Have you ever had a tragedy change the trajectory of your life? That is exactly what happened in 2005, when Diane Helbig’s father passed away suddenly. At the time she was married, with two small children and in a career that had lost its challenge and excitement for her. As she and her siblings were packing up their father’s belongings, they began discussing where they were in their lives and what they would prefer to be doing. A great deal of soul searching ensued.
Diane realized that her current job situation didn’t give her as much time with her family as she desired and her father’s death along with the conversation with her siblings, gave her the push to examine her goals and life. A friend recommended that she consider Life Coaching as a profession but as Diane conducted her exploratory journey, it became clear that Business Coaching, Consulting and Advising was a much better fit. With extensive experience in sales, management and leadership and an understanding of small business, Diane realized this new path would allow her the opportunity to walk side-by-side with entrepreneurs as they develop and succeed.
Before she started her own coaching practice, Diane was a sales manager for a large company based in Michigan; ultimately she came to Cleveland as Director of Operations for the area for that company. The 27-years of experience and training she received working in management, leadership and sales with the large corporation, plus a college degree in Social Science, Sociology and Psychology provided the foundation to become the well-respected small business consultant and adviser she is today.
It is a long, hard road to start any business, especially one in the coaching field, but her strong business background, as well as, friends and contacts in Cleveland were a huge help to get her new endeavor off the ground. Diane admits that knowing how to sell was a big bonus that made her start up easier.
Realizing she needed training in how to launch a coaching practice, Diane enrolled in a certification program where she learned the basics. Using new marketing techniques learned in her class work, she sought out public speaking opportunities, began writing, networked and informed her friends and associates of her new career. She is now a sought after speaker in the area.
She also believes it is extremely important to volunteer and be involved with charitable organizations. She started by joining the Council of Smaller Enterprises and accepted a seat on the advisory board. That position allowed her to connect with a cross section of business people from other business sectors, which was a huge advantage when growing a business.
Diane has been recognized for her charitable work. In fact, she was recently named ”Volunteer of the Year” by the Women’s Business Center of ECDI. Her book, “Lemonade Stand Selling: Accelerate Your Small Business Growth,” was named a Best Business Read, and she has also received numerous other honors for her work outside of her regular business.
Diane said of her passion to help small business people,
“Small business owners don’t have lawyers, CPA’s and Harvard MBA’s at their fingertips to guide them. Still they are out there every day courageously fighting to make it happen. They have the right to be successful and access the same expertise that large corporations have at the ready.”
Diane has witnessed small business owners struggle and fail due to issues that could be avoided with proper guidance. That fuels her drive to help small business owners navigate those bumps and be successful. She believes small business owners are many times isolated and simply need an outside voice to help mentor them and provide assistance.
Diane assists small business owners recognize and face their challenges and overcome their obstacles. She monitors their progress and is actively involved in their journey to grow and improve their business. She has found that many times, simply answering questions as a guide or a trusted advisor is what a struggling client really needs. She strives to be the person they can count on to tell them the truth, but also be a mentor and help them achieve their goals.
Diane realizes that every business is different and has varying needs. That’s why she believes it is necessary, in an initial conversation, to explore each client’s needs and learn what concerns, problems and goals they have. Does the business need to increase sales, improve communication with employees or a more complete system of procedures? Do they need more structure or is a consolidation of decision-making at the top restricting the business? She also wants to know in what direction the individual wants the business to go.
These questions and concerns are then addressed after an initial consultation. Once she understands the direction, the problems and the client’s concerns, a path, as well as, a process is implemented to assure positive results to achieve success.
It’s clear that Diane is more than just a coach, but rather is a partner with her clients. Helping them make the difficult decisions that shape their business and keep their business moving forward.
Start-up companies or sole proprietorships seldom feel they have extra money in their budget to invest in outside coaches or consultants. When asked about growing businesses that don’t feel the need to spend the money to invest in outside coaching help, Diane said,
“I think that they need to surround themselves with as many resources as they can. The reality is that many entrepreneurs start a business without a proper budget or operating plan. I think it’s valuable for people to have someone, who can be a trusted resource to help them through the rough spots.”
Her suggestion to new business owners is do the research and find someone you can trust and then find the budget for it. Many coaches have different programs to make their service more affordable. The right business advisor or coach can be as valuable as an attorney or accountant.
Diane’s vision for her business is to be able to provide resources to small business owners in a variety of methods. Her intention is to have a complete library of training materials on sales, leadership and other related business topics available for every business owner.
Diane believes very strongly in connecting with other business owners and networking for mutual assistance. She even created a networking group that provides a real sharing of ideas. Every member has the opportunity to bring a topic or concern to one of the meetings and each member can then weigh in with an idea or solution to the problem at hand. Insight from a group of peers is a powerful thing. There is also a referral sharing portion to the group and its members have contributed fabulous testimonials and success stories. There are currently several groups operating in Cleveland and she is now offering this networking idea to other coaches nationwide to spread the concept and help grow businesses in other cities across the country. Please contact Diane if you are interested in learning more about this.
Diane Helbig found her passion in helping small business owners navigate the difficult waters of 21st century commerce and “Soar to Success.” Her past experience and training makes her the person to call if your business is facing problems or concerns.
For a no-cost consultation contact Diane at her website: seizethisday.co . Be sure to watch her video series, Business Growth Acceleration: Tips for Succeeding at Sales on NE Ohio BizTV Shows®. Also listen to our complete interview with Diane.