Let’s face it. When you’re first starting up a business, you need help and advice. Even if you have an MBA from Harvard or are an experienced entrepreneur, you need someone to bounce ideas off of and check in with to make sure you’re on track for business success.
Technically, there are only three times during the life of your business when you absolutely need a small business coach: when you’re first starting up, when you’re ready to grow and expand, and when you’re ready to move on.
What do most people do? They hire one small business coach to help them start up. Then, they hire another specialty coach when they’re ready to expand and, finally, another business transition coach to help them close out their business.
That’s three different coaches for three different stages. And, each time you hire a different business coach, you lose continuity. Is that really what you want?
After all, your start-up coach has been with you from the very beginning, through thick and thin. She knows everything about you and your business. She’s walked with you through your fears, she’s pulled from you the heart of your business plan, and she knows what dreams you secretly hold for your business.
Do you have any idea how valuable that kind of knowledge is?
Well, let’s say you phase out your relationship with your start-up coach, and it takes you 40 hours to bring your next business coach up to speed. At approximately $200 per hour, that’s at least $8,000. And we haven’t even added a dollar amount for your valuable time spent “training” your new coach.
At that price, wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to have one business coach who could start up your business, help it grow, and stay with it through its entire life cycle?
Enter, the small business advisor.
What to Look for in a Small Business Advisor
Why do we treat hiring a business coach differently from hiring a financial advisor? You don’t hire three different financial advisors-one at the beginning of your investment years, one in the middle, and another when you retire-do you? No, you hire one financial advisor with the intent of maintaining a lifetime relationship with him, from beginning investments to retirement dividends.
The same should be considered when hiring a business coach. Instead of thinking “business coach”, think “business advisor.” Instead of thinking “short-term coach”, think “long-term relationship” with a small business advisor who can be with you through the entire life of your business.
Do you think that’s impossible? Think again!
A small business advisor is the golden egg of small business know-how. She’s not only capable of helping you write your business plan, she can carefully analyze your business circumstances, assess the business market environment, and help you develop a long-term strategic plan that will take you from start-up to exit plan.
Some small business coaches are actually small business advisors, whether or not the title “advisor” is on their business card. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out whether or not the coach you’re considering has the desire and the skills to work with your business from beginning to end.
A skilled small-business advisor has the training and insight to:
· Understand your goals, your dreams, and your reasons for starting up, growing, and transitioning your business.
· Create a small business growth strategy that meets your short and long-term needs.
· Understand the nature of business and offer wise counsel and continuous monitoring that will help ensure that your small business is positioned for success whether the market is booming or fraught with uncertainty.
Best yet, she is someone you can trust who will be with you from start to finish.
What You Can Expect from a Small Business Advisor
First and foremost: a comprehensive approach.
The first thing she’ll do is sit down with you in order to obtain a thorough understanding of your current business situation and find out what you want to accomplish.
Much like a financial advisor, your small business advisor will ask you questions about your current business, the future of your business, your growth timeline, the level of risk you’re comfortable with, and the return you expect to get when you sell your business.
Periodically, your small-business advisor will meet with you to revisit your business strategy to make sure your business is on track. She’ll also work with you to make any necessary adjustments. That way, you can be sure to reach your business goals.
Just as having a financial advisor manage your investment portfolio makes good financial sense, having a small business advisor who offers a comprehensive, long-term approach makes good business sense. A trusted small business advisor can add an enormous amount of value by guiding you through the many complicated business challenges you’ll face from start to finish.
So, take advantage of all the expertise your small business advisor has to offer. Share your dreams and goals with her to build a valuable relationship that goes beyond traditional small business coaching to encompass the whole life of your business.