Understanding the energy of a business is key to making strategic choices when it comes to its future.

The first thing I notice when we go into a business is how it feels. And when we’re doing a piece of consulting or coaching work, this is where we like to start: with the energy of the business. It’s one of the most important aspects to assess and understand. Of course, the profit  revenue and commercial growth are relevant and vital, the key however is understanding the impact that energy has on those aspects of the business.

If the energy isn’t right in a business, – and must address it.  Equally if its good you can leverage it.  We go in and encourage businesses to look at the ‘’feeling’ in the business  – teams, individuals AND the business as a whole – acknowledge it and ensure you address it as part of your overall commercial and cultural strategy. How the business and the individuals in the business feel day to day is where the really interesting story starts.

When the energy is high

In a start-up business, the energy is always high both excited and nervous – and the owner and individuals in the business are excited to be at the start of the journey – if as well as some nerves thrown in. Assuming this eventually leads to a period of success, they might start to think about how to grow the business and take it to the next level.

Investing in your business – staff, offices, systems – maybe in a business consultant (!) – will support that growth You know you want to grow, and are riding a wave of positivity, so will be receptive to any and all new ideas. Working with/in a business at this stage of its development to be a very rewarding and enjoyable process.

The period of growth and success that follows this makes it a great business to be part of – lots of celebrator moments, down to the pub on a Friday afternoon. Highly energised, tight-Knit team!

This can even lead to a point at which the business – and the individuals – feel they can do know wrong – leap tall buildings etc. The feeling of ultimate success often leads to investments back into personal lives (house’s, holidays, cars – or indeed with 1 client they invested in an office in the fourth most expensive piece of real estate in Manhattan!

When the energy shifts

And that is when the energy shifts. With success, and higher outgoings come higher expectations – ‘We have to stay as successful – in fact we have to grow faster. Expectations of all are higher, the systems and skills you have in your business are often not ‘fit for purpose’ for that growth. Often staff become overstretched and start to feel underappreciated, the clients are often now less happy, the CEO has started to close their door cos everyone is complaining. The pub on a Friday afternoon becomes a distant memory, people start leaving because the business doesn’t feel as it did in the ‘Good Old Days’

There is a need to invest in the business, but the owner might not know where to go next or how to begin.

When the energy hits rock bottom

There is a point where energy levels sink to disillusionment, and by this point you know the business is in trouble. It is not a nice place to be! Owners might come to us at this point to help sell their business, but this is completely the wrong time to sell.

This is most often the time when we’re called in, because the owner is feeling sick about going to work, and the fact that they’re still responsible for running and growing that business. Our role is to help the business acknowledge the energy, to understand what is causing it, then work out what to do to shift it. Then it’s a case of starting to build the skills back up and reposition the business to help it move forward.

Why the energy matters

The level of energy in a business really is key to the nature of support a business needs. If they’re in a good place where the energy is relaxed and euphoric, they’re open to coaching. They have the energy to have creative discussions, and like coming up with their own conclusions. However, if we’re working with a disillusioned business, they’ll need a lot of hand holding and they need to be told it’s going to be ok. So, typically, we’d do a lot more consulting work upfront because they need ‘fixing’. Then, hopefully, they’ll be reenergised enough to move forward with some coaching work.

A turning point for many businesses is when we tell them that they’re not alone, that every business has been through something similar – and there is a way out. And this shifts the energy in and of itself. It doesn’t magically take away the feeling of disenchantment, because they still have to work out what they want to do, but it is still a powerful moment. It’s the first step on the next leg of their business journey – to a place of hugs pride and success!