the late evening hours each Friday, only to then take off for the weekend to leap small buildings in a single bound and rid the world of all evil.
But what if you’re not a superhero business owner? What if you’re the type who falls victim to non-revenue-generating distractions (like watching that video on Facebook of the toothless grandma dancing – you know who you are) or who procrastinates finishing ‘important’ time-consuming projects that have the potential to push your business forward? If you fit into this category (like most people), then you do have one potential secret superhero skill that can help you avert self-destruction. The weapon? It’s none other than the far too infrequently used accountability partner.
BUT I THOUGHT BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR MEANT I NEVER HAVE TO ANSWER TO SOMEONE ELSE…
I realize the primary reason you started your business was to avoid having to answer to someone else. Entrepreneurial freedom is certainly worth its weight in gold. However, far too many small business leaders live on deserted islands and fail to create an environment with sufficient structure and accountability – even if they’re surrounded by a stellar group of employees.
WHY DOES AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER WORK FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS?
Running a small business inevitably requires being efficient while working in a sea of distractions. When distraction prevails, the path to business success slowly fades, leaving your business faced with the high probability of joining other businesses each year that fail to endure. Who is there to gently (or forcefully) nudge you in the right direction or push you through procrastination? Who can YOU rely on to make a very important, but difficult decision? If you’re a sole proprietor, then the answer is literally “no one.” But if you have a trusted accountability partner, like a business coach or a volunteer board of directors to turn to, then you can avoid the pitfalls that plague most small businesses. Although you will be opening yourself up to assessment and become somewhat vulnerable, you will gain the benefits of being held accountable for achieving goals and deadlines without losing your control.
MAKE SURE YOU DO ACCOUNTABILITY THE ‘RIGHT WAY’
Accountability is not something that you can pretend your way through. So you must:
- Choose someone or a group of people who won’t be afraid to ‘tell you like it is.'
- Be fully honest, holding absolutely nothing back.
- Meet regularly in order to maintain consistency.
- Create fair and just punishment and consequences for failure to meet goals.
For many small business owners, implementing an accountability program positively changes the course of their business AND personal life for the better. So if you want to take your small business to new heights, start working with an accountability partner and watch all of your strategic goals and initiatives become realities.
Jason Dukes is a business success coach and founder and CEO of Captain’s Chair Coaching (http://captains-chair.com). He is also the creator of the audio series "Give Your Gift to the World—Tools to Live Your Better-than-Ideal Life" available on Amazon.com. He is a frequent contributor to American Business Journals Media Group publications as well as Forbes.com. He has also been quoted an expert on career topics in Monster.com, Learnvest.com, NextAvenue.org and The Network Journal among others. As an international speaker public speaker Jason has spoken at many conferences including the AgileIndy Conference and the We Are Bravehearts Men’s Retreat in Bermuda.
Dukes has led teams at NASCAR, served as drag racing manager at Gateway International Raceway, and has consulted for Pirelli World Challenge. He also has served on the Passaic (New Jersey) Zoning Board, served as a public school educator and the Passaic Board of Education. Dukes is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.