Starting a small business is no easy feat. Neither is running a successful one. This is where a small business coach comes in handy.
There are several milestones along the process of starting a business and priming it for long-term success that an experienced business coach can guide you through. And each of them requires different strategies, approaches, and resources to keep things moving along.
More often than not, you’ll have to abandon the best-laid plans if they don’t turn out the way you’d hoped. You might find yourself wanting a second opinion on crucial decisions throughout the journey. This is where having a small business coach comes in handy. They can help you develop your business plan before launch, keep your ducks in order when you’re starting up, or refine your business practices once you’ve set up shop. Just like an athletic coach, a small business coach can offer help and encouragement at any stage of your business’s development.
Here’s what a coach can do for you, as well as a few key milestones when it might benefit you to bring one on. Every company’s journey is different, but these are some of the most common instances in which a small business coach might be just the thing you need.
What Is a Small Business Coach?
Think of a small business coach as an entrepreneur’s psychologist, life coach, business mentor, and sounding board all rolled into one. They can help you develop a business plan, execute on your idea, and help you make your business model profitable and successful. This person can also act as an impartial judge for your ideas and can help you diagnose issues within your organization if and when they arise.
A small business coach is a professional who knows the ins and outs of running a business. This includes (but is not limited to) advice about being a better manager, handling the stress of being a business owner, finding additional revenue, and increasing your company’s sales.
Think of a small business coach as a life coach. Instead of helping you self-actualize and reach your personal potential, they help your business figure out how to live up to its maximum abilities. You’ll get some personal help along the way, too, as your coach guides you through the issues blocking you from being the entrepreneur you’re destined to be.
When Would I Want to Hire a Small Business Coach?
There’s no simple answer as to when you might want to hire a small business coach. Much of what you’d get out of having a coach depends on your personal needs as an entrepreneur. Some small business owners seek coaching during the early conceptual stages to help get their companies off the ground. Others may look toward a business coach to help improve operations once the initial growth stages pass, as this is when things tend to become less operationally efficient. Alternatively, you might even want to solicit the help of a coach well after your company’s off the ground, particularly if you want help becoming a better manager.
The best thing you can do is determine what challenges you’re experiencing before you reach out to a small business coach. Even if you’re not 100% certain that you know what has you feeling stuck or challenged, it’s helpful to pinpoint a few broad areas of improvement. Your coach can help you work through the fine points so long as you know where to begin to look.
As with all major investments, you’ll want to do your homework before you pull the trigger. Onboarding a small business coach is no different. Most coaches offer set service plans, and many provide different levels of support. You should make sure that you know what kind of help you want and what you’re willing to spend to get it.
What Should I Look for in a Small Business Coach?
Every coach offers a few of the same baseline services. You’ll get motivational support to help you overcome personal obstacles to running your business, as well as inspiration to seize new opportunities and manage your company with confidence. Business coaches can provide you with basic assistance, supplanting years of self-guided learning or trial-and-error to find strategies that can help kickstart business growth. They can also give you a leg-up with developing business basics, such as business plans and revenue projections.
Most small business coaches also offer help that goes a step further than the basics of business. These groups might provide you with one-on-one sessions to discuss the impediments you face as an entrepreneur and how to tackle common challenges. Coaches can help you overcome obstacles with lead acquisition, client relations, managing customers, or building the right kind of staff to keep your business in good shape.
Your small business coach may even offer you more customized help, as well as hands-on learning opportunities. Some larger coaching firms offer retreats, customized business plans, or even specific strategies for developing robust marketing and sales plans. Depending on what you want, you could find a business coach that’s more like a life coach or a silent business partner. It all boils down to your needs, and what you want to get out of the relationship.