• Check out The Aspire Success Story

    Learn how clients have succeeded with Aspire (right click and 'save as').


    Success Stories 


  • Sign Up for a Free email Series!

    Leading Your Business To Success!

    A free (but valuable) resource - you'll learn essential strategies to grow your business...the right way!

    sign up here!




  • RSS Feed

  • Sign Up for Email Updates for Blog

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Recent Posts

  • Google+

  • Archives

    View All Archives

  • Aspire » Coaching

    26 Aug
    Picture by Shawn Kinkade via Flickr

    Picture by Shawn Kinkade via Flickr

    As business coaches, our job is to help business owners develop bigger, better businesses. If you’re actively trying to build your company, then you should be looking for an advisor / coach / mentor to help you.

    What can a coach help you do?

    OK, business owners are you ready for some full disclosure?  Measuring the initial value of a business coach or advisor is not always easy to quantify.  When we work with clients the impact and results of our work usually are not as obvious as the instant gratification of a new machine or any tangible object.   That said, to summarize our role is really pretty simple; we help businesses figure out where they are (clarity), where they want to be (focus), and then help them get there in the most efficient way (momentum).   And, ultimately see that the business is financially sound and profitable, again developing a bigger, better business. Over time there’s usually a way to measure the financial gain – and the goal is to make that a very positive investment, but it’s still not always a direct correlation.

    What we do, what that process looks like varies with every business and every owner depending on what the biggest obstacles are and where the biggest opportunities appear to be.   We provide a tool box filled with the most effective proven ways to help businesses be profitable and we do our best to help you implement them.   We have real life experience that only comes from owning and running a business ourselves.  All important attributes and traits that we bring to the table – but it doesn’t even cover what might be the most important thing we do.

    Could there be more to it than this?   

    ac·count·abil·i·ty noun \ə-ˌkau̇n-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\

    One of the most significant components we provide a business may be accountability.  It is a scary word for a lot of business owners.  Not having to be accountable to someone else is often the reason many of them started their business in the first place.   But not being accountable to anyone can leave even the most well intentioned person misguided.  And although it is definitely a noun, it can be very intangible for those needing to embrace it.

    “The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.” – Steve Maraboli

    This past week over a period of less than a few hours, three different clients called to simply share something they had done that reaffirmed the power of the accountability component. In each of the three cases, the business owner had a different task or procedure that in the past they were either unable to complete or were able to self-excuse away why they were allowing it to happen (or not happen). The type of stuff they knew they should be doing, but just hadn’t been able to do in the past.

    But this time it was different.  Together, we had created a plan and prioritized what was important.  We had clearly identified what was acceptable and what was not acceptable.   And most importantly we had created an accountability component between the business owner and their trusted advisor.   Additionally, once one understands their function as the business owner, it may not be so much about letting their coach down as they don’t want to let their business down!

    Selfishly on our end, these types of calls are some of the most rewarding.  But more importantly we know because of our client’s action they are becoming better business owners, stronger leaders, and they are moving their business in the direction they ultimately want it to go.

    How about you? On a scale of 1 -10; if you were completely honest with yourself, what number would you rate yourself in the accountability category?  What could the positive outcomes be if it was even 1 number higher?   Why would those outcomes be important to you?

    Be accountable. It’s a huge key to success.

    As always we value your comments in the space below.

    Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach

    22 Feb

    I got into a conversation this morning with a friend of mine about online multiplayer games – he’s a big fan of Halo 3, we both liked Call of Duty 4, but he had never played Team Fortress 2!  (currently the best 1st person multiplayer game out there in my opinion).

    So that got me to thinking what Team Fortress 2 could teach us about running a small business.  If you’re not familiar with the game, here’s a quick overview from the publisher’s website:

    Unlike other “class-based” games that offer a variety of combat classes only, Team Fortress 2 packs a wild variety of classes which provide a broad range of tactical abilities and personalities, and lend themselves to a variety of player skills.

    Play as the flame-throwing Pyro, the room clearing Heavy, or the Spy, a master of disguises. Other classes include: Scout, Sniper, Medic, Engineer, Demoman, or Soldier.

    Basically you play several variations of Capture the Flag types of games online with friends and strangers potentially anywhere in the world.

    Here are a few key lessons that I came up with:

    Read More…

    28 Jan

    The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation (KTEC) has been been around for about 20 years and unfortunately there are a lot of people that haven’t heard about it.  From their website here’s a brief description of what KTEC is:

    The Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation is a state-owned corporation established to promote advanced technology economic development in Kansas. We strive to meet the technical needs of Kansas companies by providing access to individuals with expertise and state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. We even provide or help secure financing for research and development.

    This is a really progressive program that most states don’t have, and it’s right here in our backyard!

    One of the newer things that KTEC is doing has been the addition in the last 2 years of the KTEC Pipeline initiative – http://www.ktecpipeline.com/ .  The idea is to select up to 10 ‘innovators’ every year, specifically in the technology or bioscience fields and hook them up with resources (including a $35,000 grant), special training from top of the line entrepreneurial experts and access and introductions to partnerships and capital markets.

    Getting selected for the Pipeline is extremely challenging and a very big deal.  This year there were over 400 applications and over 60 in-depth interviews to select the 9 winners.


    The reason I’m familiar with all of this is because I’m thrilled to report that one of my clients was accepted into the Pipeline program last week.  (Not because of anything I did, but because he’s a brilliant guy with some really revolutionary ideas…!).

