Think of it as equal parts strategic and emotional support for small business owners.
If you’re a small business owner, you may be wondering what is small business coaching and how could it potentially benefit you and your business.
First and foremost, being a small business owner is lonely and isolating, especially without having someone you can talk to who can truly grasp the challenges that you face everyday. Sure, you can talk to your partner/spouse, family and friends, but unless they are small business owners, chances are, they won’t be able to provide you with the insight and support you need to keep going. With this said, I’m married to another small business owner, and the last thing we want to talk about at the end of the day is our work! If there is a burning crisis, sure, we will be there to support one another, but in terms of the day in and day out grind of running a small business, we’d rather relax and enjoy life together than problem solve the work-related issue du jour.
So, small business owners need someone to talk to who gets it, and that’s where small business coaching comes into play. The ideal small business coach is someone that has successfully run or is successfully running a small business of their own and knows the drill. They have experience dealing with all of the issues that you are facing in your business such as business strategy, employee challenges, client challenges, cash flow issues, processes and procedures. And don’t forget being overwhelmed, anxiety, sleepless nights and relationship stress. A good small business coach will be able to help you illuminate the vision you want for your business, figure out the obstacles that are getting in your way of achieving it and then help you strategically and systematically conquer them. They are your strategic and emotional support system and help keep your vision in front of you, even when you are losing sight of it due to the challenges of running your business.
Finding a small business coach who fits the bill can be easier said than done. There are consultants out there that want you to pay them thousands of dollars per month to tell you how to run your business. Several years ago, I hired such a person. He worked for a big company then went off on his own and consulted small business owners. A fellow small business owner who turned out not to be remotely business savvy referred him to me. My business was growing, and I thought I needed guidance. I’ll spare you all of the gory details, but take my word for it when I say that it was a costly mistake. My instincts as a small business owner in the trenches were far more sound than the expensive, unproductive things I embarked on during a year-plus of working with him. It took me a couple of years to unravel some of the things he got me into. So buyer beware when it comes to a business coach/consultant of this nature. It’s not to say that there aren’t consultants out there that can get hands-on with your business and be effective, but this is not a business coach and should not be considered as such. It’s important to know the difference.
A small business coach is kind of like a business-savvy therapist. They know the ins and outs of running a business, and they also know the emotional rollercoaster that small business owners experience. They can help you figure stuff out, deal with stress and enjoy your life. Look for a small business coach who is available to you on an hourly basis or has a discounted package of hours that you can purchase. Plan on working with them bi-weekly initially to get them dialed into your world and vision and then every three to four weeks thereafter. You also want someone who is available to you via email or phone in a pinch. Last but not least, when you find the right small business coach, don’t think of them as a short-term fix. Think of them as a long-term strategic partner and ally. Chances are, you will need their support time and time again.