Don’t be a slave to your own business
Being a business owner can be overwhelming. You might feel chained to your desk because there’s always something to do. Emails to send. Phone numbers to dial. Decisions to make. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to be a slave to your business.
In a recent interview on the Business RadioX Podcast, I discussed how small businesses can benefit from having a coach to lend them a hand and how business owners can track the performance of their company without getting overwhelmed.
Here’s an extract of the interview. You can listen to the entire episode by clicking here.
Lee Kantor: So what’s your backstory, how did you kind of have this heart for a small business?
Kevin Kru: It’s a pretty varied backstory. It started back in the day in a ministry context, in a church setting where I got a lot of opportunities to spend time doing one-on-one and small group coaching and mentoring students and young adults. I developed a heart for seeing people develop personally and then I went into the marketplace. I started working in technology, learning the ropes and growing, and finding that some of the challenges associated with business are significant. And over the last few years, I’ve really developed more a blending of those two worlds where I get to work with business owners and people on a very one-on-one personal level where they’re very close to their business and they have a lot of skin in the game. Whether it goes well or poorly, it has a significant impact on their personal lives, their family lives, their personal net worth and their own sense of wellbeing. I get to really partner with them, walk alongside them through some of the ups and downs.
Lee Kantor: Now, one of the reasons we do this show is to help coaches learn from each other. Do you mind sharing with our listeners about your last client?
Kevin Kru: I’ll give you the last two, because they were slightly different, last one was more of a consulting engagement website, where I’m not building their website, but I’m helping them define their criteria for shopping for web designer so they go in with their very clear understanding of what they want to accomplish. Because there’s nothing worse than hiring somebody professionally and not being able to articulate what you want the outcome to be or what success looks like. Sometimes people don’t even have, if it’s not their domain or expertize, the language to articulate that like a marketing person would. So, we’re helping with that. She came to me through a referral of a coaching client.
The one prior to that was, I believe, came through social media content that I had been putting out related to Faith Driven Entrepreneurs and Faith Driven Investors and my R4 System®. And this gentleman came to me and we just started coaching together. We are on a second week, and his need is, “I’ve got to up my game. I’m getting pressure from sales”. He’s actually not a business owner. This is a sales leader within an organization that has sales reps reporting to him, and he just needs to improve with time management. And he saw some of the stuff I was putting out with respect to time management and performance, and I think he responded to that.
Lee Kantor: Well, good stuff. Congratulations on all the success, Kevin. The amazing story. Well, it’s an amazing story in the self-discipline that you have and your personal accountability and the way they are able to transfer that knowledge to others, it’s very impressive.
Kevin Kru: It’s a blessing. I mean, I I would do it for free if I could afford it, because it is a calling. And it’s not just a product that you buy. It’s something that people buy. It’s a heart. I have a very close relationship with my clients and their success is deeply meaningful to me. It’s about the relationship and I appreciate your sentiment.
Lee Kantor: And, how did you develop the methodology that you use to help people? Is this something that you’ve cobbled together over the years? Are you following someone else’s principles?
Kevin Kru: I’m not sure that I truly had anything that started purely from scratch. I’ve read a lot of books, I’ve used a lot of different frameworks and have learned a lot from people that have gone on the road before me. I’m a big fan of Don Miller, StoryBrand and Business Made Simple. I’m a big fan of Gino Whitman and the Entrepreneurial Operating System EOS. I’m a big fan of Michael Hyatt and some of his personal productivity tools. And, when I’m face-to-face with my clients or shoulder to shoulder with my clients, what I bring to bear is a lot of the frameworks from some of those sources in a Kevin Kru kind of way. As we digest all this content and we learn to use it ourselves, it takes on our own sort of personality. I bring the Kevin version of all those things to my clients.
Lee Kantor: Is that where that R4 Planning System® comes into play? That’s your kind of gumbo that you created from a variety of ingredients?
Kevin Kru: That’s an interesting way to put it. Our R4 Planning System® is kind of this rhythm of life or rhythm of business. We’re working in the business and we spend a lot of energy in the business, and we can get tired, so we need to step out and to spend some time working on the business. The R4 are 4 Rs that are a part of that: Recharge, Report, Reflect and Refocus. I would say it’s somewhat of an amalgam, a gumbo of what I’ve read and what I’ve been able to adopt elsewhere, made it in a way that works for me and for my clients. And whether that’s on a daily rhythm, a weekly rhythm, a quarterly rhythm, or even an annual rhythm, it looks a little bit different depending on what period of time we’re looking at.
We’ve got the weekend to recharge, spend some time unplugged from work. Just getting some time away from the business and thinking too hard about it. But then Sunday evening, one of the things that I do every Sunday is I have my weekly planning ritual, and I start that after recharging, the reporting. I want to look at the reporting data from last week, and there’s certain key performance indicators and metrics that I look at to give me an objective sense of how that week performed against my goals. And then, I’m reflecting on those things. I have some journaling exercises that I like to go through to ask myself important questions like what’s working, what’s not working. What do I need to do better?
We’re stepping out of the system to evaluate the performance of the system and work on the system itself. And then the fourth component, after recharging, reporting, reflecting is refocus and the refocus is of course, future focus. It’s, I’ve got this week ahead of me, or if I’m doing it this on a daily basis or a quarterly basis or an annual basis, whatever that period ahead is, what is the vision? What are the goals? What are the tactics? What are the most important priorities that I need to find time on my schedule? And that’s really important for long-term vision, where they happen, your environment and things like that. I’m really focused with my clients on when these things are going to happen. So, that end of that planning ritual for me on a Sunday night is telling my hours where to go, telling them what to do for me versus having somebody else prioritize my life.
Lee Kantor: This structure sounds like an accountability partner because if you follow this system you’re holding yourself accountable to some objectives and some priorities, or do they come upon this system and then figure it out themselves? Are you there also as their human accountability partner and human support system to help them make sure that they execute on what they promise themselves that they wanted to do?
Kevin Kru: I think what you’re asking me is, is there a DIY version of this? Yes, there is. Or is there a version of this that has a human level of accountability? And the answer is yes. There’s lots of people out there who can take a system like this, any system, and run with him and have a lot of success. And they themselves have a high degree of personal accountability. Although I think it’s more fun when you do it with people. Or at some loose level, even if it’s not professionally to have people in your court rooting for you, asking about what you said was important for this quarter, or the priority this year. How’s that going? And, that’s great.
Some people, especially if there’s an important initiative, or there’s pressure on them, or they just really have a high level of ambition, understand that just like having a personal trainer to yell at you sometimes, or challenge you or encourage you, or explain the process and unpack that for you. Just like having that personal trainer is helpful and oftentimes just results practically speaking in, in more exertion, having a business coach is the same type of thing.
We can install accountability systems that we ourselves are beholden to. There’s accountability with being a leader. I think of just, walking the talk, but also I need people that have a level of objectivity that can see from a perspective that I can’t see, cause I’m in my own head, I’m in my own business, I lose objectivity and having a regular cadence of somebody in your life to be as committed to your goals and to your success and to your flourishing as you are is a really affirming thing that results in measurable results above and beyond what you might be able to accomplish on your own.
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Also, if you want to get a handle on your work-life rhythm, get access to my R4 Planning Worksheets to get in control of your schedule and workload.