    Dan Melton is the President of NonProfit Technologies, which is a “a socially conscious for-profit think-tank that develops web-driven products and solutions to improve the effectiveness, cost-savings or impact of public-sector organizations.”

    Essentially what Dan and his team are doing is creating cutting edge Web 2.0 applications that are targeted towards the public sector.  Historically the public sector lags the for profit world when it comes to technology but there is a huge need and viable marketplace for the right ideas.

    Luckily Dan is full of great ideas that are not only great business opportunities, but will also drive dramatic benefits to the public sector – a true win-win situation.

    Congratulations to Dan and the team at NonProfit Technologies!

    Stop by his site and check out some of the cool stuff he’s got going on.  NPT

    Shawn Kinkade   www.aspirekc.com

    13 Jan

    Probably because it’s the new year, but I’ve been seeing a lot of sites and articles focused on the idea that the best way to change is develop new habits.

    Once you get to the point that you no longer consciously think about something it becomes ingrained into your life.  And if you consciously choose the most effective habits, one at a time, you will become an unconscious effective machine…so to speak.  ;-)

    Read More…

    18 Aug

    I had the opportunity to slow down for a couple of hours yesterday and have a couple of cold beverages with a friend of mine and a friend of his. 

    As a side note, I would highly recommend this.  It’s probably not something you should do daily or perhaps even weekly, but if you haven’t done this for a while, it will do you a world of good to break your routine, get out of the office and just relax, even if it’s just an hour or two. 

    It had clearly been too long since I’ve done it and it was good! 

    Anyway, during the course of discussion we started to talk about my new business and the obvious question came up pretty quickly:

    “What does a business coach actually do?”

    It’s a great question and there’s not a stock answer out there that applies to all coaches.  In other words, most coaches do very different things.

    So I can’t answer the question for all coaches, and I can’t even answer for all of those coaches that call themselves ‘Business Coaches’.  However I can give you a better idea of what I do…

    I work with groups of business owners by facilitating and coaching in a Peer Advisory ‘Mastermind’ type of group called BANG! (Brainstorming, Accountability and Networking Group).  (see here for details).

    I also conduct educational workshops that focus on small groups and a lot of interactive discussion to really learn great new strategies and ideas about all aspects of business.  (see here for details).

    Finally, my primary ‘product’ is 1 on 1 coaching with small business owners.

    With thanks to Adam and Jack from Maximum Value Partners (http://www.askthebizcoaches.com/about/) I’ve been using a modified version of their model to explain what I do.  (This is a 1 page graphic that I pulled together for a recent chamber meeting).

    Most small businesses started with a great idea for a product or a service, and the owner realizes…”hey I should start my own business!”  However at that point they suddenly have to start worrying about Sales and Marketing and all of the other ‘Stuff’ that it takes to successfully run a business.

    For the first year or two, it probably doesn’t matter too much what they do (assuming it’s a good product or service).  They’re in the honeymoon period and extraordinary measures can cover up any mistakes they may make along the way.  However they will get to a point – whether it’s because they have to hire their first employee that’s not a friend or family member, or because they’ve hit some sort of wall that things stop working so well.

    At that point they have a few choices:  A lot of the time, they will fall back into their comfort zone and spend most of their time on their Product or Service, it’s what they like to do and what they’re good at.  They’ll either blindly delegate the other work, or just let it go and hope it works out.  Unfortunately that will not give them a successful business. 

    Without all 3 legs of the stool, it won’t stand for long.

    Another choice is to try to do it all themselves, work 60, 70, 80 hours a week and spread themselves thin across all aspects of the business.  Look over everyone’s shoulder and put their personal stamp on every single decision.  This may work for a while, but inevitably they’re going to burn out or drop one of the many balls in the air and bad things will happen. 

    Ideally what they do at this point is to start working on their business rather than in it

    Building or improving systems in all aspects of their business, with an eventual goal that they personally are no longer needed for the business to continue to survive and even thrive without them.

    It may be the ideal solution, but it’s not easy – in fact it can be really difficult, which is why people may need help…help from a trusted business advisor that will work with them on all aspects of their business:

    • brainstorm with them on new ideas,
    • act as an impartial sounding board,
    • help to hold them accountable,
    • keep them focused on what they want and
    • give them access to tools and strategies that successful business owners and coaches all over the country are using every day.
    • help them reach clarity about what they want and how to get there.
      I primarily work with the business owner on the nuts and bolts of their business.  Depending on what’s holding them back, we’ll focus on things like their marketing plan, the system they have in place for hiring, or possibly we’ll look at their overhead and cost structure and together evaluate what changes might need to be made.
      A lot of the structure and the way I work with clients has been leveraged from the Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA)  
      This is a fantastic group of very experienced coaches from all over that I meet with every week (coaches need coaches too…!) and I leverage them for advice and support.
      So in a nutshell, that’s what I do.
      As my friend pointed out after we had this discussion, “So you don’t just quote Successories at them and think good thoughts?” 
      That’s not what I do.
      I’d love to hear what other people think about Business Coaching – what have you seen or heard?
      So what does your business advisor do with you?  Can you think of any reasons why it might be really helpful to have somebody to talk to or work with – share your examples here.

    /begin shameless plug/  Now that you know what I do, if you even remotely think I could help you or someone you know, give me a call and we can talk about it  (perhaps over a cold beverage if that’s your preference!).  /end shameless plug/

    Have a great day!

    Shawn Kinkade  – www.aspirekc.com