Business Coaching and Consultants - Why and Who You Should Use, and How to Become One ?
Owning a small business can be extremely rewarding and is seemingly a goal for many Australians. Owning a business has its benefits, but it can also be draining and stressful for business owners, especially in a downturn of sales/profits. But where can small business owners go to get advice on improving or structuring their business? Apart from the internet and online research there is no specific source that business owners can reach out to for tailored advice for their current situation. This is where business coaches come in handy. A business coach can be very beneficial to a business; they provide a third party outlook on the business and then provide methods of actions the business can undertake to improve their current situation.
The business coaching industry is unregulated by any one Australian industry body; and is overflowing with people who claim to know how to rescue failing businesses, guarantee success and even make a six-figure profit for the company. Some may be telling the truth but some are not. These are referred to as ‘Rogues’, and thorough research when looking for a business coach is advised. The first step you can take when searching for a business coach is to look for reputable business coach franchisors. These companies provide services for aspiring business coaches to create a clientele list and provide contacts for support while coaching. The franchisors also provide prospective clients with lists of possible coaches for their businesses.
2 very good examples include Brian Tracy International and Vision Alliance. They are both international Business Coaching and Consultancy franchises with numerous Franchisees around the country to help businesses in most locations and over 25 years’ experience in the industry.
If you are hiring a business coach privately or have reached the interview stage these recommendations can be useful when deciding which coach is right for you or if the service they provide is right for you.
When interviewing these questions are key to receiving the right information before a decision is made;
- What experience do you have in my industry??
- What mistakes have you made in your business? What did you learn from it?
- What experience do you have with working in or with a business like mine?
- What are some areas where I should source my clients? (This will give you an idea if they understand your industry)
It is also recommended to take advantage of coaches that provide one-on-one sessions and group session compared to generic programs. Within the one-on-one session the coach should tailor and customise your coaching program to focus on the specific needs of ‘your’ business. This usually should start with a thorough review of every part of the business to identify blind spots and opportunities. Group sessions on the other hand provide different perspectives from other business owners in your industry on similar issues that have/ are being resolved. This compared to a generic program is a much more effective for the long term success of your business.
Advantages of a Business Coach
We can now move on to the advantages of having a business coach.
- Goal Specification and achievement-
The use of fast track coaching can establish a clear picture of the outcomes that the business operator wishes to achieve. The outcomes form the destination statement which the business planning process uses as an action orientated approach for achievement. This also gives the business a future plan to use as a guide of where it is heading.
- Increase in profits/income-
The business coach can analyse all income-producing activities which can lead to reducing costs, increasing leads and sales and improving the structure and strategies of the company as a whole. The coach reviews the owner’s role and current time management and allows for time to be designated for improving the business and suggestions of allocation of work as a whole.
The one-on-one sessions provides time for the coach to work alongside the owner to address any ongoing problems which they have not been able to resolve by themselves or may happen in the foreseeable future. Coaching allows the issues to be identified, clearly defined and then actions can be taken for their resolution.
Coaches can work with the owners to introduce and consider new systems, structures and processes which will allow staff to maximise their productivity and effectiveness. This may help to reduce costs and improving productivity in the office as a whole. This is often in relation to the resources available and time management.
- Long term strategic focus
The business coach is able to focus the business owner on the medium to long-term issues and opportunities. Often without a coach the owner is focused on immediate short-term problems and issues. I.e. they spend too much time working in the business and not on the business.
How to Become a Business Coach/Consultant
The best method for becoming a business coach is through franchise opportunities, there are numerous opportunities available including the 2 very good examples mentioned previously, i.e. Vision Alliance and Brian Tracy International. To fully understand the advantages of franchising compared to independent development the pros and cons can be weighed and measured.
The first aspect to consider is the brand name, when franchising you will have the right to use an established brand name, marks, logo and style. If buying into a well-known and trusted coaching company this can be advantageous as you already have the reputation shared by using the company name. When creating an independent business on your own is like starting a business from scratch, you have to establish your name, brand, trust and reputation.This requires time, money and can take a while before you gain a loyal and reliable income from your client base.
Training is a feature that only franchising provides and can be used as a stepping stone towards different options in the future. The franchise company will provide you with the tools to use, i.e. new technology, accounting, staff management and the training required to operate the franchise Independent business owners will lack the initial training and documentation, and the business will be based on their own personal skills/hobbies and the management style will be on their own.
The last feature that is offered when franchising as a business coaches that national marketing and advertising may be undertaken by the franchisor. Local franchise advertising is usually the responsibility of the franchisee but the franchisor will offer you guidance and materials for this aspect. When independently coaching all areas of advertising and marketing are up to you and you alone, this can be a hard task when starting up as a business coach.
With all of this informative considered it can be seen that the directions that both businesses and aspiring business coaches need to take is to allow time for research and careful consideration. Business coach and consultant franchisors offer the most reliable approach, but even so finding the right business coach for you company is through asking the right questions. Good luck.