Running a business is one of the hardest jobs there is. Personal life suffers and fear of failure is a constant presence.
Business and the world are both too complex to think you can go it alone. Building a successful company takes a variety of knowledge, skills, and guidance from a host of people both inside and outside the organization.
Even if you have strong general business management knowledge, you’re 50-70% likely to fail in the first 2 years. And for those that survive, profits are negligible and the owners are devastatingly overworked. So what are your options.
The answer is obvious. Don’t go it alone.
So who do you talk to? Friends with business management degrees? Your pastor? Your spouse?
My current company’s revenues increased over 500% in the first 5 years… and I wouldn’t have dared to run my business without a good business coach. If you want sound business management advice, hiring a business coach is becoming more and more mainstream, and for good reason.
- A business coach increases your profit margin by 46%.
- It’s estimated that 12% of US business owners use coaches but those 12% make up 90% of US profits
- Numerous studies conclude a similar return of 5 – 7 times your investment in the cost of a business coach. It’s common to get those results within the 1st 4 months of coaching.
To get those early results, a good business coach provides both short-term assistance and long-term training. They should start with at least quick informal assessment to see where you don’t need help, where your trouble spots are, and where the biggest, quickest payoffs are for some early wins. You should expect to walk away with solutions to improve your business immediately and after each session with your business coach.
The kind of business coach I’m talking about does more than influence your behaviors. They provide immediate solutions, knowledge, opinions, judgments. For example, If you need to create an org chart, they’ll do that for you. If you need a financial analysis, a budget, or a vendor comparison, they’ll do that for you, or at least work with you to do it. The independent nature of a coach provides a sounding board for testing ideas and solutions in a way that those close to the manager couldn’t possibly provide. The coach helps you anticipate what will happen in different scenarios.
Business coaching isn’t a passive methodology but an active experiential learning, with the benefit of immediate feedback.
Here are some other examples of things a business coach can do for you:
- Help owners or founders navigate difficult or sensitive discussions with each other
- Help you know what you can and should expect from your key players like your CFO, office manager, shop supervisor, collection agency, online marketing company, etc.
- Give advice on when and how to bring on investors
- Make sure you hire high-quality people with the right skills
- Facilitate strategic planning meetings
- Help you resolve employee conflicts
- Help you evaluate sales management companies
- Navigate tricky regulation requirements
- Determine how to handle clients who have unrealistic expectations
- Help you figure out how to handle vendors whose terms suddenly change
- Coach you through a sudden, unexpected resignation
- Facilitate/coach the meetings of your leadership team
Not a week, or even a day goes by without a new problem that needs solving or a new opportunity that needs exploring. Having a business coach gives you that someone so you’re not in it alone.
“And while the role of a business coach is difficult to define, I suspect anyone who has ever had a good coach will tell you that the role is indispensable. When other entrepreneurs have stated that they can’t afford a business coach, I ask them to think about whether they can afford not to have one. I can only speak to my own experience, but the few thousand dollars Kim and I have invested have yielded many times that in business returns. Dollar for dollar, I don’t know if there is a better investment entrepreneurs can make.” Brittany Hodak, Co-founder of ‘ZinePak in a Forbes article