4 Reasons Your Business Needs a Business Coach
How do you know if you and your business is ready for a Business Coach?
If you are working too many hours, making too little money, dealing with too many issues related to your team and employees, or simply feeling that working in your business is little better than having a job, then you probably need a Business Coach.
In today’s economy, that is the state of most business owners. It’s also why more than 80% of all businesses fail within five years, even when run by smart, bright and highly motivated individuals.
The good news is that a good Business Coach can very effectively shorten the gap between what people think they know about business and business reality.
Because good Business Coaches are generalists, as opposed to business consultants, who tend to be specialists, or who tend to be highly skilled in a particular area or expert in a particular industry.
Not that there is anything wrong with that … but for most small businesses (and that accounts for more than 98% of all businesses), owners are looking for exponential changes in their companies very quickly (typically in terms of six to eight weeks).
While a consultant is used to delivering incremental results (which, for a large corporation can mean millions to the bottom-line), a Business Coach’s results can deliver tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits to a small business owner (which, for a small business and its owner can literally be business – and life – changing).
In addition, as the world of business change becomes more rapid, most business owners have more questions about how to run their companies than they have answers. Business coaching is the perfect solution to this … because answers to issues are arrived at and strategies executed in real-time, with the Business Coach serving to guide the process instead of just writing up a report and leaving it for the owner to implement.
In this way, a Business Coach shares many similarities with a sports coach. Both use strategies and tactics to guide others to victory. In business, this takes the form of a business plan; in sports, a game plan.
A good Business Coach will also see each team member as unique, and will work with the owner to find more effective and efficient ways leverage existing resources to get better results. He or she will also motivate, inspire and challenge a business owner to succeed, becoming an “unreasonable friend” to achieve a goal or outcome.
This idea of accountability is important for small businesses for a number of reasons, and it is one of the reasons business coaching is so successful. For many owners, running a company means “freedom,” and it can be liberating to work as an independent owner.
But true freedom is only attained after the business has become a commercial and profitable enterprise that is able to operate without the owner being physically present in the business.
In large companies, this level of accountability is provided by a board of directors. In a small business, the owner is on his or her own. Not only can a Business Coach provide a “sounding board” for new and current initiatives, he or she can hold the owner to knowing the numbers of the business, creating and delivering on 90-day plans, and testing and measuring marketing efforts – from increased leads to higher profit margins.
So if you are a small-to-medium sized business owner (and by that I mean with revenues up to $50 million), and you are looking at outside help for business, consider coaching as an alternative to consulting. And, consider these four things before you hire a Business Coach:
1) As an owner, are you coachable – or at least willing to be coached? Even though you are the leader of your business, you need to to be willing to be coachable, and need to be willing to change. That means acknowledging you don’t know everything, and be willing to accept the reason your company operates the way is does is because of what you already know and what you’ve already been doing.
Does your prospective Business Coach have the correct tools and systems to grow a business? Generally, you should feel there is a good personality match with your coach. But the coach should also have a systemized tool box of strategies and tactics proven to actually grow a business. He or she should also ask good questions about your company and its issues, because good questions – and the answers to those questions – are at the heart of a valuable coaching relationship.
3) Is your company culture right for coaching? Business coaching works best in an environment that is not overly political – because those types of organizations penalize achievement and success. What type of company do you own? Realize that culture starts at the top, and your willingness to change means getting out of denial about how the company is actually run. That’s important, because if you oversee a highly political company culture and want it changed – it will – probably sooner than you could imagine.
4) Do you want to measure your ROI in terms of money and time? From a business coaching perspective, the two best metrics of ROI are profitability and time spent actually working in your business. Why? No business can exist without profit. And once time has past, you will never get it back. Getting leverage on both can have lasting impact on every owner’s life – and as importantly – the owner’s life outside of the business.
Business coaching is not for everyone. However, I believe it is the best way for most business owners to discover (or re-discover) the freedom and creativity inherent in successful business ownership.