When You Might Need a Business CoachBy Ron Cocquyt on June 16th, 2015 /
Anyone who has ever pursued excellence in an athletic activity or the arts understands that you cannot become a champion on your own. Champions and championship credentials are developed through the combination of talent, effort, and great coaching. No individual athlete in the Olympics has ever achieved gold medal status without a coach. No one who wishes to sing at the Met has ever done so without a coach. The same holds true for business.
A business coach is an essential part of an entrepreneurial effort. The entrepreneur may have a marvelous idea for a business or an invention or a new service or a new product or a new app, but to create a successful business opportunity requires building on a substantial, credible foundation. That’s what coaches do. In sports, coaches make sure that the athlete’s form and fundamentals are correct. In music or the arts, coaches make sure that pitch or tone or color, etc. are properly addressed. In business, a coach’s oversight is every bit as important, and maybe even more so.
Here are some of the important aspects of building a successful business that require coaching.
1. Planning: Planning is not root canal, but it is absolutely essential. Depending on the financial needs of the business, the creation of a Business Plan may be required. A Business Plan is the document presented to investors or banks or even family members that assures the lender or investor that the business addresses and solves a serious problem, the management team is capable of operating the business and solving the problem, sales and marketing have been adequately accounted for, the finances project both profits and strong cash flow and the loan or investment will be repaid, and the business has a credible Exit Strategy.
2. Marketing Plans: If the business does not require immediate financing, the second most significant plan is the Marketing Plan. This, too, must be specific in its description and targeted in its goals and objectives. A Marketing Plan needs to include the following:
- A description of the business’s Perfect Prospect: The Perfect Prospect is someone who understands, takes ownership of, and is committed to solving the problem that the entrepreneur’s product or service addresses. Perfect Prospects are not leads or opportunities; chasing leads and looking for opportunities wastes time and valuable financial resources.
- The location of the Perfect Prospects: This means identifying the footprint within which the business will successfully operate. Having a global business doesn’t happen overnight. Every business begins in a specific area, with specific boundaries that can be reasonably managed by the startup.
- How the business will physically get in front of the Perfect Prospect: This does not mean building a website or mailing a brochure.
- The compelling message: This is the statement or question that generates an enthusiastic response from the Perfect Prospect, wishing to learn more about the entrepreneur’s product or services.
3. Exit Strategy: Of all the decisions that an entrepreneur or startup must make, the Exit Strategy is the most important. Without an appropriate Exit Strategy, the business has no pathway to success. Exit Strategies may change, but having an Exit Strategy is an essential part of preparing both the short and long term objectives and plans that the business requires in order to be successful.
It’s easy to understand why a coach is an essential part of a business venture’s success – the coach makes sure all the fundamentals are in place, challenges management or ownership about each important decision, and is there to sometimes simply listen and push the boundaries.