When in the life cycle of a business do you invest in a business coach?
When to hire a business coach is a bit like answering the question, “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?”
Do you wait until you are organised and feel like you have time and can afford a good coach? Or do you invest now with the intent of creating momentum for growth in your business? A good business coach will help you secure a strong return on your investment over a 6 – 12 month period.
Reasons why some choose not invest in a business coach
- Self-reliance – I should be able to do this on my own. These are the business owners who choose to struggle on their own as if that is somehow more authentic, better and right. If your business vision is so small that you can achieve it on your own, then perhaps you do not need assistance. If you are in business to serve people and make a great life for your family you will want to make sure you minimise mistakes and maximise your returns. You can save a whole lot of time and energy and frustration and tears if you have someone in your corner to advise and help navigate you through the challenging waters of business growth.
- Limited funds – Is it a wise use of limited funds to pay a business coach? Business owners who are serious about getting results are willing to pay for the best advice. If you cut corners and try to make do, then you are setting a poor foundation for your business growth. I suggest every business should factor the costs of a good coach or a group coaching program into their business plan. You need a wider view to help you gain and maintain perspective. There are so many things you can do with your time when you run a business. Less than 20% of those activities actually help grow your business. We all need help to see the important activities and make good decisions.
7 steps to select the right business coach for you.
- A business coach should have successful business experience, not just be someone who has some coaching training.
- They should be a good fit for you. So, make sure they listen to you and you feel heard. They need to get you and relate well to you.
- They also should ask great questions that make you think. Their role is not to run the business for you, but to help you think about how you best run your business.
- They should be someone you can respect. When they speak it should be helpful, practical and easy to implement.
- They should also cause you a bit of fear – your coach should be regularly challenging you to stretch and grow, to do and learn things you have never done before. They need to be someone to whom you can be accountable.
- They should have a coach/mentor. If they are not willing to invest in their growth how do you know they are developing their skills to remain relevant in today’s fast-changing marketplace.
- The best coaches specialise – maybe in start-ups, or in systems, or team building, or in the growth phase from 5 – 20 staff, etc.
5 Benefits of Investing in a Business Coach:
- Learn from other people’s experience – why repeat the mistakes of others? This saves you large amounts of time and energy
- A second pair of experienced eyes – an expert helping you see what should happen next, how to solve problems, how to deal with difficult people, to avoid a deal that looks and is too good to be true, etc
- Perspective and clarity – when you are working in a business all day every day it is almost impossible to avoid becoming consumed by the details and minutia. There are always hundreds of things you could be doing. It is easy to become consumed with the details of the one thing you start doing, and lose perspective. Doing that one thing perfectly is a great goal but it may not be the best use of your time at this stage in your business. It may be something another person can do. A staff member, or someone you use outside your business. Every business owner I know, including me, has this challenge every day. Discerning the precious from the worthless, the important from that which is just urgent is one of the great benefits of a business coach.
- Business Growth – your business will grow more quickly and with more strength. Business is tough. Business growth is never easy. Interestingly one of the most dangerous times for a business is the growth phase from 4 – 20 staff. As you hire more people turnover will usually increase. However, profitability usually takes a nose dive due to the increased overheads. Navigating the cash flow challenges through this period is critical to short term survival and longer term growth.
- Accountability – A business owner needs someone to hold them accountable. Not like a boss. Accountable to themselves, to their vision and strategic plans. When things get tough it is tempting to cut corners and look for the easier option. Alone, we get weary and tend to take the easier looking route. In partnerships we have disagreements which slow us down. With a business coach you will be able to think clearly and stay true to your longer range well thought through goals.
Overcoming negative experiences and voices
Of course some will say you should never waste your money on a coach. A negative experience with a poor business coach is unfortunate. And now you know what to look out for, and have better questions to ask before you sign up with someone new. Just don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals. The truth is we are all most blind to our own issues. We tend to see with more clarity when we look outside ourselves. In almost any field of endeavour, those who break through to top performance will have had a coach. Individuals and teams. In fact top professionals will have several coaches for each different aspects of their game.
You get the success you invest in. The largest part of that investment is the hard work you put in each and every day…and nights. For those who want to grow quickly and strongly, part of that investment also needs to be in an appropriate level of business coaching.
To learn more about some of the ways I work with business owners please download my free eBook, “How Busy Small Business Owners Can Buy Back a Day Each Week”