Many small business owners didn’t study finance or management before launching their own businesses — and it can be a struggle to piece together all the information and tools needed to create a successful business. Luckily, you can hire a small business coach for help with business guidance and direction.
Learn what a small business coach is, whether it’s the right step for you, and how to find the best business coach in this Nav article.
What Is a Small Business Coach?
A small business coach is like a life coach and mentor for all things related to running your business. Many business coaches bring years of experience running their own small businesses to the table, so they are proficient in brainstorming business strategy. With most business coaching options, you’ll define your specific business goals and have one-on-one coaching sessions on how to reach them.
For many small business owners, running a business is an emotional experience as well as a financial one. A business coaching service can act as your sounding board for personal issues related to the business and help you identify your blind spots. Additionally, they can help you with strategic planning and with creating an action plan to overcome those hurdles. A small business coach can also act as your accountability partner, helping you follow through with the plan after it has been created. You can also lean on a small business coach for guidance on improving your leadership skills.
Business coaches are an investment, so make sure you research your options to find the one that will be right for your coaching needs, as well as your budget.
What Should I Look for in a Small Business Coach?
A good business coach for you depends on what your business needs. Look for the business coaching services you need and that you can afford. With any small business coach, you’ll get a baseline of motivation and a boost in confidence to run your business effectively. If you’re looking for a coach for assistance with putting systems into place for things like taxes, accounting,and payroll, you can find that as well.
You can also find a coach that offers a deeper dive into your business by giving guidance on finding and nurturing the right staff, maintaining positive client relationships, or acquiring leads. Look for a coaching program that specializes in a business like yours — whether you’re a solo act or you have 50 employees — so they can tailor their coaching to your situation. You can also look for a business coach for startups if you’re a new business.
Ask for testimonials from the coaches you’re considering to make sure that the training has been useful for others.
When Should I Hire a Small Business Coach?
Business leaders can hire a small business coach whenever the time is right for them, and when you bring on a business coach depends on your specific situation. Bringing in a coach with business know-how early on can be especially helpful if you have limited business experience. Small business coaching can provide professional insights from the launch of a new business: Learn how to establish business credit, update a business plan, or ramp up for business growth and reach the next level.
Or you can hire a coach later on as you’re looking to increase profitability. You could also seek advice about improving your management skills through executive coaching after your business has taken off.
Before you hire a small business coach, look at the current state of your business and decide on a few areas where you could use help to improve. Having goals in mind when you go into the coaching sessions can make them more productive. Even if you can’t point to your exact roadblocks, it’s best to know in general terms what you’re having a hard time with so you can get the most out of your coaching.
Alternatives to a Small Business Coach
Although business coaching offers many benefits, it may not be the right choice for you. Maybe the price isn’t right or you only need help with a single aspect of your business rather than the entire operation. Here are the top alternatives to hiring a small business coach.
Consultant with specializations
If you only need help with one area of your business — like marketing, management, or sales — it may make more sense to hire a consultant that specializes in that aspect of business. It can save money to hire a consultant for a specific purpose rather than a business coach that aims to give you guidance on your overall business. Plus, hiring a specialist means you’ll likely get the most current advice available since they are experts in their field.
Sales business coach
If you need help increasing your revenue, a sales coach (or sales consultant) looks at the big picture of your business’s sales strategy. An entrepreneur sales coach will identify issues and work with your sales team to provide training and coaching sessions. This training helps the sales team improve customer service interactions, pitch new products, or make cold calls.
Business financing coach
If you need help managing your business’s money, you could bring on a business finance coach. This kind of coach can help you assess your business’s finances, like your cash flow, revenue, and expenses, as well as create a plan to meet your profit goals. Getting your finances in good shape also makes it easier to get small business loans and business credit cards.
If you don’t have the capacity to hire a consultant, you can use financial software. Signing up for business software can save you money and organize your business’s finances to let you reach goals with confidence. With Nav, you can find the right accounting software, payroll service, or tax software quickly.
A small business coach helps you create a roadmap to improve your bottom line and ensure business success.If you need advice on several aspects of your business and haven’t been able to find the answers you need, you would likely benefit from business coaching sessions. The one-on-one aspect of small business coaching can make it well worth the cost. On the other hand, a business consultant can help you with one or two particular goals and possibly save you money.
This article was originally written on March 30, 2023.