Why won’t men stop and ask for directions? And why do people still smoke cigarettes? Why don’t business owners ask for help?
These are some of the most confounding elements of human behaviour! And while they seem to defy logic, they can all be explained by what goes on between the ears. In this article, we identify the Top 5 reasons business owners don’t ask for help…
# 1 – IGNORANCE
“I didn’t know there were people out there that could help me and so it never occurred to me to look for them”.
It’s true – business owners and managers are often so busy working in their business that they lose perspective. Often they forget to really think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. What problem does the business provide a solution to? If you get so caught up in the detail or the day to day tasks, then quite often you can no longer see the big picture.
Losing sight of the big picture is exactly the issue which has so many business owners “reinventing the wheel”. Almost all of the challenges confronting them will be challenges that have been seen (and overcome) before. Thinking about it that way, we should all stop and ask for directions. So that makes IGNORANCE our #1 in our Top 5 reasons that business owners don’t ask for help…
# 2 – PRIDE (EGO)
“I can (or feel that I should be able to) do it myself”.
American golfer John Daly (remember him?) walked off the course partway through the first round of the 2011 Australian Open. After hitting six balls into the water from the 11th tee at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney he stormed off, earning himself a raft of sanctions for his effort. His ego told him that he could carry the water. On that day, he couldn’t. It is a good example of not letting your ego get ahead of your situation.
From a young age, it is drummed into people – “never give in”. Instances of persistence (“they said you’d never make it”) are held up as examples of how we should be. It’s easy to confuse those messages with the notion that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
And it’s this which prevents men from stopping to ask for directions. To hell with that! We will drive around in ever-decreasing circles if we have to!
In business, that’s akin to taking the scenic route – you might well get there but the party might be over by the time you do.
So, PRIDE is our #2 reason that business owners don’t reach out for help!
#3 – CYNICISM
“Nobody out there truly wants to help me, they just want to charge me a fee.”
Yeah, well this one bugs me. A lot. And it’s because sadly, in many instances it’s true. Except for the bit about “nobody”. There are people out there with integrity. You’ve just got to find them. This is where that trait of persistence kicks in.
CYNICISM is our #3 in the Top 5 reasons business owners don’t ask for help….
#4 – DELUSION
“There ain’t nobody out there that could help me – my business is unique and you wouldn’t understand it”.
Well, you know what? That’s partially true. At the level of minutiae anyway. Therein lies a clue. If you are stuck in this mindset, you’re probably down in the weeds. The stuff that really matters is at a strategic level. This requires you to move your perspective. To zoom out and see the view looking down onto your business. Often referred to as the view from 30,000ft!
Josh Kaufman summed it up in his book “The Personal MBA”. He defined business as a repeatable process that….
- Creates and delivers something of value
- That other people want or need
- At a price they’re willing to pay
- In a way that satisfies the customer’s needs and expectations
- So that the business brings in sufficient profit to make it worthwhile for the owners to continue operation.
Sure, there are a lot of moving parts. As soon as we introduce human beings, variability and errors are part of the program. Yet, being able to zoom out – or in the case of the business owner, having a forum to cause/allow you to zoom out, is incredibly valuable.
In our experience, it’s not the unique stuff that you need help with. That is your domain. It’s getting unbiased perspective and insights, “seeing the forest” and reconnecting you with your ‘why’. That is a privilege which comes from being able to sit outside of the day-to-day and see the business for what it is.
It may be a harsh sounding word but DELUSION comes in at #4.
#5 – EMBARRASSMENT
“I don’t want to expose my shortcomings”.
Coming in at #5 is the reason we don’t go to the doctor soon enough – EMBARRASSMENT!
This could have appeared under the heading of PRIDE/EGO couldn’t it? Or could have been switched out for “I don’t want to feel ‘stoopid’”!
It is ‘stoopid’ not to ask for help. Especially when you clearly need help.
Well, I’ll let you off the hook – I have been doing this for more than 20 years (I know, I look so young, right?) – we already know you’re not perfect. No-one is! We’ve seen it all before. Even the most glamorous businesses can always do some things better.
So, you can put up with them or you can deal with them. I say don’t put it off…but it’s your call.
Can a single consultant help you with every single thing? No!
It would be sheer arrogance to suggest that they could. The role of the consultant is not to solve every issue but to help you identify the right issue to solve. They may help you solve some issues, they may help you find someone to solve others. Maybe armed with perspective, you can solve them yourself.
Don’t be afraid and ask for help.
It’s one of the single biggest accelerators you can press. And as we all know, if you want a different result, you’ve got to try something different. The start of a new year is always a chance to reassess your business. If you need help, reach out to BridgePoint Group.
Contact us on 1300 656 141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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