Updated: Nov 17, 2019
Growing, standing strong and working on the speed of growth
It has been 2 years since I left my familiar corporate career and launched my own professional services company.
I’ve finally reached the place where my fear of failing is receding, and I now can confidently share my vision and share Pivotal Coaching’s results with clients. I can proudly say I started a business in a highly competitive industry and am both surviving and thriving! Starting and growing a business has been hard work. The work on your business and in your business is demanding and broad. There are many information sources, processes, relationships and systems to manage. The early days are the most demanding as you learn, experiment and practice the work and build a business.
January 16th marks 2 years in business for Pivotal Coaching. It is wonderful to reflect on where I have come from and build a plan to capture the potential that lies ahead.
Beating the stats
I attended a BDC WE Talk Bootcamp in the summer. The agenda was focused on learning and insights to help women-owned businesses grow. In addition to the workshop structure, there were wonderful conversations with other business owners. The topics, facilitators and conversations got me thinking about the growth potential for businesses and the potential for growing my business. I know from other reading I’ve done that the majority of women-owned businesses don’t reach $1million in revenue. If I’m going to reach a big goal, becoming a $1million dollar business seems like the one big goal for myself and other women-owned businesses to set their sights on.
The great BDC team shared additional data to help me learn more about benchmarks for small business owners like me.
A little more digging on the topic of benchmarks sourced this specific insight for my industry of interest, professional services.
“As of 2015, small- and medium-sized professional services enterprises are doing well in Canada, with nearly 89 percent of them profitable and their average annual revenue tipping the scales at nearly $260,000.” -5 Most Profitable Small Business Opportunities in Canada
The majority of businesses in Canada are considered small business and have between 1- 99 employees (Source: Statistics Canada, Business Register, December 2015). As of December 2015, the Canadian economy totalled 1.17 million employer businesses. Of these, 1.14 million (97.9 percent) were small businesses, 21,415 (1.8 percent) were medium-sized businesses and 2,933 (0.3 percent) were large businesses.
This data tells me there is lots of potential for us to grow our small businesses in revenue and employees. Global growth, exporting, will be an important aspect of a business owner realizing their full potential. For businesses like mine, reaching our full potential will take personality, leadership and execution that is likely to bear risks.
What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?
In my client work I get to develop deep and strong relationships with entrepreneurs and leaders. I get to know them, their personalities and their work very well. The starting point to all my work is a leadership assessment called TAIS. From it, we get to look at a leader’s personality under pressure. We dig into understanding who they are and how they show up in leadership, communications, time management and team interactions. While not a research backed comment, I do see evidence of several key things about their personality: they have lots of energy and they have broad concentration skills to both read people and conceptually interpret what’s happening around them. Their confidence and competitiveness have them step into leadership, be bold and have the discipline to sustain effort and overcome challenges.
My high energy, idea generation and ability to figure things out are at the core of what have helped me through my first two years. I am comfortable with myself and stepping into leadership. I am working in a business that suits my personality. I can leverage my communication style of high support and my passion for helping others. My personality, passion and skills have helped me step into leadership and leading the growth of Pivotal Coaching. While I know I have these strong foundations, the journey is not without its wobbles. It is never comfortable working through those wobbly periods or issues. To cope with these wobbles, I keep my mindset in check, focus on the long term and goals and seek help or advice.
What gets in the way
The challenges for leveraging a business’ full revenue potential I think boils down to a few fundamentals: mindset, time, risk appetite and the right support. These foundations for success are consistent in momentum and in the degree of effectiveness.
As I reflect on my own journey, time has been my most challenging aspect of growth. I haven’t had time to explore and understand all my options. I’ve been on a journey to find the right business coach for some time. I think I’ve finally fixed that missing support piece to my network. The other honest answer is that despite my comfort with risk, the permanent commitment to hire team members scares me. I continue to use a group of trusted sub-contractors. For me the commitment to team members and being an employer is not to be taken lightly. I am working through those decisions and will use professional help to make that new hire.
The help of others
You can’t be successful on your own. We all need help. Help and support come in many forms. Support may be formalized, like a board or by a services agreement, or informal, like mentors, business relationships, friends and family. I think it is so important to be surrounded by cheerleaders, champions AND a few critics. The champions play an essential role as they are the unwavering sponsors of your success. They will tell you what you need to hear and when right, what you want to hear.
My network, family and friends are who absolutely made my first 2 years a success. It began with my early clients who took a leap of trust and respect for me and bought my services. It was milestone moments help by clients like Volta who piloted Pivotal Coaching Programs like Leading Growth. In 2019, I have 4 cohort Programs sold and closed. They range in size from 5 -10 participating leaders. Also supporting my growth have been those who refer me to clients and speak highly of the work I am doing. I’ve got a fabulous coffee community of business friends and mentors who give generously of their time, expertise and support. I just can’t express what it feels like and what it means to have this support as part of my business!
I have a couple champions who are very proactive and check in on me. Their check-ins are amazing to get me to pause and react to their questions. I am intentional about not asking too much of my supporters. I constantly work to ensure that my relationships are give and take. So while I encourage leveraging the help of others, don’t lose sight of the importance of a two-way relationship and of making sure you help your network too.
The future of business
The success of small business is such an important economic driver. Canada and other organizations are highly vested in supporting small business in starting, thriving and growing. We all play a role in creating a healthy, vibrant and financially stable community.
My opportunity, and this will require me embracing more discomfort, is to keep pushing forward to reach and beat the SME benchmarks. I have potential to work on revenue, employees, growth and profitability.
While we are focused on the future, it is so important to pause to reflect on both measures of success and moments of success. For 2019, I will be working on my next phase of results. Get your planning tools out and join me to both reflect on success and plan for the next stage of potential.
Thank you to this Pivotal Coaching community for making year 2 another successful year. I am excited for what we can do together in 2019!
Lisa W. Haydon is the President and Founder of Pivotal Coaching Inc. She left her comfortable corporate career several years ago to follow her passion of helping people realize their potential and companies to realize high performance. Lisa is a growth focused entrepreneur, leadership development consultant and certified executive coach. To her clients, she brings business experience with prestigious corporations and continuous education. Lisa’s work in business operations and B to B sales expertise allowed her to create a differentiated coaching model and client experience. Lisa and Pivotal Coaching are known for 1:1 and cohort Programs in leadership development and sales effectiveness.