Maybe you were a “born” entrepreneur. You knew from a very young age that you wanted to own and run a business. You may still get some value from reading this post. But this article will be even more valuable if you fall into the “accidental entrepreneur” camp.
Per one Cambridge Dictionary definition, a coach’s job is to:
“teach people to improve at a sport, skill, or school subject.”
In the business sense, a coach helps us through professional challenges. Starting, growing and running a business is HARD. From an outsider looking in, entrepreneurship may appear easy. Flexible schedule? Check. Living out your passion through work? Check.
Yet outsiders don’t see that you’re wearing multiple hats a day, often feeling like a chicken with your head cut off. They don’t see the sacrifice. They don’t understand that you can fall into the trap of working “in” the business 24/7 instead of “on” the business.
That’s where a business coach may help. I fell into the trap. I’ve been busy with paid client work both in SV CPA Services and my other company, WorthyNest. Lately, it has been much harder to sit back and evaluate the big picture. I don’t set aside time to strategically set one, three, and five-year business goals. I don’t have a company vision or mission statement in writing.
And yet, I want these things so badly.
I want to be intentional and take the time to craft these essentials.
I want to be careful with hiring decisions.
I want to create a scalable company that will last for years.
I want a business with replicable processes and independent systems.
Isn’t this what we all want as business owners?
Here are some areas where I believe a business coach can add value:
As a CPA, details are my life. I get bogged down in work and don’t make time to think about the future. After reading Greg McKeown’s Essentialism last year, I set a quarterly appointment on my calendar to define upcoming initiatives and focus on the essentials. It’s sad to say I’ve always skipped these sessions although they are on my calendar. Something else more urgent arises. And the strategy session is only for me … no one to disappoint (other than myself) when I skip a session. This leads to the next area, accountability.
To say you’re going to do something and to actually do it are two very different things. None of us are perfect. If we don’t have someone on our team to hold us accountable, it’s too easy to slack. I like having one or two key action items before my next coaching call. Excuses are commonplace, and a formal coaching program prevents excuses.
My business coach Arlene and I have established a recurring appointment. Twice a month, the same time each month. As entrepreneurs, flexibility can go too far sometimes. Having a consistent, standing appointment helps immensely to provide structure to these often unstructured days.
4. Independent Viewpoint
We can get caught up in our own head. Some of us get so close to our businesses that we have no objectivity when making difficult decisions. An independent viewpoint from someone who has a vested interest in our success is like a breath of fresh air. She or he can challenge us and play devil’s advocate. You could argue that an independent advisory board is better than a coach. While an advisory board is important for larger businesses, I’m small right now and like having one person who knows the complete picture. She understands my personal and professional struggles for both businesses.
5. Specialized Area of Expertise
Arlene has been coaching other fee-only financial planners and CPAs for a decade. I contemplated hiring a coach with broad experience but appreciate Arlene’s specialized knowledge in my industry. She has worked with advisors at different business stages and tailors the coaching plan to my unique issues.
What are your thoughts on working with a coach? Do you see the advantages but find yourself unwilling to make a commitment of time or money? Have you successfully worked with a business coach? Please post your comments below.
Deborah L. Meyer, CPA, CFP® is a perceptive problem solver and the proud owner of SV CPA Services. She is passionate about client service and enjoys being a trusted advisor to other small business owners. Deb is a professional contributor to Kiplinger Personal Finance and Investopedia and a member of the: AICPA, NAPFA, and XY Planning Network. Outside of work, Deb spends time with her husband Bryan and their three young sons.