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#S2E3: Coaching businesses to define and achieve their goals with James Akin Smith

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New business owners are often faced with the prospect of making key decisions without the support of someone higher in command. This can be an intimidating prospect, especially if you're unsure of your business goals. James Akin Smith is a business management consultant who has built and run 7 different companies over the course of 30 years - if anyone can ask the difficult questions to find the right path for you, it's James.

In an episode akin to a taster session for the assistance James offers to clients, he reveals some of the mentalities that can change how a business operates. We also learn the importance of having goals for your personal life, and how that affects the choices you make within the business.

This episode of The 10th Degree covers:

- Why a business might need guidance

- Two-way trust in a coaching relationship

- Determining business operations by assessing personal goals

- Time-management vs Self-management

- Breaking out of the comfort zone


James Akin-Smith: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesakinsmith/

Website: https://www.jamesakinsmith.co.uk/

Anthony Story: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-story-4032a63/

Key highlights:

"I have a fairly short attention span, the truth be known. If I look back at most of the things I've done, I've done for about five or six years and then I probably got a bit bored and need to do something else." - 6:16

"If I meet a prospective client, and I don't think there's going to be a trust and a good relationship, then I'm very happy to walk away from it and perhaps find somebody else that might be able to help them. I have to trust them. They have to trust me." - 10:20

"The way I describe it to people, a business is a delivery van. Its job in life is to be subservient to you as the business leader or the business owner, and to essentially provide you with the wherewithal to do the things in life you'd really like to do. Very, very few people have ever said to me, if it was my last day on earth, I'd go to the office - they just don't." - 14:15

"I'm trying to help map out that [business] journey to some extent. As I describe it to people, if I asked you to get in your car and drive to Aberdeen but there's no roadmap and there's no Sat-Nav and there's nothing else, you're going to go somewhere, but you probably aren't going to go to Aberdeen." - 19:48

"Relatively few people spend much time learning how to run a business. They might spend time learning how to make widgets, but they don't do the bit about learning how to run their own business. And my acid test for that is to ask people: What was the last business book they read? What was the last podcast they listened to?" - 36:02

"What I say to my clients is there are very, very few magic bullets that are going to transform your business. It's going to be the incremental effect of making a lot of very small changes. If I could walk in and go "just change this one thing and your life will be complete" that will be fabulous, but that's not the case." - 43:09

"It's vital these days, I think you've got to look after your teams, you've got to encourage them, you've got to upskill them. I describe it to my clients as a bit of an escalator. So let's move everybody up one step, and then get somebody in at the bottom and move them up a bit, then you end up with a really bright and good team. It's vital." 46:13

"Succession planning is a big thing for people, it takes longer than you think it's going to take. It's quite a big job. In effect, you've got to work yourself out of the business." - 54:28