Many business owners start their businesses on shoestring budgets. DIY’ing every facet of their business from planning through to marketing. While this approach to running a business is not necessarily wrong, unless you have a background in business, chances are you're not going to know everything there is to know about running a thriving business. And when things do start going sideways, you might find that you lack the necessary experience to determine what the cause is. It's here where recruiting the help of a business coach or mentor is essential.
What do small business coaches do?
In a nutshell, business coaches work with business owners to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses. They are there to help you improve your mindsets in order to find solutions to overcome challenges, both of a real and hypothetical nature, and they're also capable of guiding you in setting and achieving your goals.
Small business coaches don't only offer business advice, tips and strategies, but also take the form of a counsellor, helping you overcome self-limiting beliefs while helping you with your confidence as a business owner.
Notably, business coaches vary in how they deliver their services. However, most business coaches engage in one-on-one consultations, continually ask the difficult but relevant questions, provide ongoing guidance, and sometimes request homework to get you to manifest your own solutions in your own time. Most of the coaching provided as action-orientated, in that the business owner is held accountable and expected to complete specific actions which he/she has deemed as important to the business.
10 Ways A Small Business Coach Can Help Your Business.
If you're able to be completely honest and insightful to yourself, you're probably in the position where you can self-coach. That being said, this is challenging and requires a lot of self-discipline, so let's explore some reasons why investing in a coach or mento can significantly impact your business.
Identifying issues within your business. Employing the help of an outsider can help business owners determine what's not working in their businesses.
Build confidence. It's notably easy for business owners to lose faith in their businesses. A coach is there to help business owners realise their strengths and build on them; as well as boost their self-confidence and belief in their businesses.
Challenge your thinking. Solo business owners often operate only under self-imposed expectations, which can hold them back. Recruiting a coach can help challenge your thinking, leading you to see more options as well as avoiding limiting beliefs which potentially sabotage the success of your efforts.
Expand your mind and your business. Most business owners have the potential to do and grow more than they think. A business coach steps in to help business owners see the bigger picture and set bigger goals.
Helping you become unstuck. Perhaps you feel that you're in a business rut? A business coach can help you determine where you're stagnating as well as get you motivated to move forward once again.
Prioritising your goals and tasks. This is especially important if you're a "DIY’er" in running your business, as you're likely to become overwhelmed with your responsibilities. A great business coach can help you identify the actions you need to focus on and provide you with sound time management strategies.
Enforce accountability. Individuals have a far easier time letting themselves down, as opposed to disappointing someone else. A business coach comes with expectations for the business owner to take action on their plans which they establish, and they're there to hold you accountable to the result.
Assist in coming up with ideas. Business coaches have specific expertise, which gives business owners fresh ideas, or tactics in tweaking old ideas. Moreover, they're also there to gather your ideas, giving you the time to determine which are worth pursuing and prioritising, and which are not..
They provide a sounding board for brainstorming and feedback. If you have ideas or are merely seeking input on something you're working on, a coach is there to listen and provide their insights and thoughts on it.
Provide guidance and expertise. As business experts, coaches can provide you with tips and advice, which will ultimately help you do what you do better.
How do you know if you need a business coach?
You're feeling stuck. Perhaps you're going through all the motions of running a successful business, but you feel as if you're not seeing results. A business coach steps in to help you determine your pain points and what's not working.
You don't have a plan and can't devise one. There are many moving parts to a successful business, and it can be challenging to know what to do during your day-to-day operations. A coach can help you devise a plan with actionable daily to-dos.
You're overwhelmed. Should you start to feel the onset of burnout or find that you're discouraged by your business, you might be overwhelmed. A coach is there to work alongside to prioritise the tasks you need to do while helping you identify the actions which you can delegate or simply delete.
When you need accountability. If you're failing to complete your tasks or meet your goals, it could boil down to you not following through on them. It's one thing to let yourself down, but it's harder to tell someone else whom you've committed to that you chose to sleep-in or binge watch series instead of working on your business tasks.
You're seeking to expand your skillset or knowledge base. As your business grows, you need to build upon what you've learned in the past. For instance, perhaps you've determined the basics of Pinterest, but now desire to maximise the power of pinning and creating boards properly. Coaches are also there to help you acquire soft skills, such as leadership or negotiation tactics with clients.
How do you find a business coach?
Fortunately, there are a myriad of different small business coaches. One downside, however, is that business coaches are not regulated with regards to having specific skills or acumen. Which means that you need to focus on your needs, and work to identify the right coach to help you achieve your goals.
Let's explore some essential tips for finding a quality business coach to suit your business needs:
Does your coach listen and ask the right questions? A seasoned business coach is there to provide personalised, actionable plans based on your needs and goals. In order to achieve this, business coaches need to listen and ask the right questions to learn more about you and your business goals.
Does your coach have experience in what your business needs? While there are general business coaching practitioners out there, you might encounter scenarios where you might require something specific, such as marketing or increasing productivity. Whether you opt for a general coach or one which has a particular niche, ensure that they have experience in what they claim to be proficient in coaching.
Do you and your coach get along? It's wise to note that this doesn't mean your coach will always be friendly and forgiving. The best business coaches challenge their clients, especially in cases where business owners are failing to follow through on tasks and goals. That being said, you still need to feel comfortable with your coach and their approach to coaching and guiding you.
Does your coach offer strategies or plans to help you achieve your goals? Many coaches have systems in place for successfully guiding business owners in where they desire to go with their businesses. However, it must be noted that this is not a form of therapy, it's coaching, and thus you should be provided with a blueprint or help in developing a roadmap to your business's success.
Does your coach have a proven track record and references? The best approach to finding a coach is via referrals from people whom you trust and know. Should you, however, find a coach via an alternate route, ensure that you ask for references, so that you can contact them to glean input and feedback about the coach.
There are countless training programs for coaches which provide useful tips and guidelines on how to be a successful business coach. That being said, the ability to listen correctly and offer sound guidance is more of an inherent ability than a teachable strategy. Many great coaches exist who might not have any formal training. However, they still excel at helping business owners, and on the opposite end, many certified coaches are not good at helping people.
Your ultimate goal is finding a coach whom you get along with, who has excellent references and can assist you in the areas where you need guidance.
If you're looking for a business coach or mentor assist you on your business or entrepreneurial journey, visit the Ekin Coaching Training and Speaking business page to access their services and contact information.