It’s time to revisit one of the more challenging propositions we pose to owner managers. What is stopping you from getting the help you, your business, and your team deserve to grow the business further?
Owners and entrepreneurs are a composite of contradictions; confident but full of self-doubt, courageous but sometimes cautious in their approach as they grow, resilient, but afraid to ask for help. Sound familiar?
In our experience, that dichotomy in thinking can extend to investing in business training and development. So many successful owners invest in their teams without hesitation but aren’t so keen to invest in themselves.
We find this during initial discussions with prospective Owner Manager Programme (OMP) participants. Owners know what business training and development can give them, but as stated in What’s holding you back? The Entrepreneur’s handbrake, ‘Hesitancy and objection is normal, commonplace and understandable.’
Some of the objections we hear around diving into OMP include; ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I don’t have the time.’ ‘I can’t afford it’, ‘My business is very specialised, the content won’t be relevant.’ All fair points.
Alex Haden, Managing Director of Preston Rowe Paterson and an OMP alumni confronted many of those objections. “The barriers: the cost, the time – those things were all real. The bank giving a bit of support, and my shareholders – they were really supportive – are the factors that made me jump on… It sometimes feels lonely when you're sitting in the seat – you think no one can really help, but then you build a little community around you who are happy to help out.”
Alex was also concerned that OMP might not be suitable for him, coming from that very specialised sector: “I never expected to see valuation businesses on OMP, but we've all got the same challenges, just in a slightly different way.”
At The Icehouse, we appreciate that the financial investment around OMP can be a concern, which is why we offer a raft of scholarships and cadetships and potential funding opportunities with our wider networks and partners, including BNZ.
“[The cadetship] came about when I signed up to do OMP,” says Rewa Willis, Co-Founder and Director of Sherson Willis, another OMP alumni, and a Te Puni Kōkiri cadetship recipient. “It was something that was offered, and being a small business, the investment in OMP is significant, so that really helped.”
Rewa’s experience also tapped into the emotional of why many owners hold themselves back. “I had a little bit of impostor syndrome; ‘Is my business big enough?’, ‘Am I smart enough?”
And then there’s time. When an hour is seen as precious in the life of a busy entrepreneur, stepping out of the business for blocks of three days (as owners do on OMP) can seem daunting and constricting. What’s more, who is going to take care of the business while you’re on programme?
“I had a little nosy [and] thought, ‘God, how am I going to fit this in?’ says Trina Jones, Co-Founder of Cultivate. “Second year rolled around, I thought, ‘Oh, okay, I really should do it [OMP]. But I also felt quite torn, with the business as well, in terms of, my time needed to be working on the business, in the business.”
Naturally, the owner needs to reconcile the financial and practical concerns with the emotional, and all the objections in the world will come home to roost if you don’t get any value from the ‘big decision’ to dive into OMP. The Icehouse has always championed OMP as a programme for successful business owners, making the ‘is it worth it?’ question a huge one. So, where is the value? Our alumni feedback to us that the value is real, game-changing and tangible.
“For me, it allowed me to look back at myself, and it gave me a very good idea of where we're at. It really reinforced the need to grow, and to keep on going, and since the course, we've really focused on growth. We've doubled our turnover, and had gross profits in the bracket of 50% to 60%,” says Laurence Sherriff, Founder and Managing Director of Align, of his OMP experience.
Many training programmes focus on the here and now, with little or no after-care or follow-up. OMP brings added value long after programme completion, whether that’s in the form of the friendships and connections made during the programme, or The Icehouse’s network effect.
“I know that even to this day, if I have an issue and need to call up Deb [Shepherd] or Liz [Wotherspoon] or Darl [Kolb], they'll take the call and have a good chat with me and help support me through any issue I might be having. That’s priceless and holds a lot of value,” says Clare Davies, Founder and Managing Director of Capstone Hotel Management and another OMP alumni.
Hold back or drive forward. Don’t let ‘what if’ or ‘I wish I’d done it sooner’ be the epilogue to your own business story. We can help.
For information on programmes, workshops and business coaching services from The Icehouse, click here.
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