Getting Out of a Business Slump

Why Business Owners’ Skills Aren’t Like Baseball Players’ Skills

A friend of mine called to ask if I’d like to go to a baseball game, and I told him that I couldn’t go.  Our Destination BootCamp is next week, and there’s a lot of work preparing for 30 business owners to arrive here for that two and one-half day workshop.

But what I didn’t share with him was if the BootCamp wasn’t next week, I still wouldn’t have gone.  You see, I’ve really never liked baseball, and that’s mostly because I stunk at playing it.  I tried to play it, but I was horrible, so that bad experience transfered into my dislike of watching it.

Playing baseball was always frustrating for me because I couldn’t hit the ball, and I couldn’t really catch it.  I was slow running the bases.  For some reason, my baseball cap just always seemed to look dorky on me and cool on the other kids.  Since none of my older brothers played baseball, I knew none of the rules, and it wasn’t too long after my parents quit signing me up for Little League teams that I decided that I didn’t like baseball that much anyway.

But I was thinking last night while drinking a Sawtooth about how not having the skills to perform a sport is different from how most business owners think about their skills to create a successful business.  For example, I readily admit I can’t hit or throw a baseball well.  But when I explain to an owner that they need help with their advertising, they’ll say things like: “Advertising in a newspaper doesn’t work.”  They don’t say: “You’re right. I am not good at creating newspaper ads and call-to-actions that get results.  I need someone to help me with this.”  Instead, they blame the newspaper.  It’s not their involvement in the ad creation; it’s that ink on newsprint that causes their customers to stay away.

That’s like me saying: “This bat doesn’t move fast enough and this glove doesn’t close over the ball!”

The most successful business owners don’t blame the ball and bat.  They readily admit that they lack business skill sets, and they find resources who can help them do what they can’t.  They delegate.  They network with people smarter than they are.  They ask for help when they’re stumped.

But out there in left field, you’ll often find the most unsuccessful owners thinking they’re doing everything they could, and thinking that they’re doing it well.  Something else or someone else is to blame for their sales decline and their customers not coming in.  And every now and then you’ll hear them yell:  “When is someone going to give me a new glove and a faster bat?”

How to Write Your Way Out of a Business Slump

One of the best parts of my job is when I get to interview an author or a business expert about their area of expertise.  I am always on the lookout for books, speakers, authors, and experts who have skills that complement my Destination Business process.

If I hear someone speak, or if I read someone’s book and their area of expertise can help business owners, I ask permission to interview them and record our conversation.  Some of those interviews end up in our Destination University Student Center.

For over five years, one author who I’ve wanted to interview has been Henriette Anne Klauser.  You might not know of Henriette, but she is the author of multiple books, including Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, Put Your Heart on Paper, and (my favorite)Write It Down, Make It HappenKnowing What You Want and Getting It.

I especially appreciate Henriette’s books because when I was stuck in a career that felt like a dead end, her books helped me through a process of writing down my goals, visualizing what kind of job I really wanted to create, and soon afterwards, her advice was the catalyst for me to leave Hallmark Cards and start my own consulting firm.

Think about this:  Without Henriette’s books to help focus my discontent and spur me into action, I might still be a disgruntled employee (like some of my friends still are), complaining about how I’m being treated unfairly and feeling unhappy each day I go to work.

Without the advice from her books, I doubt seriously if I’d be speaking and consulting with business owners today, which means there would be no Schallert Group corporation, no Destination BootCamp, and no Destination University training program.  It also means I wouldn’t have spoken in over 500 communities and to hundreds of associations, and all those tens of thousands of business owners wouldn’t have been there either, learning about becoming a Destination.  Take that one step further, and there’d be a lot of business owners who never would have gone back to their businesses and changed them, which means a whole lot of communities wouldn’t have been changed either as these business owners reinvented and transformed their businesses into Destinations.

If I sound a little excited, I am. Next week, I’m interviewing Henriette Klauser for the first time, and soon her words and advice will be shared with my clients.

In the meantime, while you wait for me to complete the interview, you can still obtain her books at your local bookstore and start learning on your own how writing can help you clarify your goals, imagine a bigger picture than your current business model, and help you find solutions to some of your biggest problems.

Her book Write It Down, Make It Happen is pictured here.  Get her books now and start using them to help you focus on achieving some higher goals for your business.

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