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Don?t Quit Before You Get to the City!

We were more than excited. Our women's doubles tennis team had won our division, successfully competed in three rounds of the playoffs and had emerged as finalists in the city competition. We fought hard and the results had paid off, but things didn't always look so promising. Just last season we finished in 3rd place. Three of our members decided to throw in the towel and left to find new teams.

At the beginning of the season, we barely had enough members to complete the roster. We needed 10 ladies to play each week; we had 11. At our first team meeting their were only 4 in attendance. Competitively speaking, we didn't have a lot to offer. We had no coach; we barely had players; and it wasn't readily evident that the ones we had were committed. The scenario looked bleak. Seven weeks later we were on our way to the city. Here's how we pulled things together:

1. We had a committed leader ? When our team was on the verge of falling apart our team leader (captain) could have made one of two decisions: 1. She could have bailed out or 2. She could stay with the team regardless of the challenges. Lucky for us, she chose the latter.

Your staff and employees will follow by example. If you are not committed to the vision of your company, others around you can't be either. Even when things look gleam ---sales are down, prospects are few and it appears that you just won't make it, remember dedication and hard work can see you through. Our captain decided to stick with us and in turn we stuck with her and the team prospered. Regardless of what it looks like, continue to motivate your team by staying confident and realistic.

2. We were able to build on the talents of the team ? Although our team was challenged, we knew we had talent. It was just a matter of cultivation. Individually and collectively we were a talented bunch and by recognizing that we were able to build on those strengths and see the potential.

It will be difficult to build on your teams' talents if you don't know what they are. Likewise, if the team doesn't believe in themselves, you won't get good results. To help you work through this, start out by making a list of individual talents each member of your team brings to the company. Let each individual know what those talents are. Secondly, celebrate small successes. After we got through the first week with three points, we had something to build on. We were able to take that success, make some modifications and grow from there. Do the same for your company.

3. We found a good coach ? One thing our team was lacking was a coach. We came into the season without one because the one we had previously failed to motivate and connect with the team. There are teams that choose to play without coaches. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. Our team realized that we needed a coach, but three weeks into the season, we didn't have one and we didn't have a lot of prospects. Ultimately we found a coach. Not just any coach ------ a great coach! You'd be amazed at what a coach can do for a team. We learned new techniques and new strategies which effectively took our team to the City Finals. Not only did he provide us with new strategies, but he turned out to be a great resource and connected us with two new players. We found a coach that brought expertise, resources, and players, but also one that made a connection with our team, which overall boosted morale.

In a competitive environment getting to the top is not easily done alone. You may have to pull in someone to help. If you're not seeing the results you want, find a good business coach that can help you and your team see your vision and reach your goals.

Sometimes business owners throw in the towel too soon and miss out on the rewards that are awaiting around the corner. Entrepreneurs have a lot to contend with and a struggling business is an easy distraction. If this is the scenario that you're facing, I know how stressful that can be. Sometimes a company or team is so far gone that the only answer is to part ways and take your loses. However, before you call it quits, make sure you're not a season away from going to the city.

Sheronde is a business consultant and trainer specializing in small business marketing and development. She is the author of Sipping Tea and Doing Business: A Holistic Journey to Business Success. For more great tips for business and marketing, you can contact Sheronde at 770-210-0726 or visit online at http://www.sippingteaonline.com

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