CASE STUDY > building confidence
...it’s difficult to say a start-up is definitively one thing or another, except for highlighting that the ability to change and be different is the essence of a start-up. The energy, excitement and sense of possibility runs throughout start-ups, as well as a feeling that anything could happen.
Max was ready to give up his full-time role as a secondary school teacher, and put his efforts into his new start-up. He'd been ready for a while, but economic conditions were proving difficult to judge and he wasn't sure he'd make it financially.
Starting a Business
The post-pandemic world affected Max's confidence, and he didn't feel sure if his idea would be a success. He felt he couldn't define sucess, so he couldn't measure it, and he couldn't plan for it. He also zigzagged between classic black and white thinking that creates false 'good and bad' choices, trying to decide between being "creative or business-minded" or "making money or enjoying my work". So he became stuck in inertia, feeling more and more demotivated as time went by.
Business plans, like life, are works in progress
Max took the initiative to get some coaching to organise and get focused. Not just write the plans up, but to do them, and keep to them. To have some support in being accountable and outlining the steps to realise his ambitions. Getting started was the first step. He realised his other work was in the way, and there was always something more important, more urgent or just easier than "attacking his business plan". The language he used was illuminating here, as the "dreaded business plan" had become a monster.
Coaching for accountability - navigate your path forward
Max knew he wanted to build his venture into a sustainable business and work more creatively, in a hands-on role that made a difference to people's lives.
He worked through his plans and addressed barriers and obstacles step by step with an accountablity framework set up through Accountability Partner coaching. Small plans to reduce them each day, each week, each month. His skills as a teacher meant he was particularly good at explaining complex ideas and energising people about a project. He started to draw a network together to collaborate on his business idea, with a shared energy behind it to get the plans actually completed and moving forward.
Having regular accountability check-ins and progress reports gave him the boost to start his new business as a food box supplier, offering roles and courses in the 'Art & Science of Food-Growing' to keep it sustainable and financially afloat. MOT check-ins every month keep him on track and an Accountability Framework which he can refer to throughout the lifecycle of his new start-up.
Why lack of confidence could be holding you back
Everyone is different, but these are some standard obstacles that accountability coaching addresses:
Do you want to do something more meaningful but can't make it work financially
Have you been waiting for the right time to launch, but that point keeps moving
You're just not sure that people will pay for your expertise or product
You have loads of ideas but can't get them organised for a plan
Are you secretly afraid of failure and want to get it right straight away
Do you think that you're "really creative but hopeless at business"
Do you think "but I'm not really qualified or skilled in this"
Is networking something that you hope to avoid
Do you worry that you're too old, too young, too dyslexic, too shy
Have you done several 'how to' courses and are still looking for the right one
Are you feeling overwhelmed and can't focus
Are you letting your other responsibilities get in the way
I was torn between dread and excitement at carving out a new path,
but I'm feeling confident about making the right decisions and
how I've got here - it really helped in understanding how black and the white thinking was an excuse, and I needed to just get started "
Interesting reads & watches:
Article on the strengths of famous dyslexic entrepreneurs
Try this at home:
If you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, try the Double-Diamond approach (originally created by the Design Council), adapted for business entrepreneurs.
This outlines the 4 stages that you should go through to make your start-up business work, where you naturally have divergent thinking where you generate and create as many ideas as possible, countered by convergent thinking where you focus and distill into specific problems and solutions.
Recognising these as different types of thinking helps to reduce any anxiety about needing to focus as you accept that the 'discover' and 'develop' stages are necessarily full of many ideas and it's ok to let research, thinking and imagination go off on many different tangents.
The 'define' and 'deliver' stages will provide the space for focus and direction, once all your ideas have been fully explored and investigated.
This is just one of models, tools and approaches that can be used in the coaching sessions. Some are from neuro linguistic programming, cognitive behavioural techniques, career coach framework or positive psychology. All are evidence-based and tailored to fit each client.