Most home business owners start their ventures on a shoestring budget, DIYing every aspect from planning to marketing. While this isn’t necessarily bad, unless you come from a business background, you’re not likely to know everything there is to know about running a successful business. And when things go wonky, you might not have the distance to figure out what’s not working. This is where small business coaching can help.
What Do Small Business Coaches Do
In general, a business coach will work with you to identify strengths and weaknesses in yourself and your business, help you find solutions to overcome challenges real and imagined, and guide you in setting and reaching your goals.
Small business coaches not only offer business tips, advice, and strategies but also, they act a bit like a counselor, helping you overcome limiting beliefs while building confidence.
Coaches vary in how they deliver their service, but in general, they use a combination of talking with you, asking questions, and giving guidance, along with homework and maybe checklists. Most coaching is action-oriented, in that you’re expected to follow through on some sort of action you and your coach have determined is important in your business.
10 Ways a Small Business Coach Can Help You
If you’re insightful and honest with yourself, you can often coach yourself, but there are some reasons why investing in coaching can make a big impact on your home business.
- Identify issues in your business: Having an outsider looking in can help you figure out what’s not working in your business.
- Build confidence: It’s easy to lose your confidence in home business. A coach can help you see and build on your strengths, and boost your belief in you and your business.
- Challenge your thinking: A solo business owner works only under the beliefs they hold, which can hold him back. A coach can challenge your thinking so you can see more options and avoid having limiting beliefs sabotage success.
- Expand your mind and your business: Most business owners can do and grow more than they think. A business coach can help you see the bigger picture and set larger goals.
- Help you get unstuck: Feeling like you’re in a business rut? A coach can help you figure out where you’re stuck, and get you excited and moving forward again.
- Help you prioritize your tasks and goals: Especially if you’re a DIYer in your business, you can get overwhelmed with tasks and busy work. A coach can help you identify the actions to focus on and give you time management strategies.
- Offer accountability: People have an easier time letting themselves down than someone else. A coach will expect you to take action on the plan you establish and call you on it if you don’t follow through.
- Help you come up with and harness ideas: Coaches have expertise that gives you new ideas or tweaks to old ideas. They can also help you corral the ideas so you can figure out which are with pursuing and prioritizing.
- Sounding board for brainstorming and getting feedback: If you have ideas or just want feedback on something you’re doing, a coach can listen and share their thoughts on it.
- Give guidance and share expertise: As business experts, coaches can give you tips and advice that can help you do what you do better.
How to Know if You Need a Business Coach
All business owners, even experienced ones, can benefit from coaching. But there are situations in which coaching might make the difference between achieving great success or not. Here are a few signs that you could use the help of a business coach:
- You feel stuck. If you’re going through all the motions of running a successful home business but don’t feel you’re getting results, a business coach can help you figure out what’s not working.
- You don’t have and can’t come up with a plan. There are so many moving parts to a home business, it can be hard to know what to do from day to day. A coach can help you come up with a plan and daily to-dos.
- You’re overwhelmed. If you’re starting to feel burnt-out or discouraged by your business you might be overwhelmed by it. A coach can work with you to prioritize tasks you need to do while helping you identify actions you can delegate or simply delete.
- You need accountability. If you’re not completing your to-dos or meeting your goals, it could be that you’re not following through. It’s one thing to let yourself down, but it’s harder to tell someone else you’ve made a commitment to that you chose to sleep-in or binge-watch Netflix instead of working on your business.
- You want to expand your knowledge or skill set. As your business grows, you’ll want to build on what you’ve learned. For example, maybe you’ve figured out the basics of Pinterest, but now you want to truly maximize the marketing power of pinning. Coaches can help you learn soft skills as well, such as leadership or negotiating with clients.
How to Find a Small Business Coach
The good news is that there are a ton of small business coaches. The bad news is that they’re not regulated in terms of being required to have any specific skills or knowledge. That means you run the risk of finding a coach that won’t help you reach your goals.
Here are a few tips for finding a quality business coach:
- Does the coach listen and ask questions? If you just want someone to tell you what to do, buy a book or a course. A coach offers a personalized plan based on your needs and goals. To do that, the coach needs to listen and ask questions to learn about you.
- Does the coach have experience in what you need in your business? While there is general business coaching, there may be instances in which you need something specific, like productivity or marketing. Whether you pick a general coach or one with a specific niche, make sure they have experience in what they purport to coach.
- Do you mesh with your coach? Note that this doesn’t mean your coach is always nice and forgiving. The best coaches will challenge you, especially if you’re not following through. But you should feel comfortable with your coach.
- Does the coach offer a strategy or plan to help you reach your goals. Most coaches have systems for guiding you to where you want to go in your business. This isn’t therapy, it’s coaching, in which you should be offered a blueprint or help in creating a roadmap to success.
- Does the coach have references? The very best way to find a coach is through referrals from people you know and trust. If you find a coach some other way, ask for references that you can contact to get input about the coach.
What about coaching certifications?
There are training programs for coaches that offer some useful tips and guidelines on how to be a successful coach. With that said, the ability to listen and offer guidance is more of an innate ability than a teachable strategy. There are very good coaches that don’t have any official training, but they’re excellent at helping people. And there are certified coaches who aren’t. So ultimately, you want to find a coach you mesh with that has good references and can help you in the area you need guidance.