Do I really need a business coach?
Do you believe that business coaches are only for those people who are already in business, know what they’re doing and what they want to achieve? I used to.
But of course, as the saying goes, back then, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And what I didn’t know, was that there are business coaches that specialise in start ups.
Looking back, perhaps I would have been too ashamed to front up at a meeting with a business coach in those early days with just my vague ideas of wanting to have a business, but not really knowing what that would look like, but that’s EXA’CTLY what I needed.
I needed some hard nosed business advice and an exploration of my strengths and interests to develop my business ideas and design a business that was right for me.
Instead, I spent several years blundering about in the dark, bouncing from one idea to the next, trying to figure out what the hell I wanted to be when I grew up.
It’s ONE way to do things and it’s a way that many business owners DO take before they settle on their THING and figure out what their business really needs to look like, but it’s not necessarily the best way.
What I’m talking about here is different from the natural evolution that most businesses undergo, as they pivot in the changing marketplace and as their business owners’ needs and interests change.
Instead of hiring my own business coach, I took part in a couple of online group coaching programs which taught me a lot about online marketing, but didn’t give me any direction in relation to my own business. They both assumed that the participants already knew what they wanted to do, but I was still floundering trying to figure out what my business would be beyond personal blogging.
What does a start up business coach do?
A business coach specialising in start ups, someone like me, would have helped me see what my strengths and deep interests were. They would have helped me find ways to monetise these and to build a business around them. They would have made me do market research to see if there was any demand for my services, what my potential customers thought of what I wanted to offer and what their objections to purchasing might be. And they most definitely would have helped me write a business plan.
A start up business coach works with you to keep you accountable in those early days to make sure you keep meeting your timelines when there are yet no clients to satisfy. They also challenge your assumptions, as well as the road blocks you put in your own way as you find reasons why you can’t possibly succeed. It can be hard to believe in yourself when you’re just starting out, especially without supportive people in your immediate circle of family and friends, so a good business coach should be able to give you that much needed boost, while staying realistic about your hopes and plans.
With a background as a trainer, I also focus on teaching my clients as much as I can about various aspects of their business. From invoicing and business planning, to social media and email marketing. You might need to find separate people to teach you these skills, or there is always Professor Google, or a multitude of free and paid courses that can help to improve your skills.
Choosing a business coach
Before hiring a business coach, get clear on what you need from them. Be very honest with yourself on where you are with your business AND your mindset and don’t be ashamed if you’re not very far at all.
Not every business coach is going to be a good match for you, so it’s important that you find one that is. Look for one that specialises in start ups and in the type of business you want to start, for example, is it service or product based? If you know what industry your business is going to be in, it might even be worthwhile to select a coach that has experience in that industry. Alternatively, you might look for a coach that has great cross-industry experience because they could really give you some “out of the box” ideas.
Ask for recommendations, follow coaches on social media to see what they’re all about and check out their websites. See if they offer free discovery calls so you can have a quick chat and “get a feel” for them.
Most importantly, don’t get straight jacketed into a one-size-fits-all approach to coaching. If a coach tries to squeeze you into one end of their coaching machine, put you through a process and spit you out the other end looking just like all the other businesses out there, then maybe that’s not the coach for you.
You want someone who will treat you like the sparkling individual that you are and will build you up to show all your best bits, while teaching you how to make those not so good bits better.
So don’t be put off by your own lack of confidence, or by how early you think you are in the business game. Ask around, do some research and hire a coach that will make those early months and years so much easier and smoother to navigate. You won’t regret it.
To book a free Getting to Know You session with me follow this link.