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One aspect of business coaching that most small business owners enjoy is the collaboration between themselves and an objective bystander that results in “new and/or different results.” (Without that desired outcome, what is the point in investing resources in coaching?)

Even so, one of the most deadly phrases whispered from the lips of the business owner desperately desiring a course correction is, “Yeah, but…”

We’ve all heard – and used – this well-worn phrase to express our desire to remain the same.

Wait! What?!! Didn’t we just finish saying we desired a different outcome?

Yet, when offered potential opportunities for better or different results to show up in business, it’s shut down with two simple words.

“Yeah, but…”

Six alphabetical letters that stand between us and the success we desire.

“Yeah, but…”

What’s It All About: Yeah But…

As a commonly used phrase, “yeah, but…” has woven its way into our nomenclature. It signals volition and stops collaboration, innovation, creativity, and possibility dead in its tracks.

What is being communicated through the use of this commonplace idiom is – this is the way it’s always been done.

This is the way I’ve always done it so therefore I’m going to continue to do it this way even though it’s not producing the results I want.

Success Begins At “Yes And…”

The next time you’re presented an idea – a potential key to the success you desire – before you let “yeah, but…” slip from your lips, consider the breadth of possibilities that could be achieved by applying a different approach.

Consider “yes, and…” as in “yes, that’s a novel idea and (fill in the blank).” It signals the onset of a favorable outcome.

Repeat after me. Say, “yes, and…”

Growing a small business in today’s highly competitive, fast-paced business environment is no small task. It takes courage, tenacity, commitment, and disciple. Although your business is small, the value it holds for you is not!

A survey conducted by Staples a few years back discovered that more than 80 percent of the 300 small business owners they surveyed said that they don’t keep track of their business goals. Yikes! At least they had goals.

How many other small business owners don’t even set goals? Although I couldn’t find any stats, my guess is more than anyone would care to admit.

I’m going to venture a guess as to the primary reason small business owners don’t set or keep track of their goals—they’ve yet to identify anything significant that makes a goal worth fighting for.

Beyond the Paycheck

There was a time when my business goals gave me direction, focus, and a sense of purpose—a reason to get up in the pre-dawn hours and work long past the setting sun. My business goals were a primary contributor of value—personally and professionally.

With time, however, business goals weren’t enough. The improvement they made to the value of the business was no longer palpable. (Read more: Confessions From a Strategic Business Coach on Hidden Goals).

Bam! That’s when it hit me! The day that business goals lose their luster is the day that the value of the business begins to dwindle. Business goals, minus personal goals and objectives, are ineffective.

Don’t we all have personal goals we want to achieve? Sometimes, they become part of the “nice to have” or “wish I had” list. Most entrepreneurs refer to these as the “goals and achievements one invests in—once business goals are achieved.” That’s laughable, isn’t it. There’s always another business goal lurking around the corner.

Yet, isn’t business the tool by which to accomplish that which you want, need, and desire?

Give Personal Planning the Green light

What business owner isn’t familiar with the importance of planning—especially for the business. Add a personal plan and your business becomes invaluable!

Consider this simple exercise to turn your “wish I had” list into an actionable plan that gives your business new meaning, purpose, and inspiration.

  • What “nice to have” or “wish I had” desires lurk in the wrinkles of your brain? What personal goals and objectives are near and dear to your heart? Are you looking to build retirement? Have more time to spend with, and enjoy, your family? Is less stress and more energy important to you? How about the ability to send your kids to private schools? Hike the Camino de Santiago? Buy your first home? Purchase a second home? Recognize the things that mean the most to you—”if only.”
  • Turn the “nice to haves” into concrete goals, complete with plans and budget. (Hey, just like in business!)
  • Configure your business goals to make room for your personal goals.

Got it? Good! Now you know the business goals to set—and track—to make your business more valuable—for you!

Go ahead…make a wish!

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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