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3 Important Questions to Ask if You're Considering a Small Business Coach

By Sean M. Hugo, CPA

Business advice is often difficult to come by, but incredibly necessary for long-term success. For family-owned businesses, as well as small business owners, it is extremely important to have someone to work with to grow your business as well as having a source for business mentoring.  A good business coach will be to provide small business consulting and give you advice on how business do's and don'ts that will help drive success.  

Maintaining longevity is key for any small business, especially if there are plans for succeeding your business, or passing on your business to family.

There needs to be a legacy in place that future generations can easily step into and help shape as the business continues to grow.   When considering small business coaches, it is essential that you have questions ready for them.

Many have different small business consulting expertise, and it is good to determine what their niche areas are and what they have had the most success in. While in this process, here are 3 key questions to ask if you are considering a small business coach

 

1. Who are your current advisors?

The first step is to evaluate who you have surrounded yourself with, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. For example, have you surrounded yourself with experts that can help you in your business? An accountant or CFO? A marketer? A friend?

It is important to note that there are delineations between the advice friends and family offer you versus advisors. Granted, they are both valuable - but each in their own way. Often, family & friends will likely tell you what you want to hear but not what you need to hear.

This is most likely because they do not want to hurt or upset you, or because they simply don't have expertise in the area. But nonetheless, you are the one left without the right advice. For example, you could present ideas such as logo designs and they might tell you, "it's a great logo!" but not realizing or conveying that it doesn't suit your target audience.

2. Can you find everything you are looking for in one person?

The answer to this is most likely no. While there are always outliers, such entrepreneurs out there who have "done it all" and have a good background to advise you but it will also cost more to have that advice. If it is likely out of your budget if you're a small business owner, then perhaps it is better to have a team rather than rely on a singular person.

As the saying goes, jack of all trades, master of none... does that ring a bell? The best way to avoid that is to find and build a team of specialized people who can give you advice that is tailored to help you succeed - and the results to back it up.

3. What stage in the business cycle is your business living?

When thinking about this question, an important resource to keep in mind can be found here It might be confusing to think about your business as cyclical, or perhaps you may not want to dwell too much on long-term thinking.

But ultimately, a small business coach will only be to help as much as you are able to provide them the right information so they can understand your business. Communicating effectively where you think your business currently is, and what its future needs may be is imperative. 

Think of it this way: You need a coat in the winter and shorts in the summer. Just like your clothing, your business also has different needs for different seasons. In order to have a small business coach effectively mentor and guide you, consider your business cycle stage before you select an advisor. That will make a difference in selection and overall strategy and thought process.

Having a small business coach is the first step towards building a business that will be sustainable, while still providing opportunities for growth. Having the two combined is certainly difficult, but not impossible.

Small business accountants such as our firm have the right expertise to guide small businesses and help them be as successful as possible by leveraging the right resources. Please contact us to learn more.