As the great coach Ted Lasso once said, “Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse. If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.”
Coaching isn’t only reserved for fictional football fields (ahem, soccer fields) it can also be one of the best investments a small business owner can make.
If you find yourself spending too much time feeling overwhelmed, insecure, or frustrated with how your business is currently running—bringing in a trusted advisor who knows how to keep you motivated can be a game changer.
Since it’s National Small Business Week, we thought we’d share what a business coach can do for your company and when it’s time to hire one.
What is a small business coach?
A good small business coach has the expertise to assess your current business set up and help you overcome challenges to set you on a path to success. They can encourage you to tap into your own unique potential, give you the tools to implement repeatable processes, and help you build a strong business that reflects your core values.
While this may seem like a lofty task, small business coaches are really good at breaking challenging problems down into achievable chunks.
They can help you with:
- Goal setting
- Strategic planning
- Change management
- Mindset change
Related resource: Find the Right Mentor and Grow Your Small Business
When and why should I hire a business coach?
Most entrepreneurs hire a business coach when they run into problems they can’t figure out on their own.
As an unbiased outsider, your coach can look at the challenges you’re facing with an objective and experienced eye. Often, they’ll offer solutions you may not have thought about, or didn’t know how to put into practice.
Here are a few instances where hiring a coach can be particularly valuable.
A. When your business is just starting out
Mistakes are inevitable when you start a business, but some can cost more than others. Hiring a business coach when you’re at the beginning of your journey can help you define your business strategy and bypass some of the missteps budding entrepreneurs often take.
A good business coach helps you:
Clarify your goals. What are you trying to achieve? Business coaches work with you to clearly define your vision and goals, and figure out a realistic path to get there.
Learn the ropes. If you are good enough at what you do to start selling your skills full time, but don’t have a grasp on the business side of things, coaches can help you build a solid foundation.
Close knowledge gaps. For first-timers in a particular industry, coaches can help you avoid the most common pitfalls and point out where your knowledge is lacking.
B. When your business is scaling up
Seeing your sales figures take off is a huge accomplishment. But keeping the momentum going is no small feat. From ramping up production efforts to hiring extra hands, a lot of thought goes into scaling your operations.
Making the wrong moves during a growth phase can set you back months, even years on your business trajectory.
A good business coach helps you:
Get focused. There are a lot of decisions to be made when your business is growing. Coaches can help you hone in on what you need to do to remain sustainable and ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
Stay accountable. Your coach is the person in your life who isn’t afraid to keep it real. They’ll help you set business milestones and expect you to do your best to achieve them.
Navigate change. How long should you wait before hiring your first employee? Do you need to outsource work to contractors? As your business grows, your coach can assess your options to ensure you’re getting the balance right—without losing too much cash.
C. When your business faces challenges
Every entrepreneur faces rocky moments in their journey. The tricky part is knowing which direction will take you out of the danger zone and back on solid ground. Having access to an experienced coach can help minimize risky decision-making, and give you the tools you need to get out of a bad situation relatively unscathed.
A good business coach helps you:
Spot weaknesses. You don’t know what you don’t know. Your coach can look at your company as a whole to identify your business blindspots and help you stay competitive in the market.
Optimize processes. Coaches can evaluate your business systems and processes to see where you can get more efficient. Don’t have any processes yet? They can help you create some.
Build confidence. The best business coaches are mindset changers. Share your biggest blockers with them and they’ll find a way to help you push through them and come out the other side with the motivation and inspiration to thrive.
Are there alternatives to small business coaches?
While the best business coaches might be worth their weight in gold, not every business owner is willing to take the risk. It’s understandable. Coaching services can cost thousands of dollars and are out of reach for a lot of small businesses.
If you fall into this category, don’t worry. There are low-cost and free alternatives that help your business grow.
Find your preferred medium
There’s no shortage of Youtube videos to watch, podcasts to listen to, blogs to read, and online small business communities to join. With a bit of digging, you can find successful entrepreneurs in your industry who are willing to share their personal strategies for success.
Hire short-term specialists
The ‘coach–coachee’ relationship works best over months or years. If you don’t have the budget to hire a long-term coach, bringing in a business consultant can be the next best thing. Decide on which part of your business needs the most attention and choose a consultant who specializes in that area.
Outsource tedious tasks
Time is an entrepreneur’s most valuable asset. Spending it on tasks like bookkeeping, tax preparation, and business analytics takes you away from building and generating revenue for your small business. Sometimes it’s smarter to keep doing the things you’re good at—and outsource the rest.
Helpful outsourcing resources:
- What is Outsourced Accounting and How Could It Help You?
- How to Outsource Your Bookkeeping
- Free Guide: The First Things to Outsource When Growing Your Business
How Bench can help
Finding it difficult to grow your small business and stay on top of day-to-day admin tasks like bookkeeping and tax filing? Bench can help.
With a Bench subscription, you get access to a dedicated team of bookkeepers, powerful software, and tax support on demand—so it’s easy to stay on top of your finances and get actionable insights to help grow your business.
Plus, if you’re not quite ready to bring in a business coach, we have experts on hand, ready to answer all of your questions and give you small business advice at no additional cost. Learn more.