Monthly Archives: November 2017

Five Things Not to Expect From Business

There are many articles out there that discuss how to discover a business coach. These articles describe where to find a coach and how to determine which ones are right for you. The articles also tell you what you can expect. Yet there are few that tell you want not to expect, until now.

Selecting a business coach is a personal decision that is going to take a financial investment and a time commitment from you and/or your team. Like all investments and commitments there are realistic expectations and not so realistic expectations. Moreover there are just some things a business coach cannot deliver for you. So it is important that you know what not to expect so that you can focus on maximizing your results.

Here are five things not to expect from a business coach:

Do not expect your coach to know everything. Each business, entrepreneur, and executive faces unique challenges to their business. A coach has to learn first what has gone right in the past and what has gone wrong. With that knowledge a coach can determine what action plan will work best to put you on the path to success. That does not mean the coach will pull perfection out of their hats or peer into their crystal ball divining the future. There will always be unknowns and there are just some areas coaches do not have experience in. No one can know everything, even coaches. In fact if a coach says that they do… run!

Do not expect an expensive investment. Business coaching is an affordable solution that costs less than hiring a consultant and much less than therapy. There are two reasons why this is the case. First, a relationship with a business coach is built around a specific time frame and for a specific problem. Your coach is not going to keep you engaged for an infinite amount of time. So you do not have to worry about your coach “living” with you. Second, your coach is there to provide solutions to the problems you have and not force a cookie-cutter solution or “discover” new problems. Your investment costs in a business coach can be predicted and are not never ending. Data from a recent study conducted by the International Coaching Federation shows that the average coaching engagement is under $5,000 and last approximately under seven months.

Do not expect an out-of-the-box approach. This does not mean a business coach does not have a method or an underlying fundamental skill set they will use to build your success. A coach that cannot articulate clearly their methodology should not be hired. At the same time a coach that applies the same “insert problem in slot A and get solution from slot B” should be avoided at all costs. Yes, there are common problems in all companies, but that does not mean your experience is the same as your competitors or the shop on the corner. Take for instance the recession. It is having an impact on businesses across the country and the world. Yet, how it effects the software industry is different from how it effects the manufacturing industry. A coach understands this and applies the tools necessary to help you solve your unique problems.

Do not expect your coach do it all for you. You have to execute the agreed upon action plans you and your business coach devise to place you on your path of success. Coaches build the conditioning and instill the fundamental skills in you so that you can rise to the occasion. Like in sports where coaches do not take the field of play, a business coach is not going to run your business, lead your teams, or perform sales for you. That is your role.

Do not expect to a “yes-man.” A business coach is there to be an objective observer of your business and to hold you to the highest standards. A business coach will challenge the conventional wisdom. A business coach will ask you the tough questions. All of this is for your benefit, the benefit of your team, and a critical part to reaching your dreams. You can only grow by being challenged. You can only learn how tough you are by be being pushed. You will only learn your blind spots when you are placed in a different situation. It is an essential part of life, just as it is an essential part of any business success.

A business coaching relationship is a rewarding one. Every great captain of industry had a mentor, a teacher, a coach that helped them along their journey. Knowing what to expect and what not to expect makes coaching stronger for both the coach and the coached.

Home Based Business Coaching

Joining a coaching club may be the one of the most important things you can do for success in your Internet home based business. The Internet is changing at a pace faster than you think. Do you, as a on line home based business owner, belong to an Internet business coaching club? It is imperative that you have one place you can go for advice, inspiration, leadership, networking, team building and training. Even coaches belong to coaching clubs. This one step may take your on line home business to the next level.

There are seven steps to finding an exceptional Internet home based business coaching club:

* The leader or coach in the club has to be extremely familiar with Internet home based businesses

* The coach must be successful both in relationships at home and with his business.

* Make sure the coach of the club is well respected by his peers.

* You must also resonate with and trust the leader or coach of the club.

* The content taught in the club must pertain to and benefit your type business or you must be able to apply the techniques to your particular niche.

* You must have an option to join this club on a monthly or quarterly basis and it would benefit you to have the option of being an affiliate to the club.

* The coaching club should maintain quarterly meetings to establish networking and more detailed training pertinent to your Internet home business including some type of team building activity.

The coach of the club must have experience and knowledge in the on line home based business arena. Coaches must provide or teach quality Internet business techniques. Exceptional coaches share their heart to heart failures and successes, offer lifestyle changing techniques and they love what they do. They are on fire and work hard to teach you how to be productive.

The person who calls himself the leader in a coaching club must have very good relationships with significant others and with business relationships. If he cannot run his own household or business he will offer little to a club. Most exceptional coaches include their family and friends in their businesses and their clubs. An excellent leader has nothing to hide and will have team building activities which include family, friends and employees. A true coach treats everyone with respect, and that includes himself.

