For many of today’s entrepreneurs, skilled professionals, and aspiring students, starting a small business is the opportunity of a lifetime. If you’ve independently started your own construction company, you’ve accomplished something many people consider but never do. The high financial risks and no guarantee of success have aspired many start-ups and small organizations to team up with a business coach.
With experience, strategies, and an outsiders perspective, the guidance of these mentors can prevent you from making mistakes typical to the small business society. Today, however, there are a lot of business coaches out there, and finding the best-fit mentor for your business is vital, but difficult.
Here, we’ve provided some questions to ask a prospective small business coach to ensure they’ll be beneficial to you.
Do They Know Your Industry?
One of the first things to do when considering someone as your small business coach is to research and inquire about who they’ve worked with in the past. Most coaches provide a list of the industries they’ve worked in, and some list clients they’ve worked with as references. Does any of this information indicate that they have experience in the construction industry? If not, there may be other, more subjective coaches that can help you enhance your business.
Do They Have Both Business and Coaching Skills?
Just because someone has started a successful small business doesn’t mean they’re going to be the ultimate business coach. The right coach will balance forward-thinking strategies with a practical knowledge base, and understand how to help, motivate, and advise a client to take action, manage time, and make hard decisions. Coaching also takes specific skills. These experts must think outside the box while guiding small business owners through financial planning, marketing strategies, and management solutions.
Are They Knowledgeable?
So how many years of experience do they have working in the coaching industry? If they are relatively new (under 10 years of experience), that doesn’t mean they’re a bad coach or consultant. However, you may not want to be the business they use to gain experience in their job. Seek out someone invaluable, who has several years of coaching or consulting under their belt.
Do They Have Legitimate Reviews?
Don’t just look for good reviews and testimonials—look for believable ones. There are some unscrupulous people out there who will ask (or hire!) third parties to write glowing reviews for them. Look for testimonials that include the reviewer’s name and their company so that you can do a little research on them. Also look on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, for additional testimonials. Don’t limit yourself to the coach’s website.
Do They Have Expertise?
Check to see if the person you’re considering as your small business coach has written any articles on business topics, especially those related to construction. Have they spoken at any conferences or taught courses on running a business?
Will They Challenge You?
Your small business coach isn’t solely a source of encouragement; they need to challenge you and hold you accountable for your actions. They also need to be insightful and help you determine what it is you want from your life, your business, and your future. They should help you identify what you’re doing right and areas that could be potentially sabotaging your business.
What Do You Get Upfront?
Does the coach offer to sit down with you and give you a free consultation so you can decide if they’re the right person for you? Or do they go much further, and put together an action plan for your business before charging you anything? If so, that shows that they’re willing to invest in you and see you as more than just another client or source of payment.
Do You Want a Single Coach or a specialized Firm?
Some coaches or consultants work independently, some in an office & expense-sharing environment, while others work for a substantial and specialized firm. While independent consultants might offer you more individualized attention, choosing a specialized coach might put more resources at your disposal, simply due to economies of scale and a much greater breathe of professionals and specialists on staff to boot.
Do You Know What You’re Paying?
A qualified coach will provide you with a clear outline of what they can offer and what you’re expected to pay. Ensure you know if they’re offering an all-inclusive package or if you have to pay extra for specific services. Also, ask if you’re expected to sign a long-term contract and what happens if you’re not satisfied and want to break that contract.
Are They a Franchise?
Coaches or small business consultants who are franchises often spend a lot of time marketing themselves, meaning they don’t have as much time to coach or consult. You may want to look for a consulting or coaching firm that is large enough to have full-time coaches and full-time marketing experts. That way, your coach isn’t trying to do it all.
Choosing the perfect small business coach or consultant does require you to do your homework, but it’s worth it in the end. These experts can help inspire you and make you more productive, especially if you find someone you mesh well with. Small Business Growth Partners is one such consulting and coaching firm. These experts can help you and your business embrace your future.