An experienced business coach understands the challenges and struggles of running a small company best when they previously ran or led a small company. In this blog post, we will explore why experienced business coaches are typically expert entrepreneurs who can provide valuable insight and advice based on their incidents.
A Business Coach Needs Experience Working for a Small Business
I had the privilege of working for my family’s factory for about 17 years in my background. When my parents moved back to the Philippines, I ran it as the vice president from 2001 to 2008.
I started my own business (training-turned-coaching) in 2010. And for seven years, I had contracts with the State of Connecticut and the Small Business Administration. I had business coaching clients and taught companies about financial management and Lean office efficiency. What was surprising to me were all the stories I heard,
“What?! My coach never told me that.”
“Janet, my coach couldn’t specifically tell me how to make more money.”
“He (my coach) won’t read my financial statements with me.”
Is Strategic Planning Enough
Often, a strategic coach who has never run their own business or has authentic small business experience offers generic advice or solutions that may not apply to your business growth. They may also have trouble relating to the unique challenges you face daily. With this knowledge gap, I made sure to tell my clients, “Ask me anything. If I don’t know, I’ll say so.”
A Valuable Resource
As a federal and state government independent contractor, I took my personalized advice and most frequently asked questions and started writing articles throughout my seven years. Here, I’ll do my best to include links to the most popular questions.
Personalized Guidance for Administrators
First, let me address the office administrator’s questions.
The administrator is often overlooked when a coach comes from corporate or any other profession that doesn’t include running a company. Little does this corporate coach know; this person is the company’s heart. Administrators are business leaders too. The business suffers when they aren’t offered continual education, soft skills training, and updated resources.
Also, when this person is overworked or feels unappreciated, they are likely to leave. Here are some articles I wrote specifically for the administrator.
And, here are some office-related how-to’s I wrote for the frustrated office administrator. You know who you are!
Follow-ups Attract More Clients
The business owner and administrator typically ask me about my follow-up procedure. They know they need to improve their follow-up system, but they’re unsure how. The first step is understanding why you should have a follow-up system in the first place.
How a bookkeeper can achieve tremendous success
Depending on the size of the business, the office administrator is often the bookkeeper too. When you have one person combining this work, it is difficult for them to get the workload done. As a result, some tasks keep getting deprioritized. And the more “not-fun” the job, the more likely those tasks won’t get done.
One such task is doing the collect calls. This is one of the most-hated jobs a bookkeeper must do!
When making collect calls, you can do a few things to make the experience more favorable for you and the person on the other end of the line. For starters, try to remain upbeat during your conversation. This will help keep the other person’s spirits up, even if they cannot respond. Secondly, make sure you have the contact information of the person you’re calling in advance. This will help ensure that the call goes through smoothly and without delays. Finally, be prepared to answer any questions the other person may have about your collect call. Here’s a link to my article that teaches you more about collections.
Profitable Team Building
If you have a salesperson and a bookkeeper, make sure they frequently meet regarding new quotes and proposals. This is potentially the most profitable team in your business.
While we’re here in bookkeeping land, a business owner might employ a salesperson and a bookkeeper. I’ve witnessed countless times when the salesperson doesn’t connect with the bookkeeper. They aren’t reviewing their costing sheets with the bookkeeper to ensure the estimated costs are actual and updated. The bookkeeper knows the financials like the back of their hand. They are the highly experienced partner in this equation. Keep this in mind. The bookkeeper is a business leader. Successful businesses understand this.
Successful Entrepreneurs Say NO sometimes.
I’ve had so many frustrated clients complain to me about this. Plenty has asked me, “Janet, how do we decide not to compete for a big job?”
This is a question that comes up often for business owners, and the answer isn’t always straightforward. First, you’ll need to look at your business’ overall financial picture and cash flow. There often isn’t much of a margin for error regarding the bottom line. My article teaches you to decide if you should pass or go for it.
Now, let’s talk about competing for jobs. You must have a signed proposal and contract before starting work to protect yourself. It doesn’t matter how quickly the customer needs you to start. It’s up to them to speed up their signature process so you can get work scheduled.
This means you’ll need a great business lawyer.
Don’t opt out of hiring a business lawyer.
A business lawyer can help you with the many legal issues when owning and operating a business. This includes reviewing contracts, helping to establish LLCs or corporations, and representing your business in court if necessary. Successful companies make sure to have an operating agreement. If you have a business partner, make sure you flush out the details of the operational agreement ASAP to avoid unnecessary conflict.
When it comes to customers, you have to protect yourself because it’s your cash on the line. You may have to deal with non-paying customers and an expensive raw materials inventory. Who eats that cost? You do! The customer isn’t going to “get mad” at you for protecting yourself. Surprisingly, I’ve met many business owners afraid of “lawyering up.” Don’t be scared. This is what expert entrepreneurs do! Here’s my advice on how to find a great business lawyer.
