What Is Business Coaching?
What business coaches do that make businesses grow
"Oh, I see what you mean!"
The smile broadened on Roger's face as he continued, "I make far more profit on the structural repairs, so that's the easier way to grow?"
Roger had been frustrated by his civil engineering business - it was not growing fast enough for his ambitious targets. Two weeks later, with a simpler strategy, he had £370,000 of new opportunities.
It's this kind of scenario that often provides an answer to what is business coaching? It is natural when you're inside your business, running it day to day, that you don't have the opportunity to stand back and ask yourself the difficult - and often easy - questions that a business coach is able to ask you.
The benefits of working with a business coach start with the benefits of coaching in general, whether it be for excellence at a sport, improving health and fitness, or accelerating your business performance.
As a result, the coaching sector is booming as people seek to improve themselves.
At the heart of an effective coaching relationship, no matter the discipline, are a set of common traits that help you to fulfil your potential.
Most business owners say they want more focus.
The step before focus is to get crystal clear about what they want to achieve and what actions they need to take next.
The decision to work with a coach is a decision to stretch yourself and grow. The aim is to get closer to becoming the best version of yourself in business.
A great coach will help you to grow, to become capable of achieving more than you thought possible.
When you run your own business it’s easy to drift, because when you’re the boss, there’s nobody above you to keep you honest and keep you on track with your work.
Your life and business coach won’t let you off the hook, instead he will drive you to take action to achieve your goals.
Taken together, these three form the backbone of a coaching relationship.
But the 3 traits listed above could be delivered by a life coach.
To answer the question of what is business coaching, you should be looking for far more value than this alone.
Business coaching provides the guidance to help you bridge the gap from your current business performance to the results you want.
The coach uses a combination of skills combined with business expertise to grow your abilities as an entrepreneur. This leads to unlocking your full abilities and achieving your potential.
In the following sections, you'll learn the major areas that business coaching can address in your business.
No More Vanilla - The Right Business Strategy Makes Customers Want To Buy From You
Most businesses in any industry are pretty much the same as one another. They are the vanilla flavour - they chase the same customers, offer more or less the same quality and range of products and services.
But vanilla businesses have a big problem. Customers can get - more or less - the same products and services anywhere. Which leaves you with limited options to win more business,
You can be cheaper, or you can be more aggressive with your sales and marketing. That's pretty much it, if what you're selling is vanilla.
On the other hand, if you decide to be different in some way, you suddenly get lots of different ways to position yourself as better than your plain and dull competition.
Think about it for a moment. Are the top companies in any industry just offering the same as everybody else?
They're doing something different.
That's your strategy. And your business coach must stretch you to develop a strategy that puts you into a leading position in your industry, in some way.
The right strategy will help you to operate with higher margins and to attract the best customers. That means you escape the depressing price-comparisons and constant bargaining to cut your prices.
Smart, yes? And after putting in place the right strategy, you will immediately need to think about the numbers - because your business needs a strong 'economic engine', in the words of Jim Collins.
Use A Stronger Financial Model to Increase Profit and Strengthen Cash Flow
"One of the biggest light-bulb moments for me is profit."
Eddie is a director of a 7-figure security business.
"It seems so obvious, but even with lower sales caused by Covid lockdowns, we have made more profit than we did last year. And last year was a good year!"
Eddie's experience is not unusual. Most small businesses are leaking profit for all kinds of reasons. The business model is at the very heart of these reasons. It is the way your business makes and processes money.
Insights gleaned from working with many businesses arm your business coach with the tools to rapidly improve your bank balance and to increase the profits you make from every sale.
This is all down to the way your business sets prices, the terms and conditions you offer, the way you manage debtors and creditors, the decisions you make regarding suppliers and all kinds of other things that affect the money your business makes.
So what is business coaching? It's the help you need to upgrade your business model to make more money even without increasing sales.
Of course, it's more than that alone. Because with the right coach, you'll also increase sales, too. And when that happens, the money you make from that growth is even higher.
Build A Sales Machine To Feed Your Business Growth
"Are you sure about this?"
Ben was questioning my suggestion to send three toy cars, with a carefully-scripted cover letter, to the head of debt recovery services at Mercedes Car Finance. The man would not take Ben's calls. He'd been trying for six months to get through to him. The next day, Ben received a call from him, wanting to know more.
The secret to effective marketing is doing the right thing for the specific customers you want to attract.
Sometimes that means using online marketing techniques like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or social media techniques.
Other times, especially when you're trying to reach people hidden away in large corporations, you need to think outside the box. Just doing the obvious things isn't going to work - you have to find a way to reach the right people with your message.
On the topic of message, that's the second thing you need to think about. Most marketing is all about the product or service. Yet the psychology of buying works the other way around - we buy things to solve a problem or meet a need. If your marketing message starts with the problem, you'll get more attention and make more sales.
It's little gems like these that a great business coach brings to your business. If you're hiring a business coach, you want this kind of knowledge. It will save you time and give you faster results.
As Your Business Grows, Your Coach Will Focus on Productivity
The simplest way to measure productivity in your business is to take total sales revenue and divide it by the number of people working in your business.
So for example, if your business turns over £750,000 and you have 10 staff, your productivity is £75,000 per person.
The UK average productivity figure is just under £120,000 per person. While this does vary from sector to sector, it's a good benchmark against which you can measure your business.
You can benchmark your business productivity using this tool on the UK Government website.
To improve productivity, your coach should understand topics like recruiting the right people and building a strong team.
There should be a depth of understanding the power of systems - which is how McDonald's manages to make their food the same in every one of their 30,000+ branches throughout the world.
Finally there should be an appreciation that as your business scales up, you will need to improve systems and methods of work. You might be surprised just how dramatically your business could be optimised to increase throughput.
These topics are discussed in chapter 7 of Double Your Business, a book that explains the double your business coaching approach in detail.
Recap - What is Business Coaching?
Business coaching is a relationship with a business coach to improve your business. Through business coaching, you will...
- Clarify your business direction and set goals for the results you want to achieve.
- Outline a strategy to bridge the gap between your business now, and the results you want from it.
- Refine the financial model to increase profits and improve cash flow.
- Introduce marketing and sales techniques to confidently deliver ample enquiries for growth.
- Build strong, efficient operations so that your business can increase productivity as the sales grow.
Would You Like To Talk With A Business Coach?
If you are ready to look for help to grow your business, a great place to start is to create a strategy to reach your goals. In a short, free Rapid Growth Session, we look at the gap between your business performance now and the results you really want. Then we create an outline strategy to close the gap. Click here to tell me a little about your business and to book a time in my diary.