My cat was 4 months old when I began training him to use the toilet (yes it’s all being documented on video!). He was young and open-minded (for a cat), very smart and eager to please me. He’s not a fuddy-dud, but is flexible, adaptable and trainable (coachable)…and is, therefore, handling the changes with ease. I’m proud of him and expect he’ll do well in business as an adult. 🙂

How good are you at learning and adapting to new things? Are you open to embracing the leading edge of marketing your business? Are you coachable? Are you? Or do you think you understand everything about your business and how it should be managed and promoted? How open are you to hearing feedback about yourself and/or your business? In this age of transparency, can you not only get on board with full disclosure but open your mind and muster your courage enough to “get” the feedback you receive?

My observation is that business owners can often have a narrow view of their company and themselves. They can be defensive about their management and marketing approaches and have difficulty hearing new ideas.

Are you over-protective of your business stance? Do you feel personally offended when your business approach is questioned? Is it ever questioned? If not, why not? Who are you “not asking” for feedback? Your colleagues? Your employees? Perhaps you feel that your “door is always open.” But is it really? Or more specifically – is your mind as open as your office door? Do you solicit feedback from insiders and outsiders? If not you are probably missing out on the biggest (and least costly) business building tool – honest feedback.

As a recovering “know-it-all,” I know how easy it is to feel sure of your position and approach to your business. But I now know that there might be an approach or an attitude that is beyond my knowledge at this time – one that could help my business succeed more easily and more quickly…once I get out of its way; once I seek the resources I need to expand my vision.

The question to ask yourself on a regular basis is “What might be an obstacle for my business that I do not see? What attitude of mine might need an adjustment?” Or even better “Who can I trust to tell me the truth about a business-sabotaging behavior that I am unable to recognize?”

Do you have the courage to be that open? that vulnerable? that inquisitive? that courageous? Are you willing to do whatever it takes (in a positive sense) to create success for your company? Even if it means letting your guard down or feeling the discomfort of vulnerability when you admit that you may not have all the answers?

Many small business owners tell themselves that they financially “can’t afford” a consultant or coach to assist them. If this sounds like you, I invite you to ask yourself if the reason you can’t afford the perspective of a skilled outsider is financial or emotional? Is it your pocketbook that can’t handle the reality shake up or is it your ego?

If you really want to be on the cutting edge – do something really radical. Take an in-depth look at the way you are running your business! Dare yourself to seek out honest input and double-dare yourself to listen to it! It doesn’t have to come from a paid consultant. Ask a respected colleague. But do it.

Be like my cat. Be coachable.