Improving the odds with a Business Coach

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Did you know that statistically your chances of survival in business beyond five years are about the same as the flip of a coin!?! According to recent statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), seven out of ten business startups will survive at least two years but only 51 percent will survive beyond five years. This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years.

Why having a Business Coach on-board when you start out in business gives you the best chance of success.

Did you know that statistically your chances of survival in business beyond five years are about the same as the flip of a coin!?! According to recent statistics published by the Small Business Administration (SBA), seven out
of ten business startups will survive at least two years but only 51 percent will survive beyond five years. This is a far cry from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years.

So with a 50/50 chance of success beyond the first five years what can you do to influence the odds in your favour? – Well, one thing you can do (which is becoming increasingly popular) is to recruit the services of a business coach and mentor. A professional business advisor that you can talk to and spend time with on a regular basis to help you avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls that await you on your journey, and to help you grow and realize your full potential as an individual and as a new business owner.

It’s a fact that most every successful sports person and Olympic athlete will have a coach; someone to help, advice, support and bring out the very best in them. This concept translates into the business world perfectly too. Working with someone who will keep you on track, focused and accountable will help you to be a success whilst avoid being a statistic! Here are just some of the ways you should expect help and support from your business coach as a new business startup.

The building blocks of success – Structure and methodology

Chances are you are great at what you do; you have learnt and practiced the skills you needed to feel confident enough to start up your own business in your chosen field of expertise. However, you might not be aware yet that running a business requires a completely different set of disciplines and skills to be successful. Building a business is like building a house, there are standard practices and essential skills that every business owner should have. Knowing what these essential building blocks are and what priority order to give them will save you time, effort and money, which are all things we never seem to have enough of as a business owner.

For example, at the root and foundation of any successful business there are core skills or masteries that you must build your business on. These include the best utilization and management of your time, a clear understanding of your financials, the delivery of your product or service to the very best of your ability every single time and having a robust and meaningful measurement and tracking system. Your coach can help you to learn, measure, track and improve all these essential skills when your business is starting to grow, ensuring whatever you choose place on top of these strong foundations it will be built to last.

So how else can having a coach help you in your new business venture and how does the process work?

Well, as a business owner you are now the boss, no one is going to tell you what to do or keep an eye on you to make sure you do the things you know you need to do. There is no quarterly/annual appraisal or performance review and you get to make ALL the decisions ALL of the time.

Now this might seem attractive and it might actually be one of the very reasons you went into business in the first place. But you can be assured it will sometimes be the last thing you want to do. The burden and stress of constant decision making and having no one to talk to or work through your issues, goals and decisions with can become very challenging. This is where your coach can help massively.

It might also help to take a look at some of the top reasons that start up business owners have chosen to work with Business Coaches over the years.A skilful coach will guide their clients down a path that will help them discover the solutions that are ideal for their business. By asking thought-provoking and challenging questions coaches help their clients gain clarity and focus with their problems, goals, and important decisions. A coach can serve as someone to talk to, a knowledge base to answer your tough questions, someone you can brainstorm with, someone you can be accountable to, somebody to keep you focused, a third party advisor, a teacher and mentor.

Coach vs. Consultant:  Many small business owners don’t want to be told what to do. While they love the freedom of being their own bosses, they sometimes just need to talk with someone who can help them make sense of all of those ideas swirling around in their heads. Business coaches are trained listeners; part of their role is to help you crystallize your thoughts into achievable and realistic plans.

I have also personally learnt over the years that there are also occasions in business when it simply makes sense to “consult” and offer a proven solution to a problem based on experience and knowledge, as long as the client gains the same learning and becomes better equipped to tackle challenges in the future.

A different point of view: As an outsider your business coach will see your business with the same eyes as your customers will see it. They are also removed enough from “the daily grind” of your business to be able to help you identify areas that you may not see or that you need to develop and change. Again, through powerful questioning, a coach will be able to help you sort through your challenge areas and brainstorm ideas for things that you should start doing, stop doing, and keep doing.

Get you onto the bridge of your ship!  As Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited says, business owners spend too much time working in their businesses rather than on their businesses. I describe this as getting onto the bridge of your ship, the ship being your business. As a business start-up you will no doubt be stoking your ship (working in your business) the vast majority of the time. However, failure to allocate time to getting on to the bridge (working on your business) can be a big mistake. Regular sessions with your business coach forces you onto the bridge and can make a huge difference early on, ensuring your business works for you rather than you working for it.

Focusing on the important and non-urgent tasks: As a small business owner starting out, your To-Do list will be long and well-intentioned. In Stephen R. Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, time is divided into four quadrants of urgency and importance. Your coach will help you to maximise your time by understanding this concept and getting you into the most efficient quadrant (quadrant two) and then doing the things that are important but not urgent to you. Together, you’ll set goals/objectives that will be specific and measurable. You’ll also create deadlines for these goals, and your coach will be there to hold you accountable for achieving them. Ultimately help you to take control of that big To-Do list in the most efficient way and drive your business forwards.

There’s no Business like the “Know” Business!!

My name is Ian Dickson and I am an experienced professional award winning business coach with an extensive and colourful career path taking me from Brixton Police Officer to Corporate Director, you are guaranteed exciting and relevant content drawn from my knowledge, experience and background. As a business owner myself, I know what it is like to worry about the day-to-day survival of the business and making the amount of money needed to run my business and personal life.

Starting up and running a business is always going to be full of risks and in order to be a success you will need to take some risks. The best way to approach any risk in life is to assess your ability to influence the outcome. If you can help influence or mitigate that risk it then it becomes an increasingly attractive proposition. Hiring and working with a business coach will certainly help you to mitigate and influence those risks.

Many of the successful business owners I have worked with over the years are (by nature) highly independent, but they also recognize that being resourceful and reaching out for help at certain times is critical. During the business start-up phase and certainly for the first few years seeking help and support can dramatically improve your chances of success. Most coaches are quite flexible in accommodating the needs of their clients and will offer tailored coaching packages that are appropriate at any given time. Please feel free to contact me for more details.

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