Business coaching in the Transformation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

by Business Training, Resource Management, Sales Training

25.6% of small businesses fail in their first year, 35.7% of fail in their 2nd year and 46.3% of small businesses fail after 3 years. 63.6% of small business fail in their 5th year in business while 84.5% of all small business close shop by their 10th year. This is according to a survey by the Census Bureau, compiled in the Business Dynamics Statistics report. Looking at such statistics, as a new entrepreneur preparing to start your business, or as a business owner who has recently opened shop, you might feel a lot of anxiety at the foretold uncertainty your business will face. Moreover, most of the people you have told about your idea have probably (and annoyingly so) hinted at the small percentage of your success in businesses. No one wants to fail (if you do, you are the exception to this rule). Business owners at all stages from inception to growth and transformation are constantly in search of new data, insights, and tools that will help them make the best strategic and risk management decisions. This is in a bid to be future-proof and ensure they are the firm that succeeds in the long run.

What can you do as a business owner?

As a business owner, you will realize sooner or later that what you relied on to do your job well in the past is not enough to run and grow a successful business in the future. You need to find ways to help you transform your businesses in the ever-changing operating environments. When thinking of scaling or transforming your businesses, you will find that you need professional management skills which include team development capabilities, finance, and cash flow management, a mix of the right people and the ability to design an effective Operating Model. These are often skills that the average business owner doesn’t have. This is where business coaching can play a significant role in helping business owners and their business to get off the starting blocks and also build sustainable and scalable entities.

How Business Coaching Works.

Business coaching is a process whereby a business owner (small, medium or large enterprises) seeks guidance and support from a business coach with a goal to improve the overall performance of the business and get better profits and growth. In addition, it helps in strengthening their overall business capabilities. This is reflected in team development, the efficiency of the operating model and the businesses marketing ability to reach their intended customers. Business coaching can only be successful when there is quality coach-client relationship.  This involves the highest level of mutual understanding, honesty and trust. In addition to the coaching skills and insight a business coach possesses, they should also have with them a structured business methodology and framework. This will aid the business to learn and transform during the process of the coaching relationship.

What is the difference between consulting and business coaching?

In most instances, owners of small and medium business do not know the difference between a business consultant and a business coach. For this reason, they struggle to know which one they need for their business at different points of growth. A business coach or partner will:
  • Provide you with support so as to develop your vision for the business
  • Help you overcome your fear and limiting beliefs especially when you start to work on new ideas
  • Help you determine the direction your business will follow
  • Leverage your strengths and bring out your best potential
  • Help you to explore options and solutions when confronted with business issues
  • Provide support and hold you accountable in executing your action plan
A business consultant will:
  • Be an expert with deep business skills and specialization
  • Develop a business model based on past experience to replicate success.
  • Teach you the skills you don’t know
  • Assess and analyze your business data to resolve business issues
  • Provide you with a framework to transform and/or solve business issues
  • Be of best use when the company has the resources and capability to execute the proposed system

Who needs Business Coaching?

Business coaching is necessary to every business owner who wishes to scale and grow their business or to navigate through disruptions. Business owners may need external help because of their lack of expertise especially when they are looking to come up with transformation ideas, are working on several innovative ideas at once, or are in a quest to improve their accountability and get overall guidance in their business. Entrepreneurship, as rewarding as it is, comes with the added stress to the owner of making all the critical decisions on their own. A business coach provides support to the business owner by getting them out of their comfort zone and stretching them to achieve greater results. Businesses that are in need of a critical approach and personalized advising, as well as those who struggle to implement new ideas, will benefit from business coaching. An unbiased assessment from a business coach on the existing business’s performance and the owner’s skills and actions are important values to all business owners.

5 benefits for your small business from Business coaching

Regardless of the success of your business, no owner can claim to have all the answers. Working with outside help in the form of business coaching has been shown to help businesses thrive, from offering fresh perspectives to growing sales exponentially. Here are some of the benefits of business coaching.