Most extremely good coaches hire their own peers to add content, interest, training and provide value and enrich their club. It is impossible for one person to know everything about everything on the Internet. It is easy to find out on the Internet the quality of a coaching club or the leader. Bad words spread like wildfire on the Internet. Just Google their name or the name of their club. Make sure the coach of the club is in for the long term commitment. Check for testimonials and follow your instincts.

If you do not like the coach then do not join the club. There is no sense joining the club if all you want to do is argue or demean the leader. The leader must be in alignment with your beliefs and values or your wasting your time and money. Coaching clubs are meant to be educational, personal and all about building quality relationships. Personalities do clash so make sure you respect and honor the coach of your choice.

It is important to make sure that the content or value presented is beneficial to your type of business. Some clubs are generic and benefit many types of businesses. Quality Internet business coaching clubs could include such things as content creation, direct response, keyword discovery, list building, optimization, phone skills, setting up your funnel, social media training, web domination and other traffic strategies. New content should be added regularly. Do not waste money on a name only. Make sure the personally branded coach provides content, enjoyment, networking, team building and web type seminars to help “keep you in the loop”.

Do not join a coaching club membership that you cannot cancel if you find it does not offer value and is not pertinent to your type of business. Many clubs offer a time trial period for your benefit and enjoyment before you join. Some offer affiliate programs that may help with your business and coaching expenses. Do not sign a contract. Just be sure that the club membership can be canceled at any time.

Lastly, a coaching club should offer quarterly meetings with significant amount of networking, personal development and team building to help sustain and grow your business. If your present club is not providing quarterly meetings and networking, then find some other club that can help you make your business succeed. Also, make sure you attend the live events. Live team building coaching events build friendships, change your mindset, create new ideas and give you a chance to take a break away from home.

The Internet changes directives on a weekly basis just like “Corporate America”. Google slaps and denies consistently for no reason. New on line programs are created frequently. Some training sites change or become obsolete. Again, make sure you resonate with a well liked and respected coach. Join a coaching club rich in content for your personal development, marketing, networking, and training. Be sure to attend the meetings and team events on a regular basis to increase your knowledge and potential. Try a club that has an affiliate program to help with expenses. Joining the right on line business coaching club is an investment in an education that can increase the success of your Internet home based business.

Why You Want to Partner With A Small Business

According to The National Federation of Independent Business [NFIB] Education Foundation, over the lifetime of any small business, 30 percent will lose money, 30 percent will break even, and just fewer than 40 percent will be profitable. The Small Business Administration [SBA] reports that 50 percent of all small business fail after their first year, 33 percent fail after two years, and nearly 60 percent fail after four years. Reasons for failure cited by the SBA include: limited vision, over expansion, poor capital structure, over spending, lack of reserve funds or too little Free Cash Flow, failure to adjust to market changes, underestimating competition, poor business execution, poor business location, failure to establish company goals, poor market segmentation and strategy, poor knowledge of the competition, no management systems, over dependence on specific individuals, and/or focusing on the technical aspects more than the strategic aspects of the business, and an inadequate business plan.

Developing and growing a small business enterprise, either from a new venture or as an existing one, is difficult in a bull market, where the economy is growing. The difficulty factor is there none the less. However, in a down economy, in a recession, where the risk of business failure is magnified several times, the difficulty factor is increased by a significant magnitude. Entrepreneurs and small business enterprises find themselves working in their business as opposed to working on their business. That is, when times are tough, the small business owner feels compelled to spend all his or her time on operations just trying to keep the boat afloat, while putting off where the boat may be going. It is particularly critical in a recessionary economic cycle to spend as much time as possible on the direction of your boat, as it is on operations. If the vision is lost or clouded, it won’t really matter how hard you try to keep things afloat, at some point you may well run aground because you were not watching where you were going. Having an extra pair of eyes to help stir your ship and keep you in the right direction is critical to not only maintaining your business, but helping you to grow it. And as the principal in your small business, this is where you want to position yourself; at the helm stirring your enterprise in the direction of your vision.

Successful athletes typically hire a coach to help them achieve success. Certainly this is the case in professional golf. It is the case in the world of professional cycling. And it is the case in professional team sports, such as baseball. For the entrepreneur and small business enterprise, having a coach, advisor, on the sidelines as well as in the game, to provide critical objective guidance to help them attain their business objectives can be the difference in achieving real success. As a small business enterprise, you want to be in the category of a ‘small business growth’ company, positioned for IPO, acquisition, merger or growing into a medium-sized company. A Business Coach and Advisor will work with you to help avoid becoming an SBA or NFIB Education Foundation statistic on their list of small business failures. From time to time we all need outside guidance, counsel, mentoring and advice. A Business Coach/Advisor will actually help you to become a success story. The benefits of partnering with a Business Coach/Advisory far outweigh the costs. Five critical benefits of partnering with a Business Coach/Advisor include, but are not limited, to the following:

