Any business is hard work. Just ask any one who's tried to get a business up and running or anyone who runs one.
Business coaches therefore usually work with owners and directors of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are looking of guidance on improving organisational performance. Hence, this form of coaching is often more solution-oriented, than say, executive or leadership coaching.
Generally, the business coach works to a "Now-Where-How" model which initially helps you understand where you are at presently in regards to the business before then working our with you what your goals or targets might be for the future, and then, how to get there.
Various research reports consistently indicate that around 1 in every 5 start-up businesses fail within the first 12 months.
It doesn't matter whether it is the corner store, working on computer from home, a tradesman going out on his own, or starting a manufacturing enterprise. They all take significant amounts of time, and of course, money. Most people don't have vast wads of cash to suddenly start a business so they do what I call "the juggle". It's keeping the "day job" while they work up their business. Some of course, do apply for grants of various kinds and although this is certainly a help, they also need to do large amounts of work themselves.
Business coaches provide the support and advice necessary to assist in start-ups. It tends to be a lonely road and having back-up and someone to talk things over with is generally considered to be a huge asset.
On the other hand, some businesses are well-established. As a rule of thumb, if you're still in business after five years, you're more than likely going to make it. If you're there after 10 years, as a rule of thumb, you should have really established firm policies and procedures by then, have a significant client base, know your suppliers well, and be seeing the real rewards of your efforts.
But it is easy to get complacent and begin to stay with that which has always worked. Yes, it might be tried and true, but is there another way to do it? Business coaches because they are independent, are able to see things in a different light and to ask the questions that maybe haven't been asked before.
There are those businesses who have stood the test of time and been successful, but things have changed. Maybe the owner just got tired, or the family who took it over didn't have their heart in it like the founder. Maybe there has been some tragedy in the business such as illness which has meant that the business no longer received the time and attention necessary to really run it. Maybe the new MD or GM was incompetent and ran it into the ground.
Irrespective, the business is on it's knees. Maybe it is bleeding money. It's only a shadow of what it once was.
Business coaches can help the new owners or managers to renovate and reinvigorate the business. Maybe there needs to be a restructure or parts of the old business sold off. Having a business coach as a sounding board in a 'renovation' can bring significant rewards.
Yes, it's about knowledge and skills and technical expertise. It's about interpersonal and communication skills and having what is called "emotional intelligence."
It's about having the internal "stuff" required and having the resilience that it takes to make it all happen. (Added to this is that it sometimes takes just being in the right place at the right time.)
The first two pillars of any business are the dollars and cashflow (the finance) and the sales (the marketing). If you have staff, then people are the third pillar; and business owners constantly tell me that this latter pillar is the hardest to manage!
Coaching is therefore designed to see where your business is at currently, and where you wish to be and then determining the steps to make it happen. It means keeping you accountable to that plan.