Is an Accountability Buddy your key to business success?

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Being a Solopreneur can be lonely, you can make all sorts of excuses for stalling and procrastinating. I didn’t have time, family needs came first, I was working on another project. But without strong foundations for your business, regular marketing and keeping on top of your finances your business could crumble.

Who holds you accountable when you work for yourself?

Customers can if the work that needs to be done is directly related to their order. However, if the job that needs to be done doesn’t impact your clients directly who holds you accountable for getting your back end tasks done?

That’s where having an accountability buddy can give your business a step up.

 

How do you choose the right Accountability Buddy?

Firstly you need to get to know yourself. 

  • What are your weaknesses? eg are you a procrastinator,
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your fears?
  • What is your preferred communication style?
  • What is your least favourite communication style?
  • What triggers your resistance?
  • What activities do you indulge in when you procrastinate?
  • What do you want to receive?
  • What do you want to give?

Which of these areas do you need more focus?

  • ecommerce
  • social media
  • visibility
  • systems
  • marketing
  • customer service
  • goal setting 
  • branding
  • consistency
  • blogging
  • presenting
  • networking
  • cashflow
  • pricing
  • breakeven
  • debt collection
  • exisiting products
  • new products
  • job descriptions
  • contracts/legals
  • terms & conditions
  • logistics
  • business planning
  • taxes

Next make a short list of those business people you know and admire who excel at or are a few steps ahead of you in the areas you need more accountability. Would you choose someone with complimentary strengths, or someone who can move you through your resistance and appreciates your strengths. You could choose someone in a field that is aligned to yours and who isn’t in direct competition with your business so you can have open, honest discussions. 

Or you might choose someone who is in a completely different field who can ask you the basic, simple questions which may trigger new insights. Whilst a service based businesses may not completely grasp the intricacies & overheads of a product based business, people in different industries can give you unique insights into what you do. Having to explain why you do what you do can help you reevaluate your procedures.

Ask yourself these 3 questions.

  1. Why you admire them. 
  2. How do you think they can help you?
  3. What can you offer them as an accountability buddy?

Accountability buddies are two way support systems. You need to give as much as you receive. If you don’t have anything to give back to your buddy then you’re really looking for a coach and not a buddy. 

Set your ground rules

For your Accountability Buddy program to be successful you both need to be playing in the same garden. You need to create guidelines around these 8 areas.

  1. How will you connect? 
    • Zoom
    • phone
    • emails
    • in person
    • If there is a cost how will it be paid?
  1. How regularly will you connect?
    • Weekly
    • Fortnightly
    • Monthly
  1. What time and for how long?
    • Morning
    • Office hours
    • Evenings
    • 1 hour
    • 2 hours
  1. What’s the process if one buddy can’t make the meeting, how do you catch up?
    • postpone
    • reschedule
  1. Make it crystal clear which areas of your business are open for discussion?
    • marketing
    • logistics
    • personel
    • financials
    • operations
  1. What areas of your business are strictly out of bounds?
    • marketing
    • logistics
    • personel
    • financials
    • operations
  1. What specific areas do you want to be accountable in?
    • To do lists (working in your business)
    • Goal setting (working on your business)
  1. How will you end your accountability relationship?
    • Sometimes you’ll outgrow your accountability buddy; you need to make it easy to move on.
    • Regularly assess to see if the process is working for you. You can do this monthly, quarterly, every 6 months or every year.

How will your run your accountability session?

Small business owners can be time poor so making the most of your accountability session is essential. Having time in your session to get to know each other builds trust but having a chat fest doesn’t help you move towards your business goals. 

Having a structure or guide can help you achieve more in your accountability sessions.

    1. Clarity debrief of the past week.
    2. What you achieved on your last action plan; celebrate your successes.
    3. Discuss what worked, what didn’t work and why.
    4. Give honest feedback, start and end on a positive, put the challenge in the middle.
    5. Create an action plan for the next session.
    6. What are the consequences of not achieving your tasks? Remember you are doing these sessions for accountability.
    7. Agree on the date, time, place for your next session.

Create a SMART Action Plan

Use your Accountability sessions to create stretch/growth goals. Goals that help you move from where you are to where you want to be. Remember, when you set a goal it needs to be SMART. Create a template where you can list these steps for each of the goals you set with your accountability buddy.

SPECIFIC

  • What is the action?
  • Who is doing it?
  • When is it to be done by?
  • Why are you doing it?

MEASURABLE

  • What will change
  • How will it change
  • When will it change

ACHIEVABLE

  • Do you have the resources or can you get them?
  • Is this goal worthwhile and is it the right time?

RESULTS

  • What is the outcome of achieving this action?

TIMELY

  • When does it need to be done by?
  • When does it need to be started?
  • What can you do today?

Working through this process with your accountability buddy will help you 

  • understand the exact goal you are reaching for
  • understand and become more comfortable with making necessary changes
  • allocate time and energy to your goals 
  • acknowledge any resistance or fears you have in relation to your goal
  • help you develop the mindset needed to achieve your goal

What do you do if accountability doesn’t work?

Accountability buddies aren’t right for everyone. You both need to put in the same amount of effort to make it work. Having clear boundaries, creating guidelines and communicating your expectations may help reduce challenges but they can’t eliminate them if you’re not suited. If it’s not working for you let your buddy know. As with all relationships you can decide if you want to try again or call it quits with that person. If you decide you’d still benefit from having an accountability buddy use the knowledge you’ve gained to help you choose a more suitable partner.

The benefits of being accountable

Having someone to hold you accountable can reduce procrastination, help you achieve your stretch goals or pivot your business. After your sessions become a habit you’ll find yourself looking forward to them and going that extra mile to get the items on your action plan ticked off. Perhaps like me, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve achieved in your business in a short time.

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Your Next Step

Are you ready to dedicate yourself to your business? Do you need help releasing your resistance and giving your mindset a reset. I’ve got an easy way for you to get focused business support. I can help you discover the areas of your business need to be recycled and which parts support and nourishes you. Call the Hub and book a friendly chat about your business.

© 2019 Kimberlie Clare-Campbell

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