By Princess Jones
Small business coaches are professionals that help you identify business goals and come up with plans to make them happen. Putting yourself in the hands of a coach is not an insignificant decision. The next phase of your business depends on it. With all of the options out there, it might seem daunting to begin the search. But if you stick to the most important features of a small business coach, your search should get easier.
There are some people who believe talking about about money is gauche but I think that we need to acknowledge that the cost of services is a big factor in what we choose. The right business coach can be worth her weight in gold, but if she’s outside of your budget, that doesn’t mean anything to you.
Review your budget carefully. Remember that, like marketing costs, a business coach expenses are not an easily measured ROI. It may take some time to see returns on this investment. However, it will probably be tax deductible, depending on your circumstances. (Check with your accountant to be sure.)
Experience and Credentials
Now that you’ve got a realistic idea of who you can afford, it’s time to dive a little deeper into the coaching options by checking out their credentials and experience. By credentials, I’m talking about education, training, and certifications. Business coaches can get any number of coaching training credentials but it’s important that you do a little research on the ones your potential coaches are sporting.
As for experience, this is more about the real world work your coach has done. Most of them have been a part of creating a successful brand or two or even three. Many are serial entrepreneurs. All of the ones in the running for your business should have some client referrals that show they’ve had some success coaching someone else to their goals.
Consider looking for a coach that has experience in your specific industry, too. You may also want to look for one who works with businesses at your current stage of growth. For example, if you’re starting a catering business you’ll want someone that has experience with food businesses, experience with startups, or preferably someone with experience in both.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your business coach. You’re going to vulnerable to them about the inside workings of your business. They are going to be giving you encouragement, advice, and tough love. You need to be on the same page about your working relationship. If you’re a sensitive artist, a drill sergeant is probably not going to work for you. If you’re blunt, tough talking wisecracker, someone who holds your hand is probably not going to work for you.
What kind of interaction do you expect to have with your coach? What motivates you? Are you the type who only needs a short session and then you can self motivate for long periods of time? Would you prefer multiple interactions with your coach over the course of a short time? Would you feel more comfortable with in person sessions, video calls, call, or emails? These are all important questions to answer before you hire a small business coach because not everyone receives information in the same way. You have to find someone who can counsel in the way that helps you succeed.