  1. Accountability. A Business Coach /Advisor will help you to maintain focus on driving your business forward, and helping you to work through the temptation to work in your business and not on your business. A good Business Coach/Advisor will insist on holding you accountable for achieving your goals and objectives, and work with you to delegate operation tasks that need to be performed by key personal, and guiding you towards providing the strategic vision your business needs to grow. Your Business Coach, acting in an Advisory capacity will work with you to develop or refine strategic short- and long term goals and then hold you accountable to achieve them. You want your coach to be tough, yet personable having the capacity to understand your business and where it is you want to take it. There job is to help you formulate that and to get you positioned to attain it.
  2. Formulating Strategic Goals, Ideas, Objectives. A Business Coach/Advisor will work with you to develop and refine your goals, ideas and objectives. A combination of coaching and advising is necessary here, and your Coach has the acquired expertise and experience to work through these with you and knows how to adapt them to your business.
  3. Contributing Business Growth Strategies. A good Business Coach/Advisory will have the ability to share and communicate their experience and expertise in developing business growth strategies. Remember, no one has all the answers. No one. Not a coach or a business executive. Sharing ideas are critical. Thinking out of the box is essential. So, when you’ve just “run out of ideas” on how to market and sell your products and services, your Coach will work with you, as a partner, to develop and then implement the business growth strategy or strategies that are specific to your company and market to meet your growth objectives. To be most effective, weekly communication with your Coach will keep you on track.
  4. Resources. When it is needed, your Business Coach/Advisor will provide referrals to contacts or resources for your business, such as expansion capital, legal and accounting services, social media marketing, technologies, and other resources that are relevant to helping you meet your goals and objectives. My view here is that it is incumbent on a business coach and advisory to have a teaming or partnering viewpoint, and it is essential for them to do so for the benefit of you, the small business owner.
  5. Objectivity. A Business Coach/Advisor provides you with the necessary objectivity to see your business as it really is. This is essential for an honest assessment of where your business is in its life cycle. When you get used to the same processes and procedures, tasks, basic routine, you lose the ability to see your business with the same objective clarity that you once did. Your Business Coach provides you with a double perspective; looking into your business from the customer perspective, and looking out at the customer from your perspective. And then provide you with feedback about what works, what doesn’t and what your options are. To be effective, weekly communication with your Coach will keep you on track.

Partnering with a Business Coach/Advisor should be on a retainer basis for three to nine months, preferably six months. It will normally take a good Business Coach/Advisor two months, sixty days, at least to become fully knowledgeable about your business, its practices, your strengths, weakness, your vision, and your objectives. Then another month to begin working with you to arrive at your business objectives. While three months is the minimum time needed for a good Business Coach/Advisor to begin making a difference under a single retainer agreement, nine months is the maximum under a single retainer agreement, where six months is the optimal. During a six month retainer, a Business Coach/Advisor should be able to meet all goals and place in to practice the critical elements that a small business needs to attain strategic objectives. Typically, once a small business has partnered with a Business Coach/Advisor, they retain them continuously, or as needed.

In today’s troubled economic climate, the use of a Business Coach/Advisor makes strong financial sense. While you might feel you can go it alone, the resulting cost may far outweigh what it would be had you partnered with a Business Coach/Advisor when needed. It’s sort of like the old TV commercial about changing your oil, you can either do it now at the cost of an oil change, or wait until your engine blows and pay the cost then. Waiting will certainly cost you infinitely more. If you are facing a limited vision, over expansion, poor capital structure, over spending, lack of reserve funds or too little Free Cash Flow, failure to adjust to market changes, underestimating competition, poor business execution, poor business location, failure to establish company goals, poor market segmentation and strategy, poor knowledge of the competition, no management systems, over dependence on specific individuals, focusing on the technical aspects more than the strategic aspects of the business, or simply need help in growing your business, then partnering with a Business Coach/Advisor makes good financial sense.

Hiring and Working With a Small Business

We’ve all met highly successful people who just seem to have it all together. They have a great business, manage to spend time with their families, and even get a vacation (or two) every year. What makes them different from you? Why is their business booming, while yours feels like a struggle? How do they manage to get so much done so efficiently?

The answer, nine times out of ten, is that they have help. I don’t mean they outsource their work (although they may). What I mean is they have help staying focused, on target, and clearly envisioning their goals and the path to achieve them.

In short, they have a coach.

Just like your high-school track team had a coach to help them run better, faster, and more efficiently, a business coach helps entrepreneurs improve their workflow, market more effectively, and build a stronger business.

Why does this method work?

First, we place a much higher value on that which we pay for. If you’re paying a coach, you’ll be more inclined to listen to – and carry out – his or her instructions. Not only that, but because your coach is generally someone you admire, but not necessarily your friend, you’re less likely to want to disappoint her with your lack of action.

