“Being your own boss is great! You get to choose which 18 hours of the day you want to work” – Unknown
How many business owners do you know? Are they sitting on a beach collecting mailbox money, or are they doing the grind day in and day out inside their business? Odds are it is the latter. I’ve been there. It’s the happy struggle most entrenpreneurs gladly accept for the promise of future rewards although often misunderstood from those on the outside. Those closest to them don’t understand and even more so don’t know how to help them succeed. However, you don’t have to be a business genius to look at every other example of excellence in the world to understand one of the most important factors to take someone to the top of their game…a coach. Business is no different. But there are a lot of reasons why business owners don’t have a coach.
Entrepreneurs Buck the System
As entrepreneurs, a critical component in the wiring of their brains is that they tend to “go against the grain.” This mindset allows them to risk what most individuals won’t, don’t or can’t. It is the single greatest character trait of an entrepreneur. Some might call it stubborn, I’d call it grit.
As the constant tinkerer and trail blazer, many entrepreneurs also have a strong distaste for being told what to do. In fact, for a great deal of folks, it was the primary reason for starting a business. Take control and put themselves in a place so that they would never be told what to do again. This tenacity allows them to get through the struggles of starting a business.
Understanding the entrepreneurial mindset, it becomes obvious why the notion of a coach seems unnecessary, if not outright preposterous. Unfortunately, a business is a fickle thing. Too much tinkering and modifications can quickly turn the profit meter south. Such transitions often happen before anyone sees it coming.
How to Help:
Given this tendency of business owners to walk a different path actually makes it MORE imperative to have a coach. Most businesses succeed when there is some points of tension in how to run the business. Everyone needs to be led, and everyone needs to be kept in check from time to time. A good business coach can provide guidance for the most important role in the business, the owner. A coach can provide the right balance as the owner leads and grows the business. Thus avoiding the entrepreneurial tendency to constantly scrap and start fresh. With the help of a strong coach, a successful business can continue to innovate while keeping the right parts intact.
The Return on Investment isn’t Clear
Why doesn’t everyone use a personal trainer, a financial advisor, or a business coach? Because the return on investment isn’t always clear and tangible to make the commitment. Using the personal trainer analogy…I can go to the gym myself, use the same equipment, buy some of the same supplements. Why pay the fee when I can just do it all myself?
The decision would certainly be easier if everyone using a personal trainer looked like the next Mr. or Miss Fitness USA. Or every financial client was a millionaire. And every business owner was sitting on a beach sipping labadoozees collecting large paychecks. Even if the case studies existed, there is still likely to be a disconnect on how I, me, or you would be able to achieve the same results. Someone my say to themselves “my body is different, my financial situation is more complex, and certainly my business just isn’t the same.
Viewed as a pure expense, most coaches probably don’t fall in line with the word “cheap.” This makes it very difficult to pull the trigger, especially if finances are already a little strapped. From a business owner’s perspective it could be viewed as the expense that takes them to the top, or takes them under.
For many business owners, it’s hard to equate coaching to tangible, successful results. So where is the payoff?
How to Help:
The real question is not about the cost but about the value related to where the business is currently at. Costs are hard to justify, value is another story. For a business to succeed it must make investments. Investment in people, equipment, marketing, etc. Good investments deliver value, not sunk expenses. Most people wouldn’t invest in a mutual fund that only had expenses and no return. Engaging the services of a good coach is an investment in the owner and the success of the business. A coach can provide both short term hits and long term home runs. Once they have a firm understanding of the business, I’m confident that a good coach could earn back their cost in just a few hours.
What is a business coach???
The typical business owner is constantly bombarded by sales people offering their services to help grow the business. 300% growth in leads! Double your profits! Don’t fail because you aren’t e-mail marketing like the pros! The list of maniacal vendors trying to beat down the door never ends.
So who should a business owner trust? A business coach is a rare profession that rarely gets a mention. There is no marketing machine of a coaching business promoting their services. For most business owners, it’s not even a profession that is on the radar. Even if an owner is aware, it is hard not to lump coaching services with all the other vendor sharks nipping at their heels. Without a personal reference how do you know if they are good or bad? When faced with the unknown, the default answer is no 99% of the time.
How to Help:
What is most important is for a business owner to know they need help. While there may not be one on every corner, there are great coaches and consultants in the marketplace. Unfortunately, they likely have to be sought out. While believing a coach is indeed half the battle, the other half is finding one. To help get the process started, here are a few questions to separate the good, bad, and ugly.
- How long have they been coaching? It’s a tough business, if they have been at it a while, odds are they are good at it.
- What are their qualifications? Stated or fact?
- Do you have any common connections that can vouch for them? This is one of the reasons I love Linkedin. It can tell you this in 2 seconds.
You Don’t Think there is a Problem to Solve
Sometimes as business owners, we just can’t see the forest through the trees. If business is a game of knowledge, there are a million things we aren’t aware that we don’t know. Many business owners just focus on more leads and more production. Eventually hoping enough effort in both arenas will equate to a successful, profitable business. There could be one single giant problem in the business or 1000 small ones. Unfortunately, they might never see the real problems without an outside perspective because they’re not even looking.
How to Help:
If a business owner doesn’t think they could benefit from a coach then the reality is that they probably need it the most. I have never come across a business that had it’s ducks in a row so tight that it couldn’t benefit from any further assitance or guidance. Maybe the business isn’t having any grave problems. But a good coach doesn’t just fix problems, they help discover and foster opportunities. Making a list of all the problems and un-realized opportunities in the business can go a long way. Imagine what it would look like if they were all fixed. Now, understand that they may never get there (or else they already would have) if they don’t seek out some form of coaching or mentorship.
Can’t Find the Time
The one thing a business owner can never find enough of is…Time. And the last thing they want to do is spend more time on something they can’t see the value in and won’t solve any immediate problems. The time to find a coach and the time to work with a coach all seem like distractions. If they spent more and more time trying to solve their problems, the prevailing thought is that they would’t have any. In all reality, it’s very possible they are working on solving the wrong ones.
How to Help:
The reality is that a business coach is an investment. They are probably going to ask the owner to put in even more work and time, but that work will save them a millennia of time on the back side. A coach helps the owner focus and solve the root causes of problems. Therefore they can spend less time putting out fires and more time implementing things that prevent fires within the business. It’s a golden goose type of scenario where if you start to feed and take care of the goose, it will produce more golden eggs than ever.
Share this with a business owner(s) you know that might be able to use some help. It could make a big difference in their life.
Thanks for reading,