Reflection and analysis of your business.

Most business owners do not spend adequate time thinking about the direction their business is going. Instead, they spend it responding to the urgency of the day to day running of their business. For a business to grow, the business owner needs to spend more time working on their business, not in it. One thing that a business coach helps you do is take the time to pause and reflect on how the business is going. He guides you through an unbiased analysis of the fears that are limiting you from taking the next step as well as where you are not working at your optimum capacity. In most cases, you and the business coach will set a specific time to review your goals and track progress as one of the tools to help you reach your business potential. It is important to make time for what is often referred to as the golden hour. This is a specific time set apart usually at the end or beginning of the week and it is spent analyzing the business. During this golden hour, you review the past week and plan for the week ahead. The simple act of being conscious of the target you have set for yourself helps the business stay on track.

Improve your self-confidence

Of you run your own business you know how lonely it can be most of the time regardless of whether you have a team around you or not. In most cases, and especially when the journey gets really difficult, there are very few people you can turn to for reassurance that you walking on the correct path. During such time, your confidence may not remain at its brilliant best. A business coach could provide the necessary reassurance on the right things you are doing in your business. They may also walk with you over a period of several months, analyzing potential markets and potential moves you could make. This can help you grow your confidence to launch ahead and do what is required. Most entrepreneurs have very clear goals and aspirations for their business. They think about and plan for many ways and places where their business should have a reach and about the different partners, they should be working with. However, they never build up the confidence to make these plans happen. Other entrepreneurs see their ambitions as crazy dreams, but once you analyze them with a business coach and find out they can be realistic goals you get the confidence you need to launch and march forward.

Provide a new perspective and insight

Several small business owners often find themselves running a business by accident. On the other hand, there are those entrepreneurs who are very deliberate about starting their businesses and where they want to be in a few years’ time. For both parties, there are often many blind spots that stay hidden for the business owner’s view. The greatest benefit you get working with a business coach is a new perspective on how you see and think about your company. You get a different, honest perspective on the truth (not your version of the truth, but the unbiased naked truth) of where your business is and how it’s fairing (your coach owes you complete honesty about where you are not performing at your best and what could be done about it). More often than not, your sessions with your coach will also spark a moment of great insight which when acted upon will lead to a path of unimaginable success or avert untold business suffering. It will also help you understand your business’s values and what you stand for as an individual.

Focus the direction of your business

A business coach’s objective view of your business might be what’s needed to get your company focused or take it to the next level. This may range from focusing on new markets to focusing your attention to the most profitable customer base or product. Working with a coach can be invaluable in a simple business idea into a wholesale commercial venture. When you’re creative, operating either online or offline, for you to have an awesomely working business model you need to have a specific niche, you cater to. Until you do some focused deep work, you never really understand the specifics of your niche market and your unique offering for them. It might be really tempting to want to do anything and everything in your business. However, when you specialize, you attract the right kind of client for your business- one who needs your product or service and is willing to pay a good amount for it because it solves a need they have. Your ability to focus will greatly determine how far your business goes and how much it grows.

You make visible incremental strides

If you were to compare a business to Olympic athletes, you will find that success in both is often about making small incremental improvements across the board. Running a business is not just about doing big tasks and looking at the bigger picture. A successful enterprise is created by the coming together of several small things that make a huge impact collectively.  Your business may have stalled or stagnated simply because you and your team are unable to follow through on a few small things. Maybe the task that you never get done is keeping your inventory spreadsheet up to date. Maybe it’s calling a potential client to explain to them the details of your offer or simply following up on an invoice so as to get paid. You might think that these are just small tasks, but they may be the sole reason you are not realizing those projected profits and gains. A good business coach will guide you through a comprehensive analysis and you identify the areas you need to focus on. It’s just the simple things that you are probably ignoring or that you think you’re in control of that might be leaving you in a rut. It’s not until you get these things down on a proper plan and execute them that your business will rise to the level you desire.