Finally, your coach has more knowledge than you do, and is able to see clearly where you need to take action. Left on your own, you might spend months or years with the trial and error method, just to arrive at the same place a well-trained coach can help you achieve in a short time.

Think you’re ready to hire a business coach? Read on and I’ll let you know what you need to do before you even consider it.

Hiring a business coach is often the turning point for entrepreneurs. It’s at this point that many of them finally begin to develop the business they’ve always envisioned, but could never quite reach. Their income goes up, their efficiency improves, and their stress levels decrease.

But if you want to make the most out of your coaching relationship, there are a few things you need to take care of first, because proper planning is the key to your future success.

Choose a coach whose style you like. Just because a particular coach comes highly recommended doesn’t mean he’s a good fit for everyone. If your personalities clash, your relationship will be strained, and you’ll only wind up feeling more stressed and resentful of your time together.

Next, make sure you enter into any coaching relationship with a clear goal. It would be nice to be able to hand a messy box of ideas and half-formed thoughts to your coach and let him sort it out, but that’s not a very good use of his time (or your money).

Better for you to have an end point in sight. You might not know how to get there, but if you can see the goal, your coach will be much better able to help you achieve it.

Working with a business coach may very well be the best thing that ever happened to your business. Just make sure you take the time and lay a good foundation before you move ahead. You’ll be much better prepared if you do.

There are as many styles of coaching as there are coaches, so it’s important to find one that clicks. And as with any service professional, perhaps the best way to do that is to try them out.

Much as you might schedule an initial consolation with a doctor or a lawyer to get a feel for how he or she works, you can do the same with a coach. Most offer free consultations where you can get to know one another, ask a few questions about goals and how the coach helps his clients to achieve them, and maybe what his experience is in your niche.

Take advantage of this time, because it’s the best way to really get to know your coach before spending any money.

Of course, before you can schedule a consultation, you need to put together a list of possibilities. Simply Googling business coach might give you a list of thousands to choose from, but how do you pick the right ones?

One way is to ask your colleagues, much as you’d ask for referrals when looking for a real estate agent or a babysitter for your kids. Be sure to ask entrepreneurs with similar size businesses and in similar markets to get the best response.

Finally, don’t be afraid to admit when someone just isn’t right for you. Not everyone will see your vision, and not all personalities match, so if after your initial consolation you don’t feel comfortable, say so. Simply let him know that while you think he’s probably a great coach, you don’t think he’s right for you.

What to expect from your first session

So far we’ve talked about what business coaches do and how we can help you focus on a goal and achieve greater success in your business, how to find the right coach for you, and how to prepare for your first coaching session.

Now let’s take a look at that very first session from both points of view, so you can go into it knowing exactly what to expect.

While you’d probably like to jump right in and start making lists and bouncing ideas around, your first coaching session will likely be a little more subdued than that.

First, your new coach will need to learn about your business model, who your market is, and how you serve them. He’ll probably want to look at your website, ask you questions about how your business has grown, and where you see it going in the future.

You will have a slightly different agenda. You should be listening carefully to what your coach says so you can get a feel for how knowledgable he is about your business model and target market, what his experience is – both in business and as a coach, and if his ethics and morals are in line with your own.

It simply makes no sense to partner with a coach who advocates a particular system or technique if you find it to be distasteful or it goes against your core beliefs.

Finally, you and your coach should work out a plan for how the coaching will progress. There should be a schedule that works for both of you, and you should be left with an assignment of sorts to complete before you meet again.

The most important aspect of any coaching relationship is the effort you put into it.

So many people make the mistake of thinking that simply hiring a coach will solve all their problems. It’s rather like those people who wish for a magic pill to help them lose weight. As much as we want an easy way out, they just don’t exist. You truly get out of it exactly what you put in.

For example, your coach will likely help you identify areas that need work, or projects you need to tackle to move your business forward.

He might advise you to blog more frequently, modernize your website, or remove an unflattering picture.

It should go without saying that whatever tasks he recommends should become a priority on your to-do list. It makes no sense to pay a coach if you’re not going to follow through, and will only end up frustrating both of you.

Remember, too, that no one – including your coach – is infallible. Do not just follow blindly along with each and every suggestion. If you don’t agree with an idea or a direction he recommends, then you should discuss it. After all, you still know your business and yourself better than anyone, so if you have sound reasons for rejecting a plan, you should listen to your own advice.

Finally, make sure you take notes during your sessions. If possible, consider recording each call so you can refer back to it later or even have it transcribed. You never know when something that was mentioned only in passing will spark an idea worthy of pursuing. Plus, going back to reread your notes or listen to a recording again just before your next meeting will help refresh your memory without wasting time once you’re on the line with your coach.