Why Coaching Can Help …
When I first started helping business owners grow and develop their businesses in the UK over 15 years ago, no one had heard of business coaching.
Back then I was working within a firm of accountants. At the time we called ourselves consultants, although what we did was mainly business coaching. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the start of the business coaching industry.
When I arrived in Australia over 10 years ago, I started my first business coaching practice. No one was looking for a business coach back then. I remember having to explain the concept to confused business owners time and again. Luckily, some of them understood it enough to invest in coaching, got some great results and the word started to spread.
Business is hard; there’s no getting away from that. While researching my new book I reviewed the latest stats on business failure rates, and they’re still shockingly high! 50% of businesses are gone within the first five years and 70% within ten years! The odds of business success are stacked against you.
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve put hours of blood, sweat and tears into making your business work, it’s your baby. And it doesn’t stop there; most business owners end up borrowing money and putting the family home up as security. If the business fails, then you could face not just losing your business but losing everything!
You’ve risked everything to make this work, but it often ends up being harder than you first thought. It’s like having kids; before your first kid you have all these plans about the type of parent you’re going to be and then when it happens, it’s a different story. No one can tell you just how hard business is until you do it for yourself – it’s hard! And no one has ever taught you how to run a business. You certainly don’t learn that at school!
This is where a business coach can help you. You understand your business and your industry, and your business coach understands business and how to run it effectively. They can teach you and help you implement fundamental business principles and working together can give you a great recipe for success, helping you stack the odds of business success in your favour.
The top 4 reasons why a business coach can help you
Outside Guidance …
As many of my clients have told me, being a business owner can be a lonely experience. None of your team really understand what it’s like to be the owner, and talking to them just isn’t possible. Plus, it’s often hard to get the right perspective on your own business as you’re stuck in the day-to-day operations. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t see the wood for the trees’.
A business coach can support you and give you an outsider’s perspective on your business. You can talk problems through with them and they can use their expertise, experience and knowledge to help you find the right solution.
Over the years, I’ve found that the best way for business owners to find out if they could benefit from business coaching is to have an initial coaching session with me. That’s why I offer a complementary 90-minute introductory coaching session. During that session, I look at where their business is now and where they want to take it, and then I give them an outsider’s perspective of what they need to do to get there.
Time and again, during just the first session clients can suddenly see what they need to do to get their business to the next level. Business coaching gives you the support you need along the way too. Just like a sports coach, they can stand at the side of your business, see what’s working and what isn’t working and then give instructions for you to implement on the pitch to improve results.
As I’m writing this now, one of my clients just called. He’s having trouble with a team member and needs an outsider’s perspective from an expert on how to deal with it. We just went through the situation and have come up with a plan. He feels supported, and we’ll achieve a better result because together we came up with a better solution.
One of the main reasons why business owners get stuck in a rut and the business stops developing is because the business owner gets too busy working ‘in’ the business instead of ‘on’ the business.
Working ‘on’ the business can include setting up new systems and processes, developing marketing and sales material, developing team members, reviewing your numbers and much more. The more time you can invest in these areas, the quicker your business will develop. It’s not rocket science!
But while most people know they should be working ‘on’ their business, they get caught up working ‘in’ the business. Customers, employees and suppliers demand your time, while no one is demanding that you spend your time working ‘on’ the business. Naturally, you jump into working ‘in’ your business and think to yourself, ‘I’ll get that done later’. And guess what? You never quite get there.
Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and this is where a business coach can help. They’ll help you to prioritise your ‘on’ the business activities that need to be done, and then they’ll hold you accountable to make sure you get it done.
Often when I start coaching clients we’ll set up ‘on’ the business activities, and the night before we meet they get their ‘on’ the business tasks done. It doesn’t matter when they do it – as long as they’re getting it done, I don’t care. The important thing is that they’re starting to spend time working ‘on’ their business.
Over time, we get them more organised and get more of their time back so that they’re spending more time working ‘on’ their business. That’s what a business coach can help you to do.
A business coach will also hold you accountable to get the things done that you know you need to do but just keep putting off. You know what I’m talking about: facing those big challenges that just seem too hard or scary to tackle.
I had a client once who hired me just so I could hold him accountable to remove his son from the business. It was something that he knew had to be done, but, understandably, he kept putting it off. We worked together to do it in the most constructive way, that didn’t destroy the family or the business.
And it’s not just family members. I held another client accountable last week who had an employee who wasn’t performing and we had to let go. Sometimes, we all need someone to hold us accountable to tackle those challenging tasks that you’re putting off but know you need to do.
Improve Profits and Cash …
Profits are the reason you’re in business. It’s your return for the blood, sweat and tears you put into your business. And cash is the heartbeat of your business. Without it, your business will die!
At the end of the day, business is about producing turnover at the right price, maximising your profit by controlling your costs and then turning that profit into cash as quickly and effectively as possible.
A good business coach will help you understand how this works in your business and help you implement strategies to improve your cash flow and grow your profits.
A word of warning, though: make sure your coach understands the numbers. It’s important that they are focused on cash and profits and not just growing your sales, and that they can teach you how your numbers work in your business.
The biggest reason for businesses failing is that they grow too quickly; they don’t have access to the right funds and they run out of cash. You need to make sure you’re in control of your profits and cash before growing sales.
A good business coach will help you do that and, ultimately, help you turn your business into a cash cow, giving you more money to live your life and to invest wisely elsewhere to build your wealth.
Develop Your Team …
There’s no point having a business that’s generating good profits and cash flow if you don’t have the time to enjoy it.
To be successful in any business and to get your time back, you need to build a great team. A good business coach will help you develop a team that can run your business effectively without you.
I’m meeting with a client tomorrow who is now down to working four days a week while earning over $1million profits a year. This is possible because we’ve developed a strong management team who run the business, freeing up his time to spend doing what he wants to do.
A good business coach will help you with proven management and leadership training, recruitment and management processes, and succession planning to help you build your team.