Now that you have found a business lawyer, it’s time to build strong partnerships.
Personal Development with Others
It would be best if you always looked to collaborate with others to get ahead. This could mean collaborating with other businesses in your area, collaborating with other business owners on joint ventures, or collaborating with professionals like a talented business coach, accountant, and lawyer. I have a weekly mastermind, and I learn something new each week. I love it! With a team of trusted individuals, you can improve your leadership skills interpersonal skills, understand your core values, and even find an accountability partner. Here’s a link to my article that teaches you more about how to build strong partnerships.
Businesses Expand our Creativity
Through the years, I’ve coached countless start-up businesses where the owner had experience in his industry for 20+ years, and then he decided to go out independently. Talk about stress! It’s hard to navigate a new business when you’re not used to everything being on your shoulders.
Business Owners Need Flexibility
People have asked me, “Janet, what am I missing here?” I say you need to be more flexible! With time, successful business owners acquire the ability to be more creative when solving problems.
There are many things entrepreneurs need to be flexible about, but I think the most important is their mindset. They need to be open to change and new ideas and not get too attached to their original plan. Usually, business revenue doesn’t come from where you think it will come from. Scary, right?
Entrepreneurs also have to be flexible with their time. They often have to work long hours, and sometimes they have to do tasks that aren’t very glamorous. Plenty of times, business owners reach breaking point. When entrepreneurs hit this wall, we prioritize creating systems and installing Lean methods to cut waste.
Finally, entrepreneurs need to be flexible with their finances. This means being able to adjust their spending when necessary and not being afraid of risk. If they can stick to these three things, they’ll be successful no matter what industry.
Flexibility is a skill all people need to develop.
Corporate employees are not as flexible as those who have worked in a small company. They are used to having their job title and responsibilities clearly defined and may not be able to adapt quickly to changes. Suppose this sounds like you; give yourself some grace and some time. And, don’t compare yourself to others. Instead, watch how they do it and experiment with what works for you.
Those who have worked in small businesses know how to wear many hats and are more likely to be able to help clients achieve business success
Many Business Owners Get Distracted
I say this because I get distracted too. This is a normal part of the business world we need to tame. If you’re an entrepreneur in a highly stressful situation, you can be easily convinced to go for a solution that’s not quite right for what you need.
Is Sales the Problem
We may jump to a business coaching program focused on marketing strategies if sales are increasingly hard to attract. It seems like a reasonable jump but before you invest in a new signature program, check with your marketing manager to ensure you’re not losing out on a return on investment for your traditional marketing efforts.
Should you hire an executive business coach?
Again, this is a solution that you need to consider thoughtfully. To help you make this decision, please know that many great coaches are out there. However, I’d first recommend checking in with an experienced mentor. Your staff members have unique motivations and needs. A quick chat with your mentor can help you solve business problems and help motivate your staff.
So, you want to hire a business coach.
If this sounds like you, I’m excited for you! There are many benefits when it comes to hiring a business coach. To find a great coach, I would recommend companies first write down the business owner’s vision. The best business coaches know how to listen closely to your needs. Specifically, they would need to know how to save money on business expenses. Secondly, they would need to know how to increase sales and maximize your sales framework. And, if they can’t help you reach your vision, they either know how to find you resources or direct you to another coach who can. If you’d like to apply for a complimentary discovery call with me, please click here.
What kind of business coach do you need to hire?
Please know that life coaching is quite different than business coaching. An executive coach and a personal business coach can be great options. They can help you navigate many business problems regarding leadership and organization.
However, if you aim to build business growth within the next year or two, I highly recommend working with a certified financial business coach with experience running a business. My specialty as a certified financial business coach is working with established companies with two or more years in business. If this sounds like you, please click here to apply for a complimentary discovery call.
Self-Awareness is key
Be wary of the coach who says they’re the jack of all trades and they can coach anybody. Not so! A great business coach serves a narrow niche. For me, I love helping businesses grow financially. I love teaching small business owners the skills required to find and make more money in their business. We go beyond business goals because goals are such a blanket statement. I enjoy reviewing financials with my clients quite frequently. We do this to assure that the growth plans we execute are reality-based and give them a return on their investment when choosing to work with me.
Work with an Experienced Certified Financial Business Coach
Sometimes the most unassuming questions can lead to the best improvements in a company. Without hard skills and experience helping clients, a coach may gloss over their client’s needs. A certified financial business coach with experience understands the ins and outs of a company. They know what it takes to make a profit, and they have experience working with limited resources. A financial business coach can help you grow your business without making the same mistakes they made when they were starting. Having someone who has been in your shoes is invaluable, especially when it comes to making money decisions.
Janet Johnson is the author of My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finding & Making More Money. Before becoming a coach, Janet gained seventeen years of experience in a family-owned manufacturing company. She also trained small business owners in Financial Management and Lean Enterprise through contracts with the State of Connecticut and the Small Business Administration for seven years.