Mentors and coaches (the experienced ones) have been in your place before and know all about business. Myself, I ran (and grew) a string of businesses for 15 years before I told them. I’ve personally experienced the challenges, pains, frustrations … as well, of course, the wins, triumphs and victories. An experienced coach will have the knowledge, skills and experience to know what will work best for your business and under which circumstances.
If you are running a start-up, then it’s exceedingly sensible to consider hiring a business coach for your business. You may not be fully aware of how businesses work or how it is perfectly set up or know how to deal with the challenges which will come up. I have found, unfortunately, that brand new start-ups rarely put on a coach first up. Often they will bundle along, struggle and then usually 1-2 years in, acknowledge they need help. It would be so much wiser to get that help from day one, but often they need to feel some of the pain first, before recognising it’s time to put their hand up for help.
There are many reasons that make having a business mentor extremely important:
1. Gain hands-on experience
Experience is extremely important when it comes to handling a business. Experience can help you gain success in your business in all aspects. Mentorship from someone experienced in your field is one of the best ways to gain experience from others. It helps us look at how we can handle situations, in perhaps a better way, from another person’s point of view. Whilst reading is great, coaching adds the added benefit of being able to custom the advice to your specific business, circumstances and skills. Your coach can help you with so many aspects of business, from assisting you with financial improvement and analysis through to marketing strategies, systems, improving your sales process or getting more out of your team. Each coach may have a different approach – some coaches only ask questions and guide, others are very hands on and will do things for their clients. I’m a little bit of both – guiding and helping. My objective is to guide and teach clients so that long-term they learn to be self-sufficient.
2. Success comes in easily
Research shows that companies that were once start-ups with mentors or coaches have outdone the ones without mentors or coaches. We can greatly affect the way business owners run their business. A coach gives more opportunities to think out of the box and come up with more creative solutions to problems or situations that may arise in the workplace. In a research done by Sage, “93 percent of start-ups admit that mentorship is instrumental to success”. Having the right mentor or coach typically means choosing a person who has dealt with a business similar to yours in the past. Taking into consideration the timely advice, valuable connections, checks along with the moral support from your mentor will eventually be your stepping stone to success. Might I mention, that was the title of my first book ‘Stepping Stones to Business Success’. My sixth is ‘No Stone Unturned’ … all books are geared around business tips and advice.
3. Networking opportunities
Having a mentor will open up many networking opportunities for your business. Your mentor will have connections with people from within the same (or related) industries who can benefit from your business. Your mentor can help you benefit by referring your business to their connections. This is one of the many opportunities that you might be challenged to tap unless you have a mentor.
4. Gain reassurance
Gaining mentorship can greatly help you in terms of your emotions. Research shows that receiving mentorship has had a powerful positive effect on business owners. Having someone who has your back when you need them and is always there to guide you through every step of your business can help you a great deal. Having a high self-confidence is important for any business owner or entrepreneur. Having high self-confidence has shown positive results in the careers of the entrepreneurs. Mentors can help you build your self-confidence and make sure you perceive every challenge as an opportunity to do much better and learn from the experience. I know over the years I’ve worked with many owners who didn’t believe they could sell or didn’t deserve to succeed or felt they (or their business) wasn’t worth what they needed to ask money wise. Self-doubt leads to self-sabotage and before you know it … you are one of those ‘fail’ statistics.
5. Helps you stay in business longer
Coaches are known to help you stay in your business for a long-term, meaning increasing the longevity of your business. Mentored businesses are mostly known to survive longer than 5 years. This is what makes having a coach or mentor so very important. Also, when you are ready to exit, it will be part of a strategy and for a decent dollar; not just letting your business wind down and die a slow and sad death.
6. Help you develop a stronger EQ
Emotional intelligence is crucial for the growth of entrepreneurs when it comes to running a business. Having a mentor who is mature can greatly impact the way the business is run. Entrepreneurs have greater control over their emotions when they have a successful mentor. A quick way to fail a business would be by bringing in your emotions. Making crucial decisions based on emotional feelings can be damaging to the reputation of the company. Only the other day I was talking to a client who wanted to chase a very small debt – purely based on anger and emotion – not because it was a fiscally smart move to make. Once I pointed out the costs (time, money and angst) we decided to write that one off BUT we did also put in place some new measures to avoid that situation in future.
7. Gain encouragement
A business falls and rises many times. During the tough times, people like the mentors who have a good understanding of the business can provide you emotional support and encouragement like no other. Remember above, I said I’ve experienced it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. Dealing with minor depression (feeling disheartened, discourages or flat) when you are not able to meet the goals you set up for your company is extremely normal. But you don’t need to deal with it alone – your coach or mentor is there for you. An experienced coach will also know when that ‘blue’ feeling has moved to something more serious and will know when to refer you to an expert. An experienced business coach who has seen both the highs and lows of a business can be of great support to you as a business owner. They advise you to take the right decisions depending on the situation. They are also always available to help you “navigate your way to success” and not make ‘knee-jerk’ reactions which come from panic, emotion or lack of experience.
Most coaches and mentors who have been around awhile have lots of resources (from Business Plan templates to budget templates) so they can help you access things easily. If they don’t have something, I’ll bet they know someone who does or can send you in the right direction. Remember time is money, so the more time you can save with efficiencies, the more time you can spend on growing your business and increasing your profits.
This is a big one I know many people come to me with. Because I (mostly) check in with clients every week – clients need to take action every week. We both know (in advance) what that action needs to be and I’m diligent at following up with clients to ensure that action occurred. I have numerous processes for ensuring action happens, keeping clients on task, staying focussed and ensuring they do what they have agreed they will do. Many clients after a few months will say to me they have achieved so much … purely because I was “on their case” and they had to check in with me and account to me their actions (or lack thereof). I really do believe accountability is under-valued when it comes to business success and growth.
Thus, these are just a few of the reasons among many others as to why business coaches can prove to be extremely important for business owners, especially entrepreneurs. Experienced coaches can provide a lot of benefits to entrepreneurs that can greatly help them in the long run and benefit their business in ways they would’ve never even imagined!
P.S. Check